WASHINGTON, D.C. — The very first bill introduced by Maine 2nd District Rep. Jared Golden is, ironically, almost identical to a bill introduced in January 2017 by former Rep. Bruce Poliquin, whom Golden defeated in the November election.
It is the Acadia National Park Boundary Clarification Act.
That bill was passed by the House last May, but it did not become law because the Senate failed to vote on it before Congress adjourned at the end of the year. This means that it has to start over as a brand new bill.
Golden and Maine U.S. Sen. Angus King introduced it last Thursday. It would confirm the park’s 2015 annexation of 1,441 acres on the Schoodic Peninsula. That land, which includes the Schoodic Woods Campground, was donated by a private owner to the National Park Service.
The bill would prohibit any future expansion of the park or other alterations of its boundary except for minor adjustments “to resolve issues resulting from causes such as survey error or changed road alignments” or other circumstances.
The bill also would allow for “the traditional taking of marine species, marine worms and shellfish on land within the park between the mean high water mark and the mean low water mark in accordance with state law.”
Golden said in a prepared statement that the bill “puts control back in the hands of local folks so they can continue the clamming and worming tradition.”
Another provision of the Acadia bill would loosen restrictions on future uses of the Tremont Consolidated School property.
In 1950, land for construction of the school was transferred from Acadia to the town of Tremont. The deed provided that if the land were no longer to be used for “school purposes,” it would revert to the Department of the Interior.
The new bill, like the one that passed the House last year, states that the land “shall remain in public ownership for recreational, educational or similar public purposes.”
The only condition is that “use of the land shall not degrade or adversely impact the resources or values of Acadia National Park.”
The lot that
no one wants
A provision of the Acadia National Park Boundary Clarification Act — both last year’s version and the bill that Sen. Angus King and Rep. Jared Golden introduced last week — states that the Department of the Interior shall convey a 0.29-acre lot on White Spruce Road to the town of Bar Harbor for use as a solid waste transfer facility.
That lot is adjacent to the town’s existing transfer station.
Town Manager Cornell Knight said Monday that, at one time, the town was interested in acquiring the lot, but that is no longer the case.
“We had talked about that when we were building our [new] transfer station because it is right on the fence line,” he said. “But we ended up being able to site it so that it wasn’t really necessary.”
The Acadia boundary bill states that if the White Spruce Road lot is not used for a transfer station, “the land shall, at the discretion of the Secretary [of the Interior], revert to the United States.”
The National Park Service doesn’t pay taxes on the lot, but its value is assessed at $51,800.