A dark-horse candidate has captured a new 10-year contract to provide carriage tours in Acadia National Park, leaving the former operator shocked and frustrated about losing the business after many years.
The National Park Service’s regional director in Philadelphia awarded the concession contract for Wildwood Stables to a company headed by two of the prior operator’s former employees, Kari Goraj, and her husband, James Bartick, of Orland.
The NPS rejected a bid from Carriages of Acadia, led by president Michael E. Carpenter, former state attorney general and state senator from Houlton, which held the contract for the narrated carriage tours in Acadia for 15 years, including several extensions totaling five years. The stable operation and carriage rides had about $850,000 in sales in a recent year, according to an NPS report on the business opportunity for Wildwood Stables.
In an interview, Carpenter called it a “real kick in the gut” to lose the concession to old friends and employees after all the blood, sweat and tears that he and his daughter, Emily Carpenter, who served as general manager, put into the business. “I don’t know how it happened,” he said. “I was stunned.” Continue reading