Acadia National Park to close, reduce staff if government shutdown occurs

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff
Posted April 08, 2011, at 5:46 p.m.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine —- If a continued lack of agreement on the federal budget results in a government shutdown at midnight Friday, signs of the stalemate will be visible at Maine’s only national park, according to a park official.

Most of the park’s facilities have yet to be opened for the summer tourist season, Acadia Deputy Superintendent Len Bobinchock said Friday, but some that have been open all winter would be shut down. The popular Ocean Drive, the road by Thunder Hole that connects Sand Beach with Otter Cliffs Road, would be closed, he said, as would the park’s winter visitors center at Acadia’s headquarters on Route 233.

Other park amenities such as the Park Loop Road, the summit road on Cadillac Mountain, and Jordan Pond House have been closed all winter and will remain closed.

The only park staff that would remain on duty would be two maintenance employees, one at park headquarters and another at the park’s Schoodic Education and Research Center at Schoodic Point, on the eastern side of Frenchman Bay, according to Bobinchock.

If a shutdown occurs, park rangers would not be on duty but could be called into action if there is an emergency such as an injured hiker, he said. Mount Desert Island Search and Rescue, a volunteer group that frequently works with park rangers in responding to such emergencies, will be available as usual to assist on any such calls, he said.

“We can bring in additional people [to work] if warranted,” Bobinchock said. “We would have to consider it on a case-by-case basis.”

The deputy superintendent said around midday Friday, however, that park officials were still hoping a budget agreement would be reached before midnight.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/04/08/outdoors/acadia-national-park-to-close-reduce-staff-if-government-shutdown-occurs/ printed on December 25, 2014