For a few hours on Sunday morning, a beach in Acadia National Park was transformed into a display of political dissent, with the word “RESIST” in letters over 25 feet tall written in the sand.

Photos of the message have been circulating wildly on social media over the past 24 hours, and while some have doubted whether the images are real, the man who organized the display is proud of the hours he spent with some friends writing it in the sand.

“It’s definitely not fake or Photoshopped,” says Gary Allen.

Allen, who turned 60 on Sunday, says it all started with a birthday wish.

“I reached out to a few friends and said what I wanted for my birthday was to make some sort of a peaceful, environmentally friendly statement about what’s going on around the country,” Allen said. “I did some research and saw what time low tide was and what time sunrise was, definitely wanting letters etched in the sand to go away with the incoming tide.”

Gary Allen's friends admire the "RESIST" sign they wrote from the cliffs near Sand Beach in Acadia National Park on Sunday.

Gary Allen’s friends admire the “RESIST” sign they wrote from the cliffs near Sand Beach in Acadia National Park on Sunday. Photo by Gary Allen

About 12 people showed up at 5 a.m., just before low tide, on Sand Beach in Bar Harbor. Their first try was done in almost total darkness, Allen said, and when they climbed up the nearby cliffs and looked at their work, they decided to try again farther down the beach. Within a few hours, both messages were washed away by the tide.

“It was pretty magical,” Allen said. “It was a really cool thing because it was a coming together of people for various reasons to bring attention to environmental issues and political issues.”

For Allen, the word “resist” is primarily a statement of opposition to ignorance about climate change, but it applies to other topics as well, including some actions by President Trump’s administration.

“We have to resist climate ignorance. We have to resist bigotry and hate. I can’t tell you exactly what everyone (on the beach) was thinking, but we all support resisting science ignorance and resisting having our national parks be told to stop using social media. We wanted to stand with our National Park Service and nature,” Allen said.

Allen, the founder of the Mount Desert Island Marathon and coach of the Mount Desert Island Middle School cross-country team, is not associated with the National Park Service or the “Alt Acadia National Park” Facebook page, which reposted Allen’s photos of the message. That post has been shared over 600 times as of Monday morning.

The Alt Acadia page is one of many Facebook accounts run by anonymous volunteers that have been set up in defiance of President Trump’s crackdown on environmental agencies’ communications.