The Economic Ecosystem at Acadia National Park
You expect such partnerships in any area, whether there are tourists or not. Neighbors need to work together to bring the best out of a community. That's just how it's always been. And that seemed to especially be the case throughout Bar Harbor and the smaller towns of Ellsworth, Hulls Cove, Manset, Salisbury Cove, Town Hill, Tremont, Somesville, and Southwest Harbor - and even on a smaller level with Northeast Harbor as well, where there have been affluent summer residents for decades.
I think my best example of these working partnerships is when I asked about shower facilities at our campground at Seawall inside the National Park. Within walking distance of our campsite, there were restrooms, a dishwater dumping station, and a water tap but I did not see any showers. When I asked the ranger about it, he directed us to a Seawall Camping Supplies facility which I, initially, thought was also run by the National Park.
When we got there, about a half-mile down the road, it was a locally-owned store with any supplies a camper would need - and there were showers in the back that were $1 (in quarters) for 2 minutes.
I found it interesting that the National Park, instead of building their own shower system, would prefer to partner with a local business owner. I think that's a great idea and helps the local economy that much more for the area, which sees the majority of their tourists in a six week span over the summer.
Along with the example of the shared showers, the Acadia Weekly newspaper had many advertisements and small descriptions of local businesses. After seeing an ad for a place with blueberry soft serve custard, we had to make the drive to go get it. And it was delicious. The weekly also encouraged visiting the area communities and especially the eateries, which we definitely did. (Blaze, by the way, in Bar Harbor has an excellent selection of craft beer and the food is great)
As I described in my last blog post, the park is so sporadically dispersed that the communities almost become as much a part of the national park as the natural sights. I have to admit, visiting these charming towns and businesses - and taking part in this economic ecosystem - was as much of an adventure or highlight as standing at the top of Cadillac Mountain.