October 3, 2013

Bar Harbor feels ill effects of government shutdown

A lobster bake company loses thousands of dollars as cruise ships cancel orders, and restaurants and other businesses fear the worst with Acadia National Park closed down.

By Leslie Bridgers lbridgers@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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click image to enlarge

Despite the closed sign, Titus Steinberg, 5, of Herne, Germany, hops over the gate at Acadia National Park’s Echo Lake in Southwest Harbor on Wednesday, along with his parents Oliver, at left, and Ramona.

Gabe Souza / Staff Photographer

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But people who came on their own, and were determined to get into the park, made sure that they did.

Cars with out-of-state plates filled parking lots, lined streets and crowded driveways near several entrances to the park. Hikers stepped over locked gates to access the trails.

Selina Mochizuki, her husband and 2-year-old son took advantage of having Echo Lake Beach to themselves for a while.

She said she was paying attention to the news on Monday, before they left their home in Greensboro, Vt., but they had already rented a house in Southwest Harbor.

“We weren’t going to let that stop us,” she said of the imminent shutdown.

Mochizuki’s husband, Jon Ramsay, said he assumed that it was all right for them to use the trails, but the park’s chief ranger, Stuart West, said that’s not the case.

West, one of 15 park employees who were working Wednesday, down from the usual 206, said rangers were patrolling the park, asking people to leave. Long-term campers were given extra time to make alternative plans. West said campers at about 30 sites in the Blackwoods Campground were still there on Wednesday, and would have to be gone by 11 a.m. Thursday.

Several hikers said Wednesday they were disappointed about the change in their vacation plans, but felt worse for the people who were out of work.

West wouldn’t say how the shutdown had affected the morale of his employees. But Sharon Stencel of Sacramento, Calif., had no trouble expressing her feelings.

Stencel and her husband recently renewed their vows and came to Acadia to celebrate the honeymoon they never had.

“I never would have come this far north,” Stencel said, if she had known the shutdown was coming.

Aware that the park was closed, Stencel drove to the Hulls Cove entrance Wednesday with a different purpose.

Standing in front of a flashing sign announcing the shutdown and closure, she smiled wide and held up her two middle fingers for her husband, who held a camera in front of her.

She said she would send the picture to her congressman.

Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:


Twitter: @lesliebridgers

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