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.