Location: Schoodic Education and Research Center
Time: 1:00 pm
Jacqueline Johnston, Chair
Fred Ehrlenbach, Vice Chair
Ben Emory, Member
Ben Worcester, Member
Carolyn Gothard, Member
Katherine Heidinger, Member
Howie Motenko, Member
Stephen Shea, Member
Ken Cline, Member
G. Bruce Wiersma, Member
Kevin Schneider, Superintendent, ANP
Michael Madell, Deputy Superintendent, ANP
Rebecca Cole-Will, Chief of Resource Management, ANP
John Kelly, Management Assistant, ANP
Keith Johnston, Chief of Facility Management, ANP
Therese Picard, Dep. Chief Ranger, ANP
Christie Anastasia, Public Affairs Officer, ANP
David MacDonald, President & CEO, Friends of Acadia
Don Kent, President & CEO, Schoodic Institute
Chris Rector, Regional Rep, Senator King
Members of the Public
ABSENT MEMBERS: Matt Horton, Ken Smith, Dexter Lee
The Commission Chair called the meeting of the Acadia National Park Advisory Commission, Monday,
September 10, 2018, 1:00 p.m. to order.
APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA
A motion was made to approve the agenda by Fred Ehrlenbach; seconded by Katherine Heidinger; all
approved; no opposed.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES
A motion was made by Fred Ehrlenbach to accept the minutes of the Advisory Meeting of June 4, 2018;
seconded by Ben Emory; all approved; no opposed.
SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT – Kevin Schneider
Transportation Plan – John Kelly, Management Assistant
We have completed the 60 day public review of the draft ANP Transportation Plan. John gave a brief
review of the process to date of the park’s Draft Transportation Plan to include public engagement and
outreach activities; the public meetings, Q & A sessions, two public workshops at MDI and Schoodic,
briefings and chambers and board of selectmen, meetings with business owners and local community members.
We continued our discussions throughout the 60 day review period. We then analyzed the
public comments and summarized them into a document. John gave a brief summary of comments,
positive feedback and concerns. A copy of the Comment Summary Report was distributed to the
Christie Anastasia explained the process which allowed public comments on the Transportation Plan
become available to the Advisory Commission and the public.
Bass Harbor Head Light Acquisition – John Kelly, Management Assistant
We are waiting on the USCG to complete their internal processes before the Lighthouse can become part
of the park.. The Coast Guard will retain legal access to the light and they need to separate power to the
light as they will continue to maintain and pay for it. The park service will need to have an environmental
site assessment completed to determine if there are hazardous materials or contaminants on site before we
acquire the property.
We are researching opportunities and ideas for potential partners. We will consider possibilities
holistically, and not just focus on the light itself. We will need to consider improved parking, access, and
access/turn-around for the Island Explorer. We need to make sure the property is protected; that
operation maintenance costs are minimized; and visitors have improved access and increased enjoyment
of the park.
Acadia Workforce Housing Initiative – Kevin Schneider, Superintendent
The superintendent gave a brief synopsis of the housing issues with Acadia National Park and spoke on a
means to address the housing need, We do not have enough housing and the condition of our housing
assets is medium to poor condition. Our present government housing is not available for private for rental
in off season. The majority of the housing issues are on Mount Desert Island.
The National Park Service has specific legislative authority from Congress allows the park service to
enter into public/private partnerships for the purpose of providing our employees with housing. However,
we have never actually exercised that authority. The National Park Foundation has provided funding for
a consultant to look at any questions and determine how to make the process work as a pilot program for
the National Park Service and Acadia has been selected as a possible location for this pilot program.
The site for this pilot program is Harden Farms, off Kebo Street and near the golf course in Bar Harbor. A
private sector partner would build the housing on federal lands; the exact size and type of the
development would be determined through a request for proposal process. The partner would fund the
cost of the construction and there would be a long-term agreement (up to 50 years) that would allow them
to recoup their investment. We are soliciting information from the private sector that we could use for
It was suggested by members of the commission that transportation shuttle service be available for the
housing unit(s) to minimize additional traffic. Jackie shared her input on the experience of the navy and
their privatized housing. “The navy has provided affordable housing within commuting distance for a
long time. They also provide a tool for responsive maintenance on the part of the partner. There are a lot
of different parts and it is only going to be as good as that last piece through the long term and, when you
solicit, the key is you want to make sure you hire someone who is fully invested on good local standing
and sufficiently staffed to do it. That is going to be a big piece but it has been a positive tool”.
Deferred Maintenance– Kevin Schneider, Superintendent, and Keith Johnston, Chief of Facility
Deferred maintenance is a high priority for this administration and the park. Acadia National Park has a
lot of assets and we want to make sure they are in good condition. A bill has been introduced in Congress
that would provide a significant amount of money for deferred maintenance across the National Park
Service. It would be a huge investment for deferred maintenance in the national parks. We are actively
working to make sure our deferred maintenance needs are quantified and we have good projects written
so we will be prepared should that legislation pass.
We have been focusing on replacement of our headquarters maintenance facility, which was determined
structurally deficient in 2013. It would be a 15-20 million dollar rebuild facility as it is basically beyond
its useful life. In addition, we have been targeted other high priority projects like the 50 year old, 3-mile
powerline at Schoodic, which is in the planning phases of being reconstructed. We keep a 5-year project
list targeting how we would spend money should it become available.
The Commission asked to see a prioritized list of deferred maintenance project for Acadia or a copy of the
5 year plan.
Otter Creek Update – Jackie Johnstone
A letter was sent to the Mount Desert Town Manager requesting they (Town Leadership) advise the park
on some earlier public concerns. Unfortunately, feedback was not received in time for this meeting but it
is expected within the month. When we receive it, I will share it with everyone.
Commission Membership – Mike Madell, Deputy Superintendent
All appointments of the Advisory Commission expire in February, 2019. To avoid all appointments from
expiring on the same year, we are requesting the Secretary consider staggering appointments so one-third
of the commission is up for reappointment each year.
A motion was made by Ben Emory, seconded by Jackie Johnstone, and approved by all to stagger
terms to establish a three year rotation schedule; starting with one, two and three year terms.
Subsequent terms than convert to a three year term. This is to safeguard the commission has no
more than one-third of the seats vacant any given year.
Commissioners drew blind lots to determine if the forthcoming appointment for their seat would be a one,
two, or three year term. The results of that lottery follows:
State of Maine S. Shea 1 yr – 2020 2023
A motion made by Carolyn Gothard, seconded by Katherine Heidinger, and approved by all to adopt the dates for the FY2019 Acadia National Park Advisory Commission meetings as follows:
Monday, February 4th, 2019, 1:00, ANP Headquarters, Bar Harbor
Science Committee – Bruce Weirsma
Bruce Weirsma has volunteered to fill the position of Chair on the Science Committee pending approval of the commission.
A motion was made by Ben Emory, seconded by Ken Cline, and approved to elect G. Bruce Wiersma as the Chair to the Science Committee
Bruce Weirsma reported for the Committee: We met with Abe Mill-Rushing and Becky Cole-Will regarding park service research and I anticipated it would be extensive, important and well run. I was very pleased by the meeting; our compliments to Becky, Abe, and their staffs. There are two great thrusts to the park service research; research that is done to help the managers of the park, not just Acadia but other parks as well, to manage it better and make good decisions. This work described was truly impressive, important, and focused and I’m looking forward to working with them in the future, learn more about it, and keep current with that research. I think it is an important part of this commission. The other big function of park service research is that the parks themselves are unique areas. They represent pristine ecological systems that would be protected into the future. This is a great opportunity for researchers to use these sites and they do. In this park, that is exemplified by the list we received with 71 external research projects funded outside the park but, integrated and managed in the park; all using this park because of its unique nature and the unique systems that are protected and managed here. I am looking forward to working with Becky and Abe. And I would like to recommend that, at least for one of our meetings, we should have a representative so the commission can hear about a current research project that is underway and pertinent to issues we are dealing with today. This would cover both types of research. Good work and very impressive!
Lands Committee – No Report
The Park Use Committee met to review and discuss public comments on the Draft Transportation Plan.
“Park Use Committee submitted the following general statement and recommendation regarding the Transportation Plan:
The Park is to be commended for its outreach efforts throughout this multi-year planning process, which included providing a multitude of means for the public to access information and proactively traveling to engage with various communities and other major stakeholders to seek feedback in addition to the formal public comment period. The Commission also appreciates the staff’s efforts in preparing the summary of public comments.
There is a clear need for change. Doing nothing under the present circumstances, without even considering projected increases in future visitation, would be a mistake. The alternatives proposed by the Park are well thought out. Alternative C appears to be the best option, although there are details to work out. Most importantly, the Park’s pledge to use an adaptive process in managing change is key to our accepting Alternative C.
The Committee understands that many of the suggestions read and heard throughout this process will be addressed during the next phase of implementation. We request that the Park maintain dialogue with the Commission on the details of that implementation. That said, the committee is compelled to note that based on public feedback, the Park should seek multiple opportunities to accommodate local residents such as expanding winter 1⁄2 price pass sales to include reservations and re-evaluating the current proposed days and times for requiring reservations.”
Ben Worcester made the motion the commission accept the recommendation as read for a resolution. The motion was seconded by Katherine Heidinger and accepted by all; none opposed.
History – No Report
SCHOODIC INSTITUTE UPDATE– Don Kent, President & CEO
We worked closely with Acadia staff on Second Century Stewardship which started a few years ago with AAAS, the park, Schoodic Institute and David Shaw. AAAS has recently bowed-out of the project, but the National Park Foundation has joined the effort. Schoodic Institute has picked up a lot of responsibilities that AAAS had. It’s a credit to the park, both for their work and their patience keeping this going. This has been a pilot at Acadia National Park for the last 2 1⁄2 to 3 years. It has been an extraordinary experience. We are now going to be pushing out nationally. We are not sure to which parks yet but we are in a position where we can say, look at the great things happening and if you try this approach to research and education, it will help your park.
It has been a busy year. We have had more than 9,000 people check in here at the visitor’s center and Rockefeller Hall. Plus we have had a host of artists and science techs. Groups have come to use the facilities; work things out and plan for the future. Rick Hauck was here recently to talk about the physics of space travel. This place was packed. It was standing room only.
We have also held two board meetings. David Manski is now on the board. We have been looking at other board members and have spent quite a bit of time interviewing potential members this summer.
Trying to strengthen areas that we feel weaker in; making sure we have good representation, not only across our disciplines but our geography. So we’ll have announcements the next time we get together.
Alan Goldstein retired as Board Chair after 12 years and, in recognition of the 12 years, we have created the Goldstein Lecture Series. It is endowed and we welcome more endowments to that and you can contact us if you want to contribute to it. But that is going to give us the freedom to bring in big names. I’m not going to treat it as a lecture but more as events, that leads to lecture and discussions.
We spent a lot of time reorganizing and strengthening our committees. We are working with communities and organizations to find solutions. Partnership remains even more important than it ever was. We have this tremendous partnership with Acadia National Park and the National Park Service, which we are very happy for, a number of universities, government, NGOs; we’re expanding and deepening all those relationships. Now we are trying to move to Community Science Literacy. And if I have my way, it will become Community Environmental Stewardship. We try to engage the stakeholders across the board in a community sense and using community more broadly then just a township. Determine the problem, test, experiment, collect information, and make decisions about where we are going together to meet a challenge.
The Second Century Stewardship brought in two Fellowships this year and it will go back up to three this year.
FRIENDS OF ACADIA – David MacDonald, President & CEO
Friends of Acadia see a big part of their mission is to be in touch with the communities. Over the last few months, the transportation plan was a major focus of our agenda. Communication is an area where the park is asking us to do more. They do a great job but there is always more we can be doing. We, who are involved in the park every day, forget how much we have to explain about what is going on, behind the scenes. The transportation plan is a great example of that. We set up a Facebook page dedicated to just the transportation plan. . Our public comments on the plan were similar to what the commission settled on and we commend the park for the outreach they have done the last several weeks.
On the advocacy front, Senator King’s work on the deferred maintenance approach has been really significant. Friends of Acadia has been partnering on deferred maintenance for a long time through our endowments but it really is not enough. It is not sustainable. We hear from our board constantly that the Federal Government has a fundamental responsibility to up its investment to these resources. We are really pleased to see the Maine Congressional delegation taking a lead on this. It is important for community members and the commission to be active in communicating to the delegation about what is going on here. Friends of Acadia considers that a big part of our mission and how we get our work done. In fact, we updated our Strategic Plan to underscore communication and advocacy.
It doesn’t mean we are going to stop with fundraising and funding. Bass Harbor Lighthouse came up at the last meeting. We haven’t raised an endowment but we have succeeded in helping the park with some early seed money for identifying this special project. We have raised $300,000 for the project to help this park not lose this opportunity and help offset some upfront cost and tackle some of that immediate deferred maintenance We had more seasonals out in the park than ever before this year; working on trails, transportation issues, science, Acadia-Teacher fellows, and so forth.
This issue of housing really affects all our work, partners as well, and so we are grateful to see you taking advantage of a provision that has not been widely known and pursuing it. We all know the park is underfunded. If we are lucky enough to get the funds for maintenance, it’s not going to help if we can’thire them because there is no housing. The same issue applies to the Island Explorer. We know the Island Explorer is going to grow with the transportation plan but the drivers need a place to live. We think it is great that Kevin and his team have tackled some of those issues.
Chris Rector, Regional Rep to Senator King – Regarding an update on the Acadia Boundary Legislature, it is in conference and we are waiting for it to come up. The senator is very interested in what goes on in the park.
Steven Smith, Resident of Otter Creek – Mr. Smith read a letter requesting endorsement to the Secretary of Interior for a position on the Advisory Commission and requesting additional space at the Otter Creek town landing. (See attached letter)
Some of the projects we need done is, (1) Fresh water to the fish house (2) We want to be part of the transportation plan. We need to be included. (3) Campground egress from the fish house (4) Winter access to the east side (5) Clean up wood debris around the village (6) Correct the “wall of death” (7) Vista clearing at the town landing so we can see what is going on (8) Speed over the causeway has got to be slowed down; they race each other (9) Speed through the village, speed is not being enforced. It’s dangerous and kids can go out in the road
and play. (10) Repair the quarry road (11) More parking space in the town landing and, (12) I would, actually like to see a road going around the village, clear around the base of the mountain
and back in the village. Now it is a super highway. It’s ridiculous.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Given no further public comments, he Commission Chair made closing comments. Please remember to send any suggestions for agenda items for the February meeting to Jackie Johnston.
The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 4th, 2019, 1:00 P.M. at Acadia National Park Headquarters, Bar Harbor, Maine, as published in the FEDERAL REGISTER.
Motion was made by Fred Ehrlenbach to adjourn, seconded, and approved by all.
Meeting adjourned at 2:39 pm
Last updated: March 27, 2019