When we talked to Kevin Schneider in April, Acadia’s new superintendent had been on the job just three months. Schneider, 40, comes to Maine from a gig as deputy superintendent at Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, following stints in Yellowstone, New Mexico’s White Sands National Monument, and elsewhere. His wife, Cate, is a UMaine grad who grew up in Bangor, and the Schneiders have visited Acadia for years, recently with their two young kids. Schneider met us during a break from moving his family into their new Bar Harbor home.
Where did your interest in parks and public lands come from?
When I was 17, I volunteered for the Student Conservation Association at North Cascades National Park in Washington. We spent a month in the backcountry and didn’t see an electrical outlet or a car for a month — camped out the whole time. I realized this is what I wanted to do for my career. That led to waiting tables at Glacier National Park, where I structured my shifts to spend as much time as I could in the backcountry. I hiked a ton.
How does Bar Harbor compare to Jackson, Wyoming, so far?
It’s great. City life doesn’t really appeal to me, at heart. I love to visit — I just like to make sure I have a round-trip ticket. Coming back to a community like this one is important to me, along with the recreation amenities — being able to get off of work and be on the trail or have a canoe in the water 10 minutes later.
Why’s that so important?
If you look at the meaning of the word “recreation,” it means to re-create. So you’re really re-creating yourself, your inner self. I love to hike — if I could do one thing for the rest of my life, it’d be just to walk.
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Photograph by Michael Wilson