Water access is questioned

MOUNT DESERT — Otter Creek resident Steve Smith, who has had a number of disputes with Acadia National Park over the years, is accusing the park of illegally trying to prevent public access to the ocean via a wooden wharf at the edge of Otter Creek Cove.

The wharf is adjacent to an old fish house, which is owned by the Aid Society of Otter Creek. The National Park Service claims ownership of all the property around the fish house, including land where the wharf is located.

In 2009, the park service removed the portion of the wharf that Smith and a few others had built over the water. But Smith and the others rebuilt it.

Smith maintains that deeds, court records and other documents dating back to the 1860s guarantee public access to the property and that the park has no authority to dismantle the wharf again.

Last week, Smith asked the Mount Desert Board of Selectmen to intervene to help resolve the ownership and access questions. The board asked Town Manager Durlin Lunt to invite park officials to attend the Aug. 1 selectmen’s meeting to discuss the matter.

Lunt said Monday that he expects Deputy Superintendent Mike Madell and Chief Ranger Stuart West to attend.

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]
Dick Broom

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