Ten days after Acadia officials decided to close the park’s carriage roads to all traffic, they have decided to open them up again, but to foot traffic only (no bicycles). Hikers will be allowed back on the park’s gravel carriage road system on Friday, March 23.
The park closes the carriage roads every spring to prevent damage to them as they become saturated by spring runoff from melting snow and ice. But with very little snow having fallen in Maine this year, especially along the coast, there hasn’t been much runoff to saturate the carriage roads.
Some hiking trails in the park have been closed because of nesting peregrine falcons. These tend to be closed for several months, depending on whether the falcons successfully breed, hatch and raise chicks.
There is still ice in the park, and hikers on carriage roads and trails should be careful. As noted in my prior GC post, bicyclists are welcome to use the Park Loop Road, which generally is ice free. Much of the paved Park Loop Road currently is closed to automotive traffic, the exceptions being the Ocean Drive section that passes Sand Beach and Thunder Hole, and another short section between Seal Harbor and the Jordan Pond House. Bicyclists should be careful to avoid locked gates across the road where automobiles are prevented from traveling.
The Park Loop Road and the Cadillac Mountain summit road are expected to be completely open to automotive traffic on April 15, weather permitting, park officials have said.
The unusually high temperatures of March 21 & 22 aren’t expected to last, but the National Weather Service is predicting that it still will be sunny on Mount Desert Island throughout the weekend.