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Good Books For Visiting...Acadia National Park


An Acadia National Park vacation, with a visit to Thunder Hole, can go more smoothly with a few good books to prepare you for the park/Michael Rickard

There's nothing like a good book or two to help you prepare for a national park visit, whether you're looking for some historical background, a trail or two to hike, or interested in the natural resources or local culture. With that in mind, here are a few titles you might consider in preparation of a visit to Acadia National Park in Maine.

Creating Acadia National Park: The Biography Of George Bucknam Dorr

While George Bucknam Dorr had the wherewithal to travel extensively about the world and do anything with his life, he came to cherish the landscape of Mount Desert Island along coastal Maine. It was a lifelong connection spurred by childhood vacations on the island, one that spawned a tireless, and selfless, campaign to both conserve the island’s landscape and, more importantly, see it included within the National Park System.

Dorr’s role in seeing Sieur de Monts National Monument established in 1916, the same year the National Park Service was created, is dissected by Ronald H. Epp in Creating Acadia National Park: The Biography of George Bucknam Dorr, a book released last year as part of Acadia National Park’s centennial celebration.

The Wild Gardens of Acadia

Gardens, from formal flower gardens to wild gardens, are showcases for bursts of color and texture throughout the year. They can practically scream with riots of snapdragons, larkspur, and daisies, or be more subtle with rockcress, sedums, and phlox. At Wild Gardens of Acadia you'll find a mosaic of the different native plant biomes found on Mount Desert Island. Carefully nurtured since the 1960s, the gardens found at Sieur de Monts Spring within Acadia National Park capture the native vegetation from the bogs and heaths of the island up through the brooks and ponds and mixed and coniferous woodlands to the Pitch Pine uplands in the park.

These are landscapes that, if they're to be captured in a book, call out for a coffee table format that showcases color photographs of the woodland settings and meadows in bloom and which allows for supporting narrative that matches the wildflowers. This book fails that, though not due to any oversight by the authors - Anne M. Kozak and Susan S. Leiter - as it was intended only as part of the publisher's Images of Modern America series. 

Photographing Acadia National Park: The Essential Guide To When, Where, And How

Book store clerks could have a difficult time displaying this book. Does it go under "photography" or under "travel"? You'll understand the quandary once you start turning the pages, for you'll learn as much about Acadia National Park in general as you'll learn about how to get the best photos there.

Colleen J. Miniuk-Sperry, who so far has enjoyed three stints as "artist-in-residence" in Acadia, came to her book with a passion not only for photography, but for Acadia. It shows through the 200-odd pages of Photographing Acadia National Park: The Essential Guide To When, Where, And How, whether she's discussing angles, filters, tides, and timing, or the surrounding landscape, structures, and history that make Acadia such a stunning national park.

The Secret Life of Lobsters

This doesn't sound like a park-related read, but it's based around the livelihoods of lobstermen who settled on and around Mount Desert Island more than a century ago. Within the covers, Trevor Corson discusses everything you ever wanted to know about lobsters and, yes, more. You'll definitely reflect on the book the next time you order lobster.

For instance, did you know that during colonial days, lobsters were considered trash and were fed to pigs?


You might also want to add to the reading list, the 3rd edition of our "Hiking Acadia National Park," which won the 2016 National Outdoor Book Award in the outdoor adventure guide category.

A digital copy of the book is also included in the Acadia Bicentennial Time Capsule, so it serves as a message to the future about Acadia's trails, and is a bit of living history.

Here are a couple of blog posts about the award, and the time capsule:



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