ACADIA NATIONAL PARK — An Acadia official on Friday clarified where marine protected areas in the park would exist if any such areas were created within the park by the federal government.
Earlier reports in the Bangor Daily News suggested that waters outside the existing park boundary on Mount Desert Island and Isle au Haut would be included in proposed marine protected areas, but David Manski, head of Acadia’s resource management division, said Friday that this is not the case.
The farthest offshore from any island or shore that any marine protected area would extend is to the low-tide mark, Manski said.
Beyond the low-tide mark that surrounds any island or land where the park owns shorefront property, no marine protected areas would be established, he said. There would be no marine protected areas outside of the park’s existing land limit.
Some parcels within Acadia extend only to the high-tide mark, Manski said, while others extend to the low-tide mark. Estuaries that exist within the park boundary, such as Bass Harbor Marsh and Northeast Creek, would be part of the marine protected areas, including parts of those tidal estuaries or creeks that remain underwater at low tide.
“Generally, [people] are not fishing there,” Manski said. “We’re not [extending] out in the marine waters.”
The park is considering establishing marine protected areas within its legal physical boundaries in order to become part of an information-sharing network among government agencies that have jurisdiction or conduct programs in marine waters, according to Acadia officials. The marine-protected-area designation will not create or establish any additional regulations in the tidal estuaries or intertidal zones in Acadia that would receive such a designation, nor in the submerged lands that lie outside those areas, officials have said.
Municipal officials in surrounding towns have expressed concern that the marine-protected-area designation could affect marine activities in areas where their residents fish, but park officials have assured them that those existing marine activities will not be affected.
Last week, the park’s advisory commission sent a letter to the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration requesting that the agency suspend Acadia’s application to establish marine protected areas on its properties so the park can gather and share more information about its proposal.