Photo © Courtesy of DownEast Acadia
A vast and beautiful wonderland of natural areas stretches from an inland network of grand lakes to a dramatic bold coast in DownEast Acadia. In between, colorful wild blueberry barrens stretch as far as the eye can see. Amongst all of this natural abundance, hundreds of thousands of acres of preserved lands provide public access to hundreds of miles of hiking trails and paddling routes. Over 100 years ago, Acadia National Park was created (and continues to expand) through the largest conservation easement program in the National Park System to protect the Acadia archipelago’s scenic beauty and ecological integrity.
With some of the cleanest water and least developed natural areas on the East Coast of the United States, including forests that harbor rare and unusual plant communities, DownEast Acadia is ideal for wildlife watching, birding, fishing, stargazing—or simply soaking in the quiet beauty. All across the region, mossy forests embrace the hiker, and sparkling lakes beckon swimmers and campers. Crystal-clear rivers and streams flow into the ocean, where rugged coastal cliffs are dotted with lighthouses and seabirds.
“Downeasters” are historically avid outdoorsmen—it’s hard not to be when the beauty of the outdoors calls from every direction. Hunting, fishing, hiking, paddling, beach-combing, and soaking in the sun are simply a part of the way of life here. DownEast Acadia has a long-standing tradition of sporting camps and guiding services. The Acadia area was the destination of choice for the “Rusticators” of the 19th century—wealthy travelers seeking reprieve from city life through a rustic, rejuvenating “holiday.” Today, wilderness lodges, cabins, and campsites provide an unplugged getaway, and Registered Maine Guides offer personalized outdoor adventures.
Harvesting the bounty of both land and sea, DownEast Acadia boasts the largest hauls of American lobster in New England and provides nearly all of the world’s wild blueberry supply. From Lobster rolls eaten harborside to clam-bakes on the beach, wild blueberry pie, farm-fresh gourmet cheeses, and craft wines made with local ingredients, there are endless ways to enjoy the taste of nature in DownEast Acadia. You’ll discover the region’s centuries-old industrial maritime heritage through the lobster boat and lighthouse tours, windjammer cruises, trails through granite quarries, museums, and scenic byways that wind through historic villages displaying exemplary 19th-century architecture.
The recreation areas and intact wildlife habitats that provide all of these experiences are here for us to enjoy thanks to our incredible network of National and State Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, State Public Reserve Lands, Wabanaki Tribal Reservations, our many land trust preserves, and private landowners who generously provide public access.
From the St. Croix River to the Penobscot River, from the Bold Coast to the Grand Lakes, DownEast Acadia is rich in unspoiled landscapes and strong natural heritage traditions. We welcome you to immerse yourself in this magical landscape where people still work and play in harmony with nature’s rhythms and live attuned to the shifting tides and the changing seasons.
It’s in our nature…
DownEast Acadia contains:
- 200,000+ acres of ponds and lakes
- 3,300+ miles of streams
- 1,000+ miles of rivers
- 2,700 square miles of forest lands
- 54 of Maine’s 87 globally significant seabird
- 9 watersheds that still sustain wild Atlantic salmon
- 700,000+ acres of conserved land—over 20 percent of the total land area
- 7 units of State Public Land
- 12 Wildlife Management Areas
- 5 State Parks
- 1 National Park spanning 3 distinct areas of the region
- 2 National Wildlife Refuges
- 11 land trusts that conserve hundreds of thousands of acres of public access preserves
What does “DownEast” mean? The name comes from the direction ships sailed to get here from New York nd Boston—downwind and to the east. Ever since, the terms have evoked the unspoiled and rugged beauty found across the region, its rich maritime history, and the independent spirit of the people.