June 19, 2018
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Acadia National Park rangers issue citations for bus tour operators

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine — As the federal shutdown reaches the two week mark, the rangers who remain on duty continue to issue citations for what they say are the more egregious violations of the resulting order to close the national park.

In the past week, three licensed tour operators have been cited for delivering passengers to the park, which is in violation of their commercial operator permits, Chief Ranger Stuart West said Tuesday.

On Oct. 8 and again the next day, Acadia National Park Tours, a private company, was cited for dropping off passengers by bus near the shore and carriage paths at Eagle Lake, according to West. Also on Oct. 9, At Your Service Taxi did the same, he said. West did not know how many passengers were involved but said none was summoned.

West said that even though the vehicles themselves did not enter the park, conveying passengers to the park is a violation of their permits. All commercial operators licensed to operate in the park were sent letters two weeks ago informing them that while the park is closed, the operators would not be allowed to offer commercial services to park visitors.

“We hold the commercial companies at a higher standard,” West said, adding that rangers have the authority to revoke permits if a violation is severe enough. “[But] we haven’t gone to that extent at all.”

West said that despite the closure, the park has been tolerant of individual visitors walking or biking into the park because of practical limitations of enforcing the closure, though rangers have asked some visitors to leave. Acadia is easily accessible by foot from many of the villages that abut the park boundary or from state highways that pass through park territory, so the dozen or so rangers not furloughed have focused on the more egregious violations, the chief ranger said.

On Saturday, the park issued a citation to a commercial photography guiding company that was leading a photography trip to Hunter’s Beach, the chief ranger said. On Sunday, rangers cited someone for camping at Great Head, where camping is never allowed, he said.

Also on Sunday, three motorcyclists were cited for riding up the Summit Road to the top of Cadillac Mountain. West said rangers have ticketed motorists who have driven past barricades into parking lots but have not ticketed people who park by the side of state or local roads and walked into the park for their own enjoyment.

Since Acadia’s closure Oct. 1, park rangers have handed out 53 warnings to people who have not been ticketed who have violated the park’s closure order, according to West.

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