Signs are posted at Acadia National Park access points, such as this one at the Cadillac Mountain entrance on Eagle Lake Road, alerting visitors that many park services will not be available during the government shutdown. ISLANDER PHOTO BY LIZ GRAVES

Acadia open, but staffing limited by shutdown

ACADIA NAT’L PARK — With the partial shutdown of the federal government, which began Friday at midnight, Acadia remains open to the extent that it normally is at this time of year, but only those employees who are considered “essential” will be on the job.

The Ocean Drive section of the Park Loop Road is open to motor vehicles, as is Stanley Brook Road and the section of the Loop Road from there to Jordan Pond. But if snow falls, those sections might be closed because there will be no one to plow them, according to Christie Anastasia, the park’s public information officer. The same is true for parking lots.

The carriage roads are open for hiking and skiing, but volunteers will not be grooming them for skiing because they are technically considered park employees and they must be supervised by a paid park employee.

Hiking trails remain open.

Anyone who is currently camping at Blackwoods Campground may stay until their permit expires. But no new permits will be issued while the government shutdown continues.

In the Schoodic Peninsula section of the park, the loop road will remain open because of the need to provide access to employee housing.

Anastasia said that a key message park officials want to convey is that park visitors should use extreme caution because there won’t be any park personnel available to provide guidance or assistance. She said emergency response would be “extremely limited” because the number of park employees on the job is dropping from 94, which is typical for this time of year, to just 15 because of the shutdown.

Those few who are not being furloughed include law enforcement rangers and one employee in the Mount Desert Island section of the park and one on Schoodic to take care of buildings and utilities.

Park officials received a notice from the federal Office of Management and Budget at about 10 a.m. Saturday that they should start shutting down all nonessential operations and visitor services. Shortly after that, rangers began posting signs, locking restrooms and securing buildings.

Appalachian Trail open

All of the nearly 2,200 miles of the Appalachian Trail, from Maine to Georgia, remains open to hikers during the government shutdown, according to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

However, there will be no visitor services or trail maintenance work, and emergency and rescue services will be limited.

About 700 miles of the Appalachian Trail are managed by the National Park Service and about 800 miles by the U.S. Forest Service.

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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