Experience the Incredible Diversity of Acadia National Park
Look below to learn more about the nature and wildlife of Mount Desert Island, including intertidal, plant and animal species.
With over forty miles of rocky shoreline, Acadia National Park possesses a tremendously rich intertidal flora and fauna. Twice daily, the nutrient-rich marine waters cover these plants and animals. However, during the lower stages of the 10- to 12-foot tidal range, the ocean leaves behind pools of water inhabited by sea stars, dog whelks, blue mussels, sea cucumbers, rockweed, crabs, and other creatures and plants.
The coastal ocean waters surrounding Acadia are home to countless other animals, from clams and sea urchins to the commercially-prized lobster. Gulls and other seabirds wheel overhead, and marine mammals such as seals, whales, and porpoises often frequent the area. In the Gulf of Maine, species ranging from tiny phytoplankton to large fish make up the diverse yet precarious food web.
Acadia National Park is blanketed with forests and woodlands that are situated in the transition zone of two ecoregions: the northern boreal forest and the eastern deciduous forest. Much of the park is covered by spruce-fir forests, which is representative of the boreal influence, however, Acadia also contains stands of oak, maple, beech, and other hardwoods more typical of most of New England. There are also several unique, isolated forest communities, such as pitch pine, jack pine and scrub oak.
The catastrophic Fire of ’47 facilitated the replacement of conifers with deciduous species such as birch and poplar. Therefore, there are currently large areas of 50-year-old woodlands, as well as other areas that have had a longer time to develop since being disturbed.
Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island also supports more than 1,000 different plant species, including wildflowers, mosses, algae, and lichens. Almost one quarter of Acadia’s flora is non-native, and about 25 species are state-listed rare plants.
Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island offer an environment rich with the presence of somewhat shy and secretive wildlife. Many leave signs of their presence such as nipped-off twigs, scats, tracks, eggshells, shed hairs, or nut hulls.
Here are a few of the species you might encounter during your visit:
peregrine falcons and other hawks, songbirds (including as many as 23 species of warbler), loons, herons, eiders and puffins (offshore);
seals, dolphins, whales and other marine mammals;
salamanders, frogs, and toads;
raccoons, coyotes, chipmunks, squirrels, muskrats, weasels, white-tailed deer, snowshoe hares, skunks, otters, foxes, deer and the occasional moose, bobcat or black bear.