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Acadia goes under lock and key

from the Mount Desert Islander
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
by Earl Brechlin

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK — With no movement on the budget impass in Washington D.C. officials here Tuesday began locking the gates to the park.

Rangers started with the Cadillac Mountain Road, shooing half a dozen cars and a tour bus from the summit around 9 a.m.

Ranger Will Overton, who was stationed at the base of the mountain while others made sure everyone had left, said that telling cars that pulled up the park was being closed was the toughest thing he’s had to do as a ranger. Even a bicyclist on the Park Loop Road was contacted and told to turn around because the park was closed.

The shutdown affects all areas including beaches, rest rooms, visitor centers, and concessions such as the Jordan Pond House.

It has been 17 years since the last time the park was closed due to budget reasons.

Area chamber of commerce officials are planning a major push to counter the impression all of Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island is closed. “We will be reaching out to our customers through social media and other means to let them know Bar Harbor is still open and there are many other activities to enjoy in our region,” said chamber of commerce director Chris Fogg.

Early October is also peak cruise ship season with hundreds of passengers visiting Acadia by bus each day. “We have reached out to the cruise ship industry to see what impact a government shutdown would have on their business,” Fogg said. “They have said that they will continue to call on Bar Harbor, however, in the event of a shutdown of more than a few days, they may consider moving their calls to another port.”

Downeast Transportation, the agency that runs the Island Explorer shuttle bus system continued to run routes between outlying hubs and Bar Harbor although no buses are planned for the Park Loop Road or to Jordan Pond House.

Anyone involved in an emergency situation in the park is advised to call 911.

11 Responses to “Acadia goes under lock and key”

  1. Tim Linehan

    See this news report about the closure of Shenandoah Nat’l Park.

    http://www.dailyprogress.com/newsvirginian/news/local/shenandoah-national-park-to-close-if-shutdown-happens/article_37420cb0-2a29-11e3-a5d7-001a4bcf6878.html

    Skyline Drive will remain open during the closure. It’s only the facilities that will close.

    What are the changes that the rangers at Acadia would agree to a similar arrangement regarding Park Loop and the road to the summit of Cadillac – leave the roads open but close the facilities?

    Best.

    Reply
  2. Mike Glazzer

    I would expect that one should be able to still hike in the park. It would be quite vindictive and unnecessary for them to ban hiking. We have hiked at Acadia for years and are fully prepared and responsible. The white mountains have no official personnel at most areas, and everyone manages fine.

    Lets hope that sanity prevails in regard to park use.

    Reply
  3. Chuck Hogan

    Please convey to the superintendent to instruct his rangers to “look the other way” when it comes to bikers and hikers. I know they are required to have some kind of shutdown. But lets minimize any bad feelings. We want people to support the park in the future. Lets just try to stay out of the politics as much as possible.

    Reply
  4. Aimee Beal Church

    Thanks for your comments–glad to have them. We’re in continuing conversations with park administrators about how best to handle this question; although Friends of Acadia has no power in the situation, our long, positive partnership at least gives us a friendly ear.

    Reply
  5. Chuck Hogan

    Thank you Aimee,
    I’m not sure how I could explain it to the children if we couldn’t hike. It would not leave a good impression that would be hard to erase.

    Reply
  6. Jeff

    My GF and I are headed to Acadia next Wed. We were planning on camping at Blackwoods. What campgrounds might you recommend (more peace and quiet and less RVs the better)? We are both avid hikers and were planning on 3 days of hiking the park. Does it look like that will still be an option as long as we access the trails from public roads?
    Where is the best place to get the most updated info on the status of the park?
    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  7. Alex Morrow

    The government has been purposefully shut down by people who could care less about Maine for purely political reasons. The consequences of this in Maine are just as real as they are in the National Institutes of Health and other vital services. The rangers are public employees.

    Call your congressperson and state your opinion.
    Here is a path to your congressperson’s e-mail or phone:

    http://www.house.gov/representatives/find

    In my case, I was taken to my congressman’s website where it was quite easy to submit a short e-mail stating my point of view.

    Please do this.

    Reply
  8. Aimee Beal Church

    From the Mount Desert Islander, 10/3/13:
    “…
    For the most part, the handful of rangers remaining on duty are not going out of their way looking for those who are technically trespassing.

    “We have only been giving warning tickets to vehicles that have driven past barricades,” said Chief Ranger Stuart West on Thursday.

    An order from the director of the national park service directs all units to be closed and to bar visitors. “It says no day users allowed,” Ranger West said.

    In practice, no one visiting on foot or by bicycle has been given a ticket. Ranger West said. “It’s frustrating for everyone involved,” he added.
    …”

    Reply
    • Chuck Hogan

      Thanks for the update Aimee. Please convey to the rangers that we do appreciate this! We wish it would all get resolved quickly. I feel very angry that the rangers have even been put in the middle of this. In reality the federal gov. already vastly differs on how strictly it enforces its laws. So you could say there is justifyable leeway. :-)

      Reply

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