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Be a #SoilHero! Recurring Save Our Summits Volunteer Program

August 21 @ 8:15 am - 12:15 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 8:15 am on Wednesday, repeating until September 4, 2024

Hike to one of Acadia’s iconic summits AND help Acadia National Park’s efforts to restore native vegetation!

Acadia National Park, in collaboration with Friends of Acadia and Schoodic Institute, invites tenacious hikers to bring bags of soil to the summits of Penobscot and Sargent Mountains. You’ll get to choose how much soil you’ll carry – carrying as little as five pounds (about the size of a large freezer ziplock bag) is a huge help! This soil is integral to the ongoing summit restoration efforts in Acadia National Park.

Our Recurring Save Our Summits Volunteer Program occurs every Wednesday from June through September, 2024. Hikes run from 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., weather permitting. *Advanced registration is required. Register online at the link below.

Meet at the Parkman Mountain Carriage Road Trailhead off Route 3 in Acadia National Park. Participants will hike up to the summit of either Penobscot Mountain or Sargent Mountain with a Volunteer Leader.

Register Here!

If you’re SOS hiking with friends, family, or another group, we highly recommend you carpool. The trailhead has limited parking. Don’t forget your park pass! Arrive prepared to be on trail for a few hours. Dress appropriately with reliable hiking boots and sweat-wicking apparel. Bring water and snacks, as well as anything you may need for your known medical and allergy needs. Bring a backpack with extra room to stow your soil. Carrying soil up via backpack is the most convenient method. Participants must stay with the group on the hike up to the summit, but are free to continue exploring the park on their own after dropping off their soil and checking in with the Volunteer Leader. If conditions are expected to be rainy or slippery on the day of the hike, participants will be alerted via email and invited to register for the next drop-in opportunity.

The Routes

Participants will hike with soil up to the summit of Penobscot OR Sargent Mountain.

Sargent Route
Elevation gain: 1,040 ft
Distance: 4.20 mi
AllTrails Map

Penobscot Route
Elevation gain: 1,086 ft
Distance: 4.33 mi
AllTrails Map

Summit Restoration is Critical

Despite their hardened granite, Acadia’s mountain summit ecosystems are incredibly fragile. Human-caused climate change is causing longer growing seasons, more rain, less snow, and fewer species that we know and love. Extreme weather events are damaging landscapes, cultural resources, and infrastructure. Invasive plants species are trying to out-compete native summit plants. Trampling by humans has damaged the plant communities at the top of mountains. For the last several years, Acadia National Park, Friends of Acadia, and Schoodic Institute worked together to evaluate new vegetation plantings and soil replacement on Cadillac Mountain summit. This research continues to provide managers with invaluable information on how to direct change toward desired future conditions on Cadlillac and other summits in Acadia. Turns out, getting soil on the summits is a critical piece of the revegetation puzzle. The loss of vegetation has caused soil to erode, which means there’s no place for seeds to settle and grow.

That’s where you come in. By carrying soil to the summits of Sargent and Penobscot Mountains, you’ll play an important role in the restoration of these vital ecosystems and their future resiliency. That’s something to feel proud of. (Bonus: you’ll get a wonderfully scenic hike in Acadia!)

Lean more about this science-based approach: Learning How to Restore Mountain Summits


August 21
8:15 am - 12:15 pm
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