1 Last Friday, I attended an event just off Little Long Pond, located west of the village of Seal Harbor, Maine. It was a small ceremony announcing a very special gift from David Rockefeller, Sr.
2 Little Long Pond abuts Acadia National Park, which consists of more than 45-thousand acres, 30-thousand of which are on Mount Desert Island. Little Long Pond includes three large meadows where walkers, hikers and visitors on horseback can enjoy the peaceful setting. http://www.nps.gov/acad/index.htm
3 A few visitors attending the event rode their horses down the carriage roads of this beautiful meadow.
4 The event was held just feet away from the edge of Little Long Pond. David was graciously escorted into the tent where he formally announced the donation of one-thousand acres to the Land & Garden Preserve, a public charity that has been maintaining open spaces in Mount Desert for 44 years. It also owns and manages the Asticou Azalea Garden, Thuya Garden and Lodge, and 140-acres of surrounding woodlands and trails. http://gardenpreserve.org
5 More than 100-people gathered under the large tent. Friends, family and members of the conservation community came to hear the official dedication of the Rockefeller land.
6 The property includes Little Long Pond and the beautiful land and trails surrounding it. It will remain undeveloped and accessible to generations of visitors to Mount Desert Island each year.
7 David, who celebrates his 100th birthday next month, decided to give one-thousand acres - 10 for every year of his life.
8 David's daughter, Neva R. Goodwin, is the president of the Land & Garden Preserve, and also has a home in Seal Harbor. Neva assured attendees that no changes were planned for the property, and that it would continue to be accessible for public use.
9 Neva also added that her father's donation would ensure the land would be open for walking, hiking, horseback riding and other nature focused activities.
10 David Rockefeller, Jr. was also at Friday's event. David, Jr., is an American sailor, philanthropist and an active supporter of nonprofit and environmental causes. He is David's eldest son.
11 David, Jr. talked about his sisters as the "stewards of the property" and joined his family in expressing how special the area was to all the Rockefellers.
12 This is David MacDonald, who serves as president and chief executive officer of Friends of Acadia, an organization that helps to protect Acadia National Park. He also sits on the board of directors for the Land & Garden Preserve. http://friendsofacadia.org
13 David described the land donation as David, Jr. indicated the property lines on the map. A new trail that cuts across the Rockefeller land in a west to east direction is also expected to open this summer.
14 David emphasized the land would be protected from any development pressures, and that people would continue to be able to use it all year round, including winters, when islanders have always enjoyed skating on the pond and snowshoeing through the fields and woods.
15 Here is the map of the land being donated. At the moment, the land does not include the privately owned Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden, but that property may be donated to the preserve in the future. https://rockgardenmaine.wordpress.com
16 David is an international banker who served as chairman and chief executive of Chase Manhattan Bank. He is the grandson of oil tycoon, John Rockefeller, Sr.; he is the oldest living member of the Rockefeller family; and, he is the family patriarch. He still owns a summer home in Seal Harbor, where he spends most of his holidays and part of the summer.
17 David told attendees that Seal Harbor and Mount Desert Island continue to be very special to him and his family.
18 He said he started visiting the area when he was "three months old in his parents' hands." His parents purchased their first home in Seal Harbor in 1910, a few years before David was born.
19 Sitting here are David MacDonald, Neva Rockefeller-Goodwin, David Rockefeller, Sr., and Eileen Rockefeller Growald, David's youngest daughter. Eileen is a venture philanthropist, and the founding chairperson of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, an advisory service set up by members of her family. https://www.rockpa.org
20 David MacDonald called the donated land "spectacular in every way" and that its "size and natural diversity make it so important to so many people on Mount Desert Island." David also said to the guest of honor, "Mr. Rockefeller, there are many reasons we love the land, but we also love the landowner."
21 It's a wonderful way for David to celebrate his birthday, and the place he cares about so much.