ELLSWORTH, Maine — A public information session about federally recognized marine protected areas, and what it might mean for Acadia National Park, has been scheduled for April 13.
The meeting is expected to begin at 7 p.m. at Ellsworth Middle School, according to David Manski, chief of the park’s natural resources division. Officials from Acadia, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Maine Department of Marine Resources are expected to be at the meeting to hear input from the public and to answer questions about the program, Manski said Tuesday. NOAA is the federal agency that oversees the marine protected area program.
The meeting was scheduled after the park’s citizen advisory commission decided last month that more information about the proposal needs to be gathered and shared with the public before the park’s application for marine protected area status moves forward.
Acadia officials have said the designation would put the park in a network of government agencies that have jurisdiction or conduct programs in marine waters.
The designation is expected to affect only intertidal areas along the park’s shore frontage, depending on the parcel in question, according to park officials. Along some park parcels, the marine protected area would extend no farther into the water than the high-tide line. No marine areas beyond the low-tide line would be included in any marine protected areas in Acadia, except creeks in tidal estuaries that are within the park’s boundary.
Municipal officials from several surrounding towns have raised concerns about what effect marine protected area status in Acadia might have on local fisheries, but park officials have said the designation will not create or establish any new regulations within or offshore from the affected intertidal areas.