This Saturday Acadia National Park will have one of two car-free mornings of the season. (The second is on Sept. 26.) The National Park Service will also waive park entrance fees on those two mornings. According to a press release, the idea is to help “visitors to experience the Park Loop Road through non-motorized activities, such as walking, bicycling, skateboarding, and inline skating.” The park plans to use data that it gathers those days to help it develop a transportation plan for Acadia.

Many national parks, Acadia included, are victims of their own success. We love them, and set them aside, for their natural beauty and environmental value. But we have a bad habit of loving them to death, of clogging park roads with our cars and trailers, of imperiling the very scenes, smells, sounds, solitude, vegetation, animals, clean air and quiet that brought us there in the first place. We are so attached to our cars, it seems, even when we are escaping to nature, that two mornings (from midnight to noon), not even two full days, is all Acadia can manage to restrict them this year, and this despite a convenient, free shuttle system in the park ( But we’ll take what we can get. Two mornings is better than no mornings.

“No more cars in national parks,” environmental advocate Edward Abbey wrote in “Desert Solitaire” almost 50 years ago. “Let the people walk. Or ride horses, bicycles, mules, wild pigs – anything – but keep the automobiles and the motorcycles and all their motorized relatives out. We have agreed not to drive our automobiles into cathedrals, concert halls, art museums, legislative assemblies, private bedrooms and the other sanctums of our culture; we should treat our national parks with the same deference, for they, too, are holy places.”