BAR HARBOR — Park officials met at Acadia National Park Headquarters on Friday morning to discuss the Great American Outdoors Act, see the facilities and assess repair needs.
“Acadia National Park gets 3.5 million visitors a year, and the back of the house, right here at our maintenance building headquarters, is really what supports our ability to welcome those visitors and take care of them,” said Kevin Schneider, superintendent of Acadia National Park.
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Rob Wallace is touring national parks across the country.
“One of the responsibilities I have is to kind of understand what the needs are across the system and help prioritize how to start and what to do first,” Wallace said.
On Aug. 4, President Donald Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law.
“This is an incredibly important law that over a period of five years is going to bring nearly $7 billion to America’s national parks to address deferred maintenance problems across the nation and right here at Acadia,” Schneider said.
Schneider stressed how difficult it is to work in the facilities they have.
“These facilities first of all are undersized. They’re too small for our present level of operations,” Schneider said. “Since they were built in the 1960s, our visitation has tripled here at Acadia, so they don’t serve our modern needs. We have one restroom for 65 employees.”
Wallace said improving these facilities is key for the park’s operations.
“A lot of the public doesn’t see what it takes to run a park,” Wallace said. “You come here and you appreciate what it takes and how much it needs to be rehabilitated.”
The Department of Interior will be submitting a report to congress with the priorities of the Great American Outdoors Act by the beginning of November.