PORTLAND — The oldest member of the Rockefeller family is giving a gift as part of his 100th birthday celebration: 1,000 acres of land including streams, trails and carriage roads abutting Acadia National Park.

David Rockefeller, the retired CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank and grandson of oil tycoon John Rockefeller Sr., is transferring family property at Little Long Pond in Seal Harbor to the Mount Desert Island & Garden Preserve, describing it as a “gift to all the people of Maine.”

“This magnificent state and its wonderful residents have been such an integral part of my family’s history. It is my hope that the public should forever benefit from this beloved tract of land,” Rockefeller said in a statement.

The 99-year-old Rockefeller, who turns 100 on June 12, will be joined by his daughter Neva Rockefeller Goodwin and son David Rockefeller Jr., at a formal announcement Friday.

The transfer is to take place this summer.

The Rockefeller name goes way back on Mount Desert Island, where powerful Gilded Age families like the Astors, Morgans, Fords, Carnegies and Vanderbilts escaped to the Maine coast to beat the summer heat.


David Rockefeller’s father, John Rockefeller Jr., directed construction of a network of carriage roads that are part of Acadia National Park, which is home to a rocky coast and stunning mountain vistas. He also donated much of the park’s land.

“The contributions of the Rockefeller family have been huge over time, not just for Acadia but for other national parks as well,” said Stephanie Clement, conservation director at Friends of Acadia.

The land transfer, which doesn’t include Rockefeller’s Seal Harbor home, will substantially increase the not-for-profit Island & Garden Preserve, which owns and manages the Asticou Azalea Garden and Thuya Garden and Lodge, both popular attractions that are open to the public in Northeast Harbor, along with 140 acres of woodlands and trails in the area, said Fraser Seitel, a family spokesman.

Rockefeller Goodwin, chairwoman of the garden preserve, said her father’s donation ensures that the land will be open for walking, hiking, horseback riding and other activities. In a statement, she said, “What a grand and appropriate way for this wonderful man to celebrate his 100th birthday.”

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