July 18, 2017
Contact: John Kelly
BAR HARBOR, MAINE – The National Park Service (NPS) has released the Public Comment Summary Report on Preliminary Concepts for the Acadia National Park Transportation Plan, which is available online at: go.nps.gov/PreliminaryConceptsComments. The report summarizes public comments on the preliminary concepts received from all sources during the comment period held in fall 2016.
The NPS is preparing the transportation plan to determine ways to provide safe and efficient transportation for visitors while ensuring the protection of park resources and values. The NPS prepared the preliminary concepts with input collected from the public during the information gathering phase of the plan from May to September 2015. The preliminary concepts describe a range of possible transportation and visitor use management strategies that may be included in the long-term management framework for Acadia. A newsletter that describes the preliminary concepts is available online at: go.nps.gov/PreliminaryConceptsNewsletter
“We value the broad range of ideas collected on the preliminary concepts during the public comment period last fall and are using these to prepare alternative management strategies for the transportation plan,” said Superintendent Kevin Schneider. “We look forward to continuing our conversations with everyone who has an interest in the future of Acadia.”
The NPS held a public comment period from October 13 to November 30, 2016, to receive feedback on preliminary concepts. While not required by the National Environmental Policy Act, the NPS felt that public feedback on the preliminary concepts would be vital to inform the development of alternative management strategies for the draft environmental impact statement. The NPS released a newsletter on October 13, 2016, which describes the preliminary concepts, draft management goals,desired conditions for the park’s fundamental resources and values, and the next steps in the planning process. In addition, open houses were held in Prospect Harbor, Maine, on November 2, 2016, and in Bar Harbor, Maine, on November 3, 2016, to share the preliminary concepts and receive feedback from the public. A total of approximately 230 people attended the open house events.
Overall, most commenters believed that traffic congestion, parking shortages, and crowding on the Mount Desert Island section of Acadia National Park need to be addressed. Though opinions varied as to which strategies are best suited for the park, many commenters expressed that the chosen strategies should make use of the best available technology, and allow for some degree of adaptability and flexibility for those planning to visit the park. Many local residents commented that they have needs that differ from out-of-town visitors and desire a system that can accommodate their visitation patterns. Commenters also expressed concern over some of the potential management actions identified for the Schoodic Peninsula, as they felt there was little need for action at this time and the strategies would be overly restrictive to locals visiting the park. Lastly, many commenters also stressed the importance of partnering with local organizations and towns to plan comprehensively for transportation in the area. They suggested that the plan consider possible ripple-effects of future changes and that the NPS work closely with local towns to mitigate the potential effects.
The NPS is currently developing alternatives management strategies for the draft Acadia National Park Transportation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, which is expected to be released in late 2017 for public review and comment. For more information about the Acadia National Park Transportation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, please visit: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/acadtransportationplan or contact John Kelly, Management Assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-288-8703.