Acadia National Park Ranger Anne Warner offers an introduction to the park at the Criterion Theater in Bar Harbor on Friday afternoons. ISLANDER PHOTO BY DICK BROOM

Criterion hosts weekly park ranger program

BAR HARBOR — A park ranger is coming to a theater near you.

At 2 p.m. every Friday through October – except Sept. 14 – Acadia National Park Ranger Anne Warner will present an introduction to the park and answer questions at the Criterion Theatre in Bar Harbor.

Lynne Dominy, Acadia’s chief of interpretation and education, said this is a pilot program that began Aug. 10.

“We’re trying to do something to make it super-convenient for people who are already downtown to have a ranger service that provides a good orientation to the park,” she said.

Dominy said that if the slide talk at the Criterion turns out to be popular, the park would look at doing it on a regular basis and perhaps more often next summer and fall.

“We could potentially go from Memorial Day through October,” she said. “But it depends on getting people interested in it, finding out if it would be better in the morning than in the afternoon and figuring out if it’s something that would work every day.”

The park is piloting this program now because the theater at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center, where an introduction-to-Acadia film is shown throughout the day, is to be eliminated this winter as part of the building’s renovation. The main reason for removing the theater, Dominy said, is to provide more room for visitors and visitor services.

“We keep removing things from the inside to maximize people’s experience there, so that their experience isn’t standing in a line out the door and down the stairs,” she said. “The more things you have in that space that cause people to stay longer [such as the showing of a film], the more it increases the potential for congestion and reduces the amount of parking that’s available.”

Dominy said that if people who own or work in downtown businesses and lodging establishments know about the ranger program at the Criterion, they can pass along that information to their customers.

“If we could get large numbers of people in there, then we could provide them with a better service in town,” she said, noting that the theater at the Visitor Center has 100 seats, while the Criterion can seat 744.

Amy Roeder, the Criterion’s executive director, said of hosting the ranger talks, “It seemed like a perfect way for us to support the community that supports us so well. It really felt like a natural fit for us, and we love having a little bit of the park in our theater.”

The title of the ranger program is “The Wonders of Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island – Not Just a Pretty Face!” The Criterion’s website describes it as an interactive presentation about Acadia’s “wonders and amazing visitor experience opportunities.”

Tickets for the Friday afternoon ranger program cost $3. Children under 5 are admitted free. Proceeds go to Acadia to help pay for the ranger’s time.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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