Small is beautiful



To the Editor:

The state and the town of Bar Harbor are in the midst of planning development for the Bluenose Ferry terminal site, which may include a one-quarter to one-half mile long pier to accommodate two side-by-side mega cruise ships as well as all the needed support venues.

Friends of Frenchman Bay and many other groups are raising objections based on the visual, noise and environmental pollution it would cause, not to mention the ugly scar it will leave on the landscape when and if it goes bankrupt and is abandoned. I personally cannot bear the thought of desecrating our pristine view of the island from across the bay.

It does not appear to me that the planners are considering this from the perspective of the visitor.

I have been on cruise ships and particularly remember a visit to the Bay of Islands, Russell, New Zealand, which reminded me very much of Bar Harbor. It is a small town right at the water’s edge, with a lovely protected bay dotted with sail and motor boats. We anchored and came into a short pier by tender. It was the perfect way to arrive.

Huge ships docking at a long concrete pier with a big customs terminal and buses waiting to scoop up people is fine for cities. But what better way to enter Bar Harbor than by a small (50-75 passenger) tender cruising through the water with a lovely view of the mountains and the shoreline?

Lines and waits are shorter; island facilities aren’t inundated by the mass arrival of thousands of passengers. Restaurants that tourists (and we all) like to patronize are full to capacity on tour ship days as is. If bigger ships are built, they won’t be as scenic; they won’t be economically feasible with such a short season; they won’t give you the feel of a Jordan Pond, an Asticou Inn or a Bar Harbor pier or street-side restaurant with outdoor seating.

Acadia is a relatively small park; lobster is best when it is not mass produced; Bar Harbor is a village; Northeast is a one block long single street town; one of the glories of the island is enjoying nature on a smaller scale; touring the island by water is best when everyone has a seat with a view or can stand at the railing; whale watch boats can’t really get any bigger or more numerous – none of which accommodates huge groups of people.

Most of the mega cruise ships are like a floating Las Vegas. But Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island are an entirely different kind of adventure which should be presented and experienced appropriately.

I hope all who have a voice or a vote in the planning and decision making process take the visitor’s perspective into consideration.

Ann Michelson Hirschhorn

Hancock Point and Tucson, Ariz.

 

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