A centennial salute

In just a few short days, the official centennial celebration year for Acadia National Park will come to a close.

And what a year it has been.

Beginning with a gathering of celebrants at Otter Cliffs to welcome the dawn on Jan. 1, and later an old-fashioned baked bean supper, the last 12 months have been filled with a marvelous swirl of events and observances that have elevated the public’s knowledge of, and appreciation for, the history of this very special place. The collective joy of people who hold Acadia, and indeed, all of Mount Desert Island, so deep in their hearts was palpable throughout the year. It could be seen in the tremendous turnout for centennial events, the soaring notes and lyrics of original musical compositions, the talent expressed in video and film projects, the release of books, holding of lectures, issuance of special commemorative products and more.

The very fact that 10 organizations signed on as signature sponsors and more than 450 official “Centennial Partners” were on board, as well, are remarkable accomplishments on their own.

None of this year’s successes would have been possible without the tireless work and efforts of a handful of people that began planning for 2016 literally nearly four years ago. Under the auspices of Friends of Acadia, Centennial Co-Chairs Jack Russell and Cookie Horner, along with FOA Conservation Director Stephanie Clement and Acadia National Park Chief of Interpretation Lynn Dominy, made it happen.

While people 100 years ago, responsible for the triumph that is today’s Acadia, were well aware of the momentous nature of their efforts, they trusted that posterity would pass final judgment on their accomplishment. In that regard, the activities and events of the past year have done them proud.

Not without a small bit of irony, the last event of the centennial will be the formal dedication of a time capsule in early February to be opened during the bicentennial in 2116. The capsule is not just a method for preserving the history and record of this past year, but also a way to share, on a more intimate level, our common affection for Acadia.

In the end, that is what this centennial year has been – a love letter to Acadia, 100 years in the making. And thanks to the time capsule, our greetings and salutations will be signed, sealed and delivered to unseen friends, neighbors and family members a century from now.

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