ACADIA NAT’L PARK — A century after beginning the work of preserving land on Mount Desert Island, the Hancock County Trustees for Public Reservations have deeded their last remaining holding to the National Park Service.
The 2-acre parcel, which formally transferred to the government in February, is located adjacent to the Seawall section of the park in Manset. It was deeded to the trustees in 1941 by John D. Rockefeller Jr.
According to Acadia Superintendent Kevin Schneider, “This donation of land, which lies within the legislated boundary of the park, is a wonderful way to celebrate not only the park’s centennial, but the legacy of Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations in the history of Acadia National Park and land protection.”
Trustees President Terry L. Carlisle shared that enthusiasm, “We are excited to continue the work of our predecessors begun in 1901. Acadia National Park’s centennial year presented the perfect opportunity for the trustees to transfer its last property within the boundaries of the park.”
This summer, as part of the 2016 Acadia National Park Centennial, the trustees will formally celebrate the transfer of the land with a ceremony on Aug. 22. The event will replicate one held in 1916 when the group’s original holdings were given to Lafayette National Monument, which later became Acadia. All past trustees and their descendants will be invited to attend the ceremony.
The Hancock County Trustees for Public Reservations was formed in 1901 by a group of concerned citizens in response to extensive lumbering and an increase in private land ownership in Hancock County.
Today, the work of the group focuses on its role as the governing body for Woodlawn in Ellsworth. Woodlawn was a bequest to the trustees from George Nixon Black Jr. in 1928. In accordance with his wishes, they have maintained the 180-acre estate as a public park and his family home, known locally as the Black House, as a historic house.
Also during the Acadia National Park Centennial year, the significant role played by the trustees in the formation and establishment of the park will be acknowledged with a historical marker being placed atop Cadillac Mountain.
An updated history of the trustees will be released this summer. The original pamphlet was published in 1939 and titled, “The Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations: An Historical Sketch and a Record of the Holdings of the Trustees.” The publication will be available in the Woodlawn Gift Shop and online at woodlawnmusem.org.