Climate Change and Trails

America’s national parks are grappling with the impacts of climate change and extreme weather. In Acadia National Park, the Maple Spring hiking trail experienced a flash flood that put a section of the trail at risk of closing for good. The problem was that a lot of rain fell in a very short period time. Park headquarters registered about four inches of rain with one inch falling in just 15 minutes.  Acadia called this one of the most extreme weather events in its history. The intense rain damaged other hiking trails and carriage roads as well, but Maple Spring is the only one that’s still closed to the public.

The 2022 WPI research team will conduct a thorough examination of the trail and establish several GIS layers relevant to monitoring, maintaining, and preserving the trail. Of interest to the team is creating GIS layers for drainage areas, repeat photography, acoustic analysis, soil classification, hiker volumes, vegetation, and wildlife activity.