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Contact: Ryan McKelvey, 207 288-8786
Acadia National Park is seeking public input on a proposal to simplify the entrance fee structure. Currently the park charges a weekly entrance fee of $10 per vehicle in the shoulder seasons and $20 per vehicle in the peak season. The park staff is proposing to collect an entrance fee of $20 per vehicle year-round, effective in the summer of 2014. The entrance pass would continue to be valid for seven days. The Island Explorer bus system is supported in part by park entrance fees but currently only during peak season when the entrance fee is $20.
The purpose of this fee change is to increase the money available to fund the Island Explorer operations. Public use of the Island Explorer transportation system in Acadia National Park has increased from 141,000 riders in 1999-when it began-to 424,000 annual riders in 2013. Likewise, the number of propane-powered buses has increased from eight buses in 1999 to more than thirty buses in 2013.
The Island Explorer has significantly reduced automobile use and prevented 15,000 tons of greenhouse gases; however, there has been an increase in operational costs as bus routes and operation times have expanded and as maintenance and repairs on the buses are needed. Park entrance fees cover a significant part of the Island Explorer's annual operating budget.
Currently, during the shoulder seasons (May 1-June 22 and the day after Columbus Day through October) Acadia is collecting just $10 for a weekly entrance fee per vehicle, and all revenue is used for visitor-related projects such as the maintenance of trails and carriage roads. In the peak season from June 23 to Columbus Day Acadia is collecting $20 for a weekly entrance fee and the revenue is split 50/50 between the bus system and other projects. With the intent to increase money available to support the Island Explorer, the park is considering eliminating the shoulder season rate of $10 and charging $20 for a weekly entrance fee whenever fees are collected, which is about 85 days of the year. This proposal would not impact the fees for annual park passes.
The park is interested in visitor opinions of this fee change. "We invite the public to give us their thoughts and comments at the public meeting or to send their comments to us if they can't attend," state Superintendent Sheridan Steele. A public meeting will be held on the second floor of the Bar Harbor Town Office at 6 pm on Wednesday, November 13, 2013. Comments can also be submitted by email to e-mail us, or to the address below:
Superintendent Sheridan Steele
ATTN: Fee Change Comments
Acadia National Park
PO Box 177
Bar Harbor, ME 04609
Comments submitted by mail or email are welcome at any time, however, to be part of the evaluation for the fee change proposal they should be received no later than November 30, 2013. If you have any questions regarding proposed changes to the entrance fee structure, please contact Ryan McKelvey, Fee Business Manager, at 207 288-8786.