Acadia Winter Festival Highlights

Acadia Winter Festival attendees found their winter at Schoodic Institute last month. There was no shortage of snow, which set the scene for great outdoor fun! Institute President Mark Berry and Acadia National Park Superintendent Kevin Schneider kicked off the festival at Schoodic Woods Campground with cross country skiing in Acadia National Park.

Food always attracts a crowd, and so does retired Acadia National Park Ranger Ed Pontbriand’s outdoor dutch oven cooking workshop. Guests prepared meals and enjoyed their efforts while snow fell. Apple crisp and lasagna seemed to be the crowd favorites.

There was no shortage of snow for Quinzhee hut building with Chuck Whitney. The conditions were just right for participants to learn about winter camping and outdoor survival.

When it was time to warm up, participants came inside to learn more about salmon in the rivers of downeast Maine. Downeast Salmon Federation presented a lecture on DSF’s work to monitor, protect and restore this species, and their role in the seasonal cycle of anadromous fish, and the fisheries they support. An added bonus was tasting the locally harvested smoked fish.

Winter festival participants learned the fundamentals of staying safe and warm during Maine’s winter season. Ed and Kelly Pontbriand, park rangers and search and rescue specialists, answered questions about cold weather safety and survival and demonstrated what goes on behind the scenes when someone is lost or missing in the great outdoors. Thanks to our two ‘lost’ hikers who volunteered to hide during the search and rescue portion of the event.

The weekend concluded with “Timber” Tina Sheer and The Great Maine Lumberjacks entertain with wood chopping, sawing and ax throwing demonstrations. Participants had an opportunity to try their hand at it.

Hikes, a winter birding tour and evening lectures rounded out the weekend. COA professor Todd Little-Siebold presented “The History of Being Cold in Maine”. This interesting talk focused on the historical lifestyle changes experienced on the coast of Maine from the colonial past to modern day. Dr. Hal Borns of the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute led evening lecture guests on ‘The Maine Ice Age Trail’. Dr. Borns explained how this event has shaped our coastal landscape, and demonstrates a major hemispheric-wide change in climate.

Schoodic Institute wishes to thank our guests and sponsors for making the 2017 Acadia Winter Festival a success.