To the Editor:
The article “Carriage Road Courtesy for All” in the winter issue of the “Friends of Acadia Journal” prompts me to write this letter. The carriage road system is a unique and special part of Acadia. All users are blessed to have such peaceful pathways through the forests which lead to exquisite vistas and which provide for a wide range of recreation options.
Originally for horses and carriages so as to avoid automobiles, today the roads are perhaps used mostly by hikers and bicycle riders. Signage is clear as to who is to yield to whom when using the roads, but courtesy is more than yielding right-of-way and not blocking the roads. It also pertains to respecting the “rights” and pleasures of others as they experience the carriage road system.
Little can compare with the exhilarating scent of fresh forest air, a warm breeze wafting off a pond in summer, or a cool refreshing zephyr fresh from the ocean. This is Maine at its finest. Unfortunately, such pleasures are often overwhelmed by the fresh stench of horse manure. Likewise, a pleasant walk or bike ride is often interrupted by the necessity of avoiding fresh – or not so fresh – horse droppings. At best an eyesore, at worst – well we need not go there.
As a dog owner who frequently walks on the carriage roads, I am expected to clean up after my animal. The same is true if I am on a hiking trail in the mountains or on a sidewalk downtown. While in some cases this might be “the law,” in general it is simply the courteous thing to do: showing respect of the “rights” and experiences of others.
I simply suggest that horseback riders, carriage drivers, etc., be required to clean up after their animals, just as we dog walkers are. I believe that there exist “horse diapers” which are used by police forces in major cities when they patrol on horseback, by others in parades, and so on. Might not the same be required of horses on the carriage roads? Might a shovel and bucket suffice on the carriage roads? An inconvenience to be sure; but, so is the need for me to stop and transfer my doggie’s doings from road to sealed plastic bag.
Acadia’s carriage roads are a treasure and blessing to all of us. We, all users, are in many ways as much responsible for their upkeep and cleanliness as are park maintenance personnel. We must keep them clean of litter, of animal droppings, etc. Let’s have a “one-size-fits-all” equal-opportunity carriage road system. If you or your animal drop something, pick it up. It’s courteous, considerate and appreciated by all.
and Bar Harbor