ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- Park directors here are taking tough criticism from business owners on Mount Desert Island. This comes as the park plans to open one month later this year due to federal spending cuts.
Acadia National Park had to absorb a budget cut of close to $400,000 when sequestration happened. Park directors responded by announcing that they won't be able to open the park's loop road until May 17 this year, which is rouhgly one month later than usual.
The road leading to Cadillac Mountain will also be off limits to cars until then and business merchants in Bar Harbor say that will only spell bad news for them. They're worried parts of the park being closed will leave tourists frustrated. They also claim directors at Acadia have not reached out to them to talk about ways to get things open sooner.
"I do know that I've talked to many members of the town and we could have raised that $390,000 through fundraisers," said Julius Wilson, who is the manager of the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel in Bar Harbor.
"The park can receive donations," remarked Len Bobinchock, who is Acadia's deputy superintendent, "and it can use those donations to hire people. If we would receive those donations today however, it would still be several weeks before we could hire people and bring them on because of the process."
Park directors say while Cadillac Mountain is off limits to cars there are many other parts of Acadia that are open year round. They say they're trying to get that message out to tourists by posting signs and handing out pamphlets.
Business leaders in Bar Harbor are planning to hold a town meeting this week at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel to discuss the issue.