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Acadia National Park, on Maine’s Mount Desert Island, is among the most popular national parks in the United States. From the road, visitors can experience magnificent vistas of summit and sea, but on a more intimate scale, equally compelling views abound along Acadia’s hiking trails. Tom Wessels, an ecologist, naturalist, and avid hiker, attributes the park’s popularity—and its unusual beauty—to the unique way in which earth, air, fire, and water—in the form of glacially scoured granite, winter winds, fire, and ocean fog—have converged to create a landscape that can be found nowhere else. In this beautifully illustrated book, Wessels invites readers to investigate the remarkable natural history of Mount Desert Island, along with the unique cultural story it gave rise to. This account of nature, terrain, and human interaction with the landscape will delight those who like to hike these bald summits, ride along the carriage roads, or explore the island’s rugged shoreline. Wessels concludes with a guided tour of one of his favorite hikes, a ten-mile loop that will acquaint the reader with the diverse ecosystems described throughout his book.
TOM WESSELS is a professor of ecology and the founding director of the master’s degree program in conservation biology at Antioch University New England. He is the author of Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England, Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape, The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future, and The Granite Landscape: A Natural History of America’s Mountain Domes, from Acadia to Yosemite.