We celebrate the designation of Acadia National Park on this day in 1929! 🎂-- This image shows a very popular tourist attraction within the park: sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the North Atlantic seaboard. Between October and March, it is the first place to view the sunrise in the United States.
Alex Bryan, a climatologist with the DOI Northeast Climate Science Center (managed by USGS) is working with the National Park Service to implement scenario planning techniques to help Acadia National Park identify potential future climate conditions, enabling managers to start planning for how to best protect the park's resources now.
Located along Maine's Atlantic coast, Acadia is threatened by sea level rise, heightened storm surge, and heavier rainfalls, in addition to warming temperatures. Longer warm seasons raise public demand to open the park earlier and close later, affecting traditional staffing and maintenance schedules. Warming also puts the park’s ecosystems at risk of diseases and invasive species, as well as changed habitat suitability. Rainfall events are occurring in heavier downpours, washing out the park’s historic carriage roads and hiking trails. Along the coast, the popular “Thunder Hole” and other exhibits along the park’s main loop road, including the road itself, are at risk of inundation as sea level rises and storm surges intensify.
While we know what changes are occurring now, we are less certain about what climate conditions will look like in 10, 50, or 100 years. Scenario planning is helping park managers identify plausible future conditions, and the potential impacts on ecosystems, infrastructure, and other resources - so managers can start planning for these changes now.
For more information on these scenario planning techniques, including interactive workshops, please see:
Photo Credit: Rebecca Lloyd, USGS