STORIES OF ACADIA: The friend
Favorite spot: Eagle Lake. “It’s terrific in all seasons.” He drives by the lake on his daily commute and often stops for a quick walk. “The weight of the day…just evaporates.”
David MacDonald’s family moved to Mount Desert Island when he was about 10 years old. His first memory of Acadia National Park is a bike trip he and his parents took around Eagle Lake. After his high school graduation, he moved away for a time, but has been back on MDI for the past 25 years.
“The park has been this constant in my life, at all ages. It’s been a place for stress relief, for recreation,” MacDonald said. “I like to bike, I like to run, I like to paddle. [I’m] always out here with my kids and my family, so it’s just been, more than anything else in my life, except for maybe my parents, it’s been a constant, and a steadying influence on me, personally.”
The park is also a major force in his life professionally. For the past four years, he’s served as the president and CEO of Friends of Acadia, a nonprofit that promotes the stewardship of the park and surrounding area.
“What’s great about my job is I hear a different perspective and a different storyline from everyone. Everyone has a different favorite trail, different story of how they connected with the park, and it just makes for an amazing constituency of people, like all of us, who love this place.”
Friends of Acadia has nearly 5,000 members, MacDonald said, from all around the world. The organization is celebrating an anniversary of its own — its 30th — and continues to work on behalf of the park.
“We were founded by citizen volunteers who really wanted to create more opportunities for people to give back to this place that they love,” MacDonald said. “So whether it’s volunteering, whether it’s writing a check, whether it’s doing some advocacy, speaking to your elected officials, we want to be a vehicle through which people give back to this place that we love.”