Acadia hoping for deferred maintenance help from American Outdoors Act

Published: Sep. 25, 2020 at 8:25 PM EDT
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ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine (WABI) - Acadia National Park sees around 3.5 million visitors every year.

That much traffic takes its toll on infrastructure and the park’s ability to keep it safe.

Park officials at Acadia say they’re in need of 65 million dollars for deferred maintenance and to support infrastructure.

Help might be on the way with Congress passing the Great American Outdoors Act.

Seven billion dollars will be shared by national parks all across the country, according to Park Superintendent Kevin Schneider.

“This is a once in a career opportunity for all of us here in the National Parks Service to really address these deferred maintenance issues.”

At the top of those issues for Acadia is the maintenance building.

It was built in the 1960s and was declared structurally unsound in 2011. According to park officials, the building and many others like it at Park Headquarters are long past a few repairs.

“It’s time that these assets were simply replaced,” said Schneider. "They simply weren’t designed for today’s needs, our level of visitation today, and some have deteriorated to a point where it no longer makes sense to try to invest in them.

On Friday, the park hosted Rob Wallace, the Department of the Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.

His office’s recommendations will play a key role in how the money from the bill is dispersed.

“A lot of the public doesn’t see what it takes to run a park,” Wallace said. “You come here and you see what it takes and how much it needs to be rehabilitated. It’s not going to be necessarily the sexy part of visitation, but it’s going to be a fundamental part of efficient and effective operation.”

The Interior’s report will be submitted in early November, and the park says it’s shovel-ready as soon as the funding comes through.

“If we do it well," said Wallace, “I think the American public is going to look back in five years when this money is gone and say, ‘the park service showed they know what they’re doing.' Let’s think about doing it again.”

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