Of the three primary founders of Acadia National Park, only two, George Dorr and Charles Eliot, have Mount Desert Island geographical features named for them. Dorr Mountain is located beside Cadillac near Bar Harbor. Eliot Mountain overlooks Northeast Harbor from the east.
The contributions of a third major benefactor, the man who helped fund many of the park’s land acquisitions and created the Carriage Road system, John D. Rockefeller Jr., never have been equally recognized.
Hiking trail benefactor Waldron Bates has an enormous plaque affixed to a boulder on the trail on Gorham Mountain. Rockefeller’s only monument is a comparatively small marker in an obscure spot along a path near Otter Cliffs. Defaced years ago by vandals, it still awaits repair.
In an age when folks are all about splashing their names on everything from airplanes to sports arenas, the Rockefeller family continues to go about its philanthropic work quietly. They have never asked for, nor expected, anything in the park to be named for John D. or the family. All the more reason now to consider doing so, perhaps in time to be unveiled as part of next year’s Acadia centennial celebration.
It would not even be necessary to rename a peak to recognize Rockefeller in the same manner as Acadia’s other founders. At the south end of the main ridge on Penobscot Mountain, where a trail recently was reopened, the path dips and rises to a modest independent summit. That summit overlooks the lands around Little Long Pond – the 1,000 acres recently gifted to the Land and Garden Preserve by David Rockefeller Sr. The National Park Service has time to apply to the U.S. Geological Survey to name that peak after Rockefeller. It would be the only mountain in the country so named.
Honoring Rockefeller in this way would appropriately recognize his contributions to the creation and preservation of one of the most beautiful places on the planet. His efforts deserve acknowledgment as imposing and enduring as the granite that underlies the hills he loved so much, and wanted to protect and share with others.