To the Editor:
In the discussion concerning the debate over cruise ships, the Bar Harbor Town Council has forgotten one key player: the regular year-after-year tourist.
As a 34-year visitor of Bar Harbor, my husband and I have regularly brought our family and friends up to Acadia and Bar Harbor. We spend several weeks each year here, spending thousands of dollars on lodging, food and the inevitable trinkets.
This week, for example, because of cruise ships, our first experiences were that we could not park in town at the wharf, and no other parking; we could not shop in town due to crowds, the sidewalks were packed; driving up Cadillac Mountain, we poked up behind two buses full of cruise passengers; at the top of the mountain, four other buses suddenly unloaded, and our view was of the passengers taking pictures of the ships in the harbor.
Back at our rental, we were treated to the sounds of the ship: engine noise, announcements, lights and the lovely ship blocking the view we paid dearly for.
The Bar Harbor Town Council should not kill the goose that lays the golden egg – the tourists who for years have rented homes or rooms, eat out every meal and frequent the shops in Bar Harbor.
I have spoken to many others this week, both tourists and full-time residents, and got the same feedback. That is, it is too crowded.
It seems more likely that after 2018, with the advent of the cruise ship terminal, that we regular visitors may put the tourist cap on Bar Harbor.
It is up to the council to decide if yearly tourists who love the area and spend a small fortune here are to be sacrificed for a harbor fee and the deluge of cruise ship passengers racing up Mount Desert Street looking for anything that says Maine on it.
Cruise ship crowds have changed the atmosphere of this beautiful park and charming seaside town to a cheap Jersey Shore resort. And that’s where I grew up, so I can say that.
Resident Anna Marie Quinn said it best: “A small town only works because proportions are right… . We’re way out of proportion.” Not only are our visits to town no longer a pleasant experience, our visit to the park is suffering the same consequence.
With the exception of the federal government’s park shutdown in 2013, lately our bi-yearly Bar Harbor and Acadia visits have been spoiled by the cruise ships. So, Bar Harbor Town Council, there is no need to “experiment. It is too crowded.