Everyone is in denial some of the time at least – that’s part of being human. We just don’t want to accept the things that are difficult to deal with. But when does not facing reality become harmful? Denial hides the truth, mainly from ourselves. This summer, Bar Harbor is being swamped with huge crowds, so much so that many people no longer travel south of the Village Green.

To say that congestion is important for our businesses is to ignore the fact that some of the tourists who are here for only a few hours rarely spend more than a small amount. In fact, sometimes our small village seems to be a free amusement park as hurried guests glance quickly into shops, each one a sideshow viewed through the circus tent flap; they then order one lobster roll for the party to share so they’ll all have “a taste of Maine.”

Check Trip Advisor, where visitors are cautioned to stay away on cruise ship days. Many of our traditional repeat long-term visitors say that they will never return. View the “Vacancy” signs along our major streets; the two- to three-hour visitors are driving away the people who would otherwise live among us for a few days or even longer.

Not facing reality can create an environment of suspicion and hatred where blame is directed at the people who are pointing out the danger. It’s difficult to be faced with what we don’t want to know.

Is it time for us to wake up and see what is happening? Some of us want these facts not to be true. Denial works for people who have it because it allows them to avoid doing something about the problem.

Please, let’s all, with courage and strength, address the problem of what could happen to beautiful coastal towns, such as Rockland, before it’s too late.

Anne Marie V. Quin

Bar Harbor

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