STORIES OF ACADIA: The entrepreneur
Favorite spot: “I can’t think of a favorite. That would be like trying to choose the one food you’re going to eat for the rest of your life. They’re all good and unique experiences. I think I’m a little bit partial to Seawall because I’m right next to it.”
Charlotte Gill owns a pair of lobster pounds, one in the village of Southwest Harbor, and the other on Seawall Road on the way to the park. She moved to Mount Desert Island when she was a first-grader, and said Acadia still provides her with the peace she seeks.
“To me, [Acadia National Park] stands for ‘real,’” she said. “Now, society is so synthetic, it feels like. Everyone with their phones and this and that, and lack of ‘real.’ And when you’re here in the park and here by the ocean, you have no choice but to recognize just the moment and just the reality of it. It’s beautiful … it’s something that brings [people] back to themselves.. It’s a nice place to center.”
Gill said that even as a young girl, she recognized the park as a special place.
“I’ve been here since first grade, and one of my favorite pastimes as a child was to go to the park, to go to Wonderland, to go to Seawall, to look in the tide pools,” Gill said. “Those were pieces that made me who I was. Those are pieces of childhood. To be able to offer that to families that might never have seen that, to be able to come into our national parks and to be able to enjoy that, to be able to sit by the ocean or to look into a tide pool, it’s literally, it’s life-changing. That, I think, has been the importance of park to me and my history.”
And Gill hopes that during the park’s second hundred years, it remains accessible for all.
“I want the park to be something that everyone can enjoy. I have issues with high fees, to get into the park or for your park pass,” Gill said. “There’s got to be a better way. There has to be. There has to be something because [the idea] is not to harness [the park] as something that can be bought and sold as a commodity. It’s something that’s available for everybody.”