ACADIA NATIONAL PARK ADVISORY COMMISSION MEETING
Acadia National Park Headquarters June 03, 2019 1:00 p.m.
SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT – Kevin Schneider, Superintendent
Park Status Update – Kevin Schneider
Superintendent Schneider gave an update on the status of the park which included the following;
The Final EIS was released in March and the ROD was signed in May. That culminates the four year planning process. Now the challenge will be implementation, which will be a multi-year effort with lots of opportunity for collaboration. Adaptive Management is a key tenant to our final plan, along with maintaining dialogue with our stakeholders and accommodating local residents.
We are looking at a pilot with half price reservations to accommodate local residents. We scaled back the hours reservations will be required on Ocean Drive to 7-5 and allowing entrance to the corridor. We will be allowing entrance at Otter Cliffs Road with no reservations. Trails and Carriage Roads are locations that will not require reservations. We are hoping to have the reservation system in effect by 2021.
The Gateway Center, which is the multi-model transit facility in Trenton, is a partnership with the state. There is a lot of interest in the Gateway Center from the towns, the state, and other stakeholders and we are trying to move it along. It will operate as a park and ride facility, as well as the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. They serve different audiences and stakeholders so they are important as a package but serve different demographics and visitors.
We are now seeking funding for the predesign of Hulls Cove Visitor Center, which will include doubling the parking lot, designing the VC on grade, realigning with the Carriage Road, adding an outdoor amphitheater, and adding an indoor multi-purpose room.
Thanks to Friends of Acadia for funding an analysis of how the Island Explorer will integrate with the transportation plan and where we want to expand on the Island Explorer.
Another important part of the transportation plan are concessions contracts for bus tours. We are beginning the processing of developing new concessions contracts for our bus tours. We have two existing contracts; National Park Tours and Oli’s Trolley, and we have several CUAs that operate bus tours in the park.
We have begun the development of those concession’s prospectuses. There will be vehicle length restrictions, 38 foot max, with height restrictions. Only authorized concessioners will be allowed to offer tours on the Park loop Road and Cadillac Mountain using a motor coach vehicles that fit in a standard space to include 15 passenger vans will continue to operate under Commercial Use Authorizations; taxis, services, van-based tours and transportation can still come into the park with a CUA. We expect there will be multiple contracts out for bid, but we haven’t determined a number yet. Utilizing a concessions contract we have the opportunity to incentivize cleaner vehicle technology, and coordination of the providers for limited parking. We hope to have it result in a higher quality visitor service. We hope to have the prospectus released in early 2020. To check out the process, there is a website:
nps.gov/subjects/concessions/prospectuses ultimately, the Director will make the selections based on the interdisciplinary team that reviews them.
We also hope to get out a concessions prospectus for Wildwood Stables this year, as well.
We will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Island Explorer at a public event on June 14th at 10:30 at the Jordan Pond House off the tea lawn, sponsored by Friends of Acadia. At that time, we will be recognizing the acquisition of 21 new Island Explorer buses, which are more spacious and one foot longer, replacing earlier buses. With additional funds, we will be up the total new buses to 35 over the next three to four years. A media release will be going out tomorrow and FOA will be sending an invite.
Jackie Johnston relayed a message from the Town of Gouldsboro that they are very happy with how the park has managed traffic at Schoodic.
Liscomb Pit will be converted to a public visitor parking lot for Eagle Lake Carriage Road access.
We will be reconstructing Eagle Carriage Road in 2020.
Acadia Workforce Housing Initiative – Kevin Schneider
Private-public Housing to be located at Harden Farms on Kebo Street. We will be working with a private partner developer. Acadia has been selected as the pilot within the park service for this program. There are legal policy questions we are trying to navigate that are complex.
Bass Harbor Head Light Acquisition – John Kelly, Management Assistant
We will be inheriting a light house within a month or two. The US Coast Guard has their transfer documents put together. They will be going with a solar option to maintain the light. We are developing a Historic Structure Report, which documents the history and gives us guidelines for use, and working on the Environment Site Assessment. The next steps with be planning, working on the transportation issues, access, circulation and visitation. We have been in contact with the town of Tremont and the Historical Society and we plan on briefing them through the process and address any questions they may have regarding parking on the access road. The town of Tremont has posted no parking on the town’s portion of the lighthouse road and the park has posted the same on their side at the town’s request.
Status of the Boundary Legislation – Kevin Schneider; Chris Rector, Reg. Rep of Senator King
The Acadia Boundary Legislation has been passed by Congress and signed by the President. It is law. Thank you to everyone for your support on it. The commission is permanent in law, as well.
Abe Miller-Rushing and Nick Fisichelli - 2nd Century Science Presentation to include a slide show on Climate Change and Acadia National Park. www.scsparkscience.org
Lands Committee – No Report
Science & Education Committee – Bruce Weirsma
The Science & Education Committee went on a tour of the Sieur de Mont Nature Center. We were joined by Jackie Johnston and Howie Motenko of the Advisory Commission and Don Kent and Nick Fisichelli from Schoodic Institute. We were updated by a Ranger on the Education Program and the Bat Education Program. We saw a series of displays on Climate Change in the Nature Center. The Wild Gardens was a wonderful bonus. I was unaware they existed there. I have to give a tip of my hat to Friends of Acadia and the gardeners who support them. They are great and they have these minor little ecosystems that are examples of what you find in the park. It is marvelously done. Our overall impression was how well Science & Research integrates with Education; it is virtuously seamless and it is a reflection of the staff. It
was a nice experience. We would like to thank Lynne Dominy, who is no longer with Acadia, for suggesting it, Laura Cohen for organizing the tour, and Kate Petrie, Abe Miller-Rushing and Beck Cole- Will for contributing and presenting. Maybe we can look forward to another tour for our next meeting.
Park Use Committee – No Report
History Committee – No Report
COMMISSION ANNOUNCEMENT – Jackie Johnston, Vice Chair
Having received Ben Emory’s notification that he will no longer continue on the Acadia National Park Advisory Commission, Jackie moved to accept the following resolution:
“Ben Emory has been a member of the advisory commission for many years; first as a Governor’s appointee and most recently representing the Sec of Interior. His extensive background in land conservation is unparalleled, and he has maintained his expertise through leadership roles on countless relevant boards that successfully contributed to the preservation of thousands of acres of Maine lands for generations to come. We recognize Ben’s accomplishments both as a member of the Advisory Commission and in his personal pursuits, including his recently published book “Sailor for the Wild”, and we wish him well as he leaves the Commission to continue his good work.”
The resolution was seconded by Katherine Heidinger, all accepted; no opposed.
SCHOODIC INSTITUTE UPDATE– Don Kent, President & CEO
Don gave an update on the work at Schoodic Institute, to include 2nd Century Science and working with Washington, friends groups, the National Park’s Foundation, the Fellowship Programs, and Citizen Science Workshops.
FRIENDS OF ACADIA – David MacDonald, President & CEO
David gave an update on the Island Explorer, Funding at the Park, the Summit Stewarts, and the addition of 40-45 staff at the park. He stated the following are identified as needing attention, time and resources: Acadia Experience, Wild Acadia, Youth Engagement, and the trails and Carriage Roads. They are very active in the Friends Alliance effort. An investment at Acadia has national implications. The delegations are spot-on on the issues. This is encouraging. We are piloting a couple of new programs:
• Integrating volunteers into the pass program, i.e. Acadia Youth Volunteer Pass
• APP for Acadia Quest, which is a digital scavenger hunt
Cultural Connections in the Park brings Abanaki Artists to Acadia to showcase their work, through collaboration with the Abbie Museum. . The first event will be a drumming group representing Maine’s Wabanaki people. The Burnurwurbskek Singers will be drumming and sharing stories on the top of Cadillac Mountain on Wednesday, June 26, from 11:00 am -1:00 pm. Stay tuned for other events in the park.
Given no further public comments, the Commission Chair made closing comments. Please remember to send any suggestions for agenda items for the September 9th, 2019, meeting to Fred Ehrlenbach.
The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, September 9th, 2019, 1:00 P.M. at Schoodic Institute, Winter Harbor, Maine, as published in the FEDERAL REGISTER.
Motion was made by Katherine Heidinger to adjourn, seconded by Jackie Johnston, and approved by all, no opposed.
Meeting adjourned at 2:09 pm
Minutes Submitted by Kathy Flanders
Last updated: October 24, 2019