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Shutdowns + Vendor Changes the Subject of Acadia National Park Forum

View of Sand Beach in Acadia National Park. Photo Credit-Susan Patten/Townsquare Media

Acadia National Park has made headlines as of late and the public has a chance to express their thoughts and concerns with three groups tomorrow night in an Acadia National Park Forum.

Recently, the National Park Service announced it had chosen a vendor to run the park’s concession operations which include the famous Jordan Pond House.  For years, those operations were handled by a local company, Acadia Corporation, but were awarded to a company in New Mexico.

Acadia has also been in the news as a result of the federal government shutdown, as the few “essential” employees remain on duty to enforce the shutdown.

Thursday night’s forum is being sponsored in part by the Acadia National Park Advisory Commission, chaired by Dr. Steven Katona.

Katona says he knows people are confused and concerned about the process and impact of recent external decisions impacting the state’s only national park, and should have a chance to be heard.

He says he’s not an attorney so can’t speak to the legality of the National Park Service fining people if they trespass in Acadia during the shutdown, but he does understand people’s frustrations.

“This park doesn’t have walls, and it doesn’t have fences, so in this [federal] facility you can simply walk across a boundary line and you’re in it,” states Katona. “Now that doesn’t answer the question of whether or not you should be in it, or whether the federal government has the ability, or responsibility, to keep you out when the thing is legally close as a result of Congressional action or inaction.”

Dr. Katona says while these decisions affecting the park currently may be a done deal, thoughtful and educated discussion about the obstacles can help impact future decisions and the way things are handled.

The forum, which is also sponsored by the Friends of Acadia and the Bar Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce, will be held tonight starting at 7 at the Municipal building in Bar Harbor.

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