Acadia to air HQ relocation

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK — Options for rehabilitating, replacing or relocating the park headquarters will be presented at a public meeting at Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor on Sept. 22 at 6:30 p.m.

Ideas for redeveloping the Hulls Cove Visitor Center also will be discussed.

The National Park Service (NPS) is preparing a facility development plan and environmental assessment of alternatives for the headquarters complex. Most of the headquarters buildings, which are off Eagle Lake Road on McFarland Hill, were built in the 1960s. They house the park’s administrative, maintenance, law enforcement, interpretation and resource management functions.

The buildings were not particularly well constructed to begin with, Jim Vekasi, Acadia’s former chief of maintenance, said at a public meeting in 2011. He said they were energy inefficient, had poor lighting and failed to meet accessibility standards.

Deputy Superintendent Len Bobinchock, who retired last year, said in 2011 that the park was working on a plan for replacing the headquarters structures.

“As the staff grows and operations become more complex, we’re really struggling to make things work up there,” he said.

The idea of building a new park headquarters has been kicking around for a long time. Developing a specific replacement plan was among the recommendations of the park’s 1992 general management plan.

One location that is being considered as a possible site for a new park headquarters complex is adjacent to the Hulls Cove Visitor Center.

“The NPS is evaluating alternatives for improving visitor facilities at Hulls Cove along with those at park headquarters because of the close association between their operations and the efficiencies that can be achieved by integrating the two locations in the planning process,” Acadia officials said in a press release announcing the Sept. 22 public meeting.

The park’s administrative offices were once located in the Hulls Cove Visitor’s Center but moved when the decision was made not keep that inefficient building heated in winter.

“We look forward to getting feedback from the public at this early stage of the process,” said Superintendent Sheridan Steele.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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