Preserving Our Island
Preserving Our Island
Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park are blessed with some of the most beautiful landscapes, diverse ecosystems, rich history and cultural traditions. The Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce is working with many partners to ensure that these resources are protected for future generations to enjoy. This brochure will highlight some of the projects that Mount Desert Island has undertaken to become more sustainable and will list ways that you can help while you're here.
What is Sustainable Tourism?
While sustainable tourism has many definitions, the basic concept is that tourism should protect the environment, preserve cultural heritage, and enable long-term, viable, and fairly distributed economic benefits for all stakeholders. See the United Nations World Tourism Organization (www.unwto.org/sustainable/concepts.htm) for a more comprehensive description.
Examples of Sustainable Tourism Initiatives on Mount Desert Island (MDI)
- Many island businesses have taken the time to "green" their operations through installing energy saving devices, making renewable power choices, using local products, and initiating recycling programs.
- Acadia National Park, the Maine Department of Transportation, Friends of Acadia, L.L.Bean, local towns, area businesses, and passengers all contribute to the Island Explorer bus system, a fare-free, propane powered bus system that travels through the national park and island villages. Riding the bus helps conserve fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and prevent smog-causing pollutants.
- Three Mount Desert Island towns, Bar Harbor, Tremont and Mount Desert, have passed lighting ordinances to protect the quality of the night skies in the region. Several other towns are drafting ordinances.
- Friends of Acadia, Acadia National Park, and several towns have partnered on a program to establish Village Connector Trails that provide opportunities for residents and visitors to leave their cars parked and walk directly from village centers to the park. Trails accessible from Bar Harbor include the Great Meadow Loop, the Schooner Head Path and the Duck Brook Connector.
- The Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce purchased the first public receptacles for recyclable bottles and cans in Bar Harbor. There are now 25 receptacles around town. The Chamber and private partners are looking to expand the program considerably.
- Friends of Acadia and Acadia National Park have a volunteer program during the summer and early fall that assists the National Park Service with basic maintenance of the trails and carriage roads. All visitors are welcome.
- The Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the MDI Rotary Club and others to "green" the events surrounding Bar Harbor's 4th of July celebrations. Examples include composting food waste and utensils made from corn starch at the Rotary seafood festival, offsetting carbon emissions from the extra vehicles traveling onto MDI for the 4th of July celebrations, and encouraging "green" themes at the parade.
- College of the Atlantic partnered with Bar Harbor Chamber businesses to reduce carbon emissions by - through a compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL) exchange program that switched over - incandescent bulbs for CFL's.
What can you do while you're here to contribute?
- Ask the businesses you visit what they're doing to protect the environment, and share your ideas with them.
- Ride the Island Explorer; use your bicycle; explore the area on foot; and leave your car parked while you're here. Click here for more information
- If your lodging establishment does not have a recycling program, encourage them to start one, and save your cans and bottles for receptacles in town.
- Purchase locally made products and food.
- Consider volunteering to improve Acadia's trails and carriage roads. From June through Columbus Day, anyone can show up at Park Headquarters on the Eagle Lake Road at 8:20 a.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday to spend the morning clipping brush from trails, raking leaves from culverts and ditches, planting trees and shrubs, and/or other activities.
- Practice Leave No Trace principles while visiting Acadia National Park. Simple things to do are to hike on durable surfaces (like rocks instead of plants on mountain summits), pack your trash out, be prepared for all weather conditions, bury human waste in a six to eight-inch deep hole at least 200 feet from water sources, and be respectful of other visitors and natural quiet. Visit http://www.lnt.org/programs/principles.php for more information.
- Consider attending an interpretive program or tour while you're here to learn more about the natural and cultural resources of Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island.
- Purchase your national park entrance pass if you plan on visiting any part of the Park. Not only is it required, but eighty percent of park entrance fees are retained by Acadia for important projects like supporting the Island Explorer, fixing Acadia's buildings, and maintaining historic landscapes.
- If you had a wonderful experience visiting Acadia and MDI, consider making a donation to a local non-profit organization whose interests and programs helped make that possible and/or match your interests.
The member businesses and staff of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce would like to thank you for visiting our area, for taking an interest in sustainable tourism, and for helping to preserve our beautiful, historic part of the world.