Friday, 21 September 2018 13:42

Officials tour Acadia to evaluate repair needs

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ACADIA NATIONAL PARK - Across the country, more than $10 billion in repairs has been delayed at national parks. That includes $60 million worth of repairs at Maine's Acadia National Park.

Congress is now on the verge of funding those projects.

 

Acadia National Park's more than 50-year-old maintenance building is a prime example of what happens when repair work is delayed. Cracks in the foundation, floors and siding were cited as just a few of the reasons the 1960s era facility needs replacing.

"And for some of those assets, like this maintenance building, it's time to start over," Acadia National Park Superintendent Kevin Schneider said Thursday during a tour of the park that drew national and state officials.

 

If approved, the Restore Our Parks Act would provide $1.3 billion a year for the National Park Service to catch up on the deferred maintenance.

 

"We know. Believe me. We will go through that. We certainly know how we will prioritize. It will be service wide. Looking at all 417 of our parks," NPS Acting Director Dan Smith said.

 

The funding for the park renovations and repairs will come from fees paid to use federal lands for activities ranging from cattle grazing to oil drilling.

 

"It's inexcusable that we're not able to maintain these wonderful facilities," Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said.

 

During the past several years, numerous temporary trailers and sheds have been erected on Acadia's headquarters' campus as the need for storage space grew. Most of the repairs that are being delayed are to fix items that visitors will never see, but are critical to the operations of the park.

 

Nearly three and half million Acadia visitors descend on Mount Desert Island annually, providing more than 4,000 jobs.

 

"It is an economic engine for this part of our state," Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, said.

 

The funding bill has President Donald Trump's support and is expected to be on his desk for his signature before the year ends.

 

TJ Tremble

Assistant News Director
[email protected]

T.J. Tremble joined WVII ABC 7 and WFVX FOX 22 in March 2016.

He was raised in Bangor, attended Bangor schools and graduated from John Bapst High School. He attended the University of Maine, studying p...