The tourist season in Maine is off with the arrival of the first cruise ship in Bar Harbor and the announcement that Acadia National Park's access to the top of Cadillac Mountain will open sooner than anticipated.

Acadia National Park superintendent, Sheridan Steele, announced today that, with community support, the road to the top of Cadillac Mountain will open on May 11, 2013.

In response to concerns from the island’s business communities, and because of a generous offer from the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, the decision was made that it would be to everyone’s advantage to reopen that particular part of the loop road a week earlier than scheduled.

The other portions of Park Loop Road that are now closed will open on May 17. Other facilities, such as the Hulls Cove Visitor Center, will open on May 19. Ocean Drive is open, as well as all the carriage roads and hiking trails, except for a few miles of hiking trails closed because of nesting peregrine falcons.

Bar Harbor's Harbor Master Charlie Phippen says this year will be a record year for cruise ship visits with 135 on the books, compared to last year's record of 108 visits. The view of these ships from the top of the mountain is always spectacular.

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