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Acadia National Park Rocky Shoreline

Acadia National Park The ocean thundering against the rocky shore, the tang of salt on the sea breeze, the clang of bell buoys off shore, and gulls circling above the waves... For many who visit here, this shoreline scene is the quintessential image of Acadia National Park. The shoreline is a work in progress, constantly being shaped and reshaped by waves and wind and storms. Slowly the ocean works away at the hard edges of the island, carving sea stacks and leaving pockets of beaches filled with surf-rounded cobblestones. Amid all the cracks and crags and bold cliffs of the Acadian shoreline, nestles one sandy beach.

During the summer, Sand Beach is lifeguarded, but swimming is for the hardy and thick-skinned -- ocean temperatures rarely exceed 55 degrees. During the winter, storm waves sweep away the sand, only to return it again in the spring. The shoreline is also rich with life. At low tide, the ocean leaves behind pools of water inhabited by sea stars, dog whelks, blue mussels, sea cucumbers, rockweed, and other creatures and plants. Forests live on the edge, standing tall in so harsh an environ, but fierce storms will topple trees, opening windows of sunlight and space for other plants to grow and flourish.

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Maine ocean islands provide the only nesting sites for Atlantic puffins in the United States. Eastern Egg Rock in the midcoast region, Seal Island and Matinicus Rock at the mouth of Penobscot Bay, and Machias Seal Island and Petit Manan Island off the downeast coast provide habitat for more than 4,000 puffins each summer.