David MacDonald

David MacDonald | President and CEO of Friends of Acadia

After growing up in Somesville on Mount Desert Island and leaving the state for college, David MacDonald didn’t plan on returning. But he was struck by how much he missed Maine, so he came back and sought out work in land conservation. He started working at Maine Coast Heritage Trust and eventually became director of land protection for the organization. Now, as president and CEO of Friends of Acadia, MacDonald works with Acadia National Park to support, protect, and promote stewardship of the park and surrounding communities. In contrast to many other national parks, the nearby communities play an integral role in how people experience Acadia, MacDonald says. “It makes for a whole different visitor experience, and makes for, I think, a richer interaction people have with this particular national park.” In 2016, the organization led a year-long celebration of Acadia National Park’s centennial, working with more than 400 organizations and businesses that contributed events, products, works of art, and financial gifts to celebrate Acadia. Friends of Acadia also recently completed a $25 million capital campaign to help improve visitor experience, resource protection, youth engagement, and trails and carriage roads. “Among all of Maine’s dazzling array of conservation gems, Acadia National Park is certainly the most popular and world-renowned, but that’s not why I work here,” MacDonald says. “I work here because it’s my home.”

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