BAR HARBOR — Friends of Acadia (FOA) is establishing a special fund to help accelerate Acadia National Park’s transition to renewable energy and to more energy-efficient vehicles and equipment.
The new fund, called Greening Acadia, will be formally launched at FOA’s annual benefit auction, which will be held virtually Aug. 14. FOA is looking to raise $250,000 for Greening Acadia at the auction.
“With more solarization, we can save critical base operating dollars by not having to pay an electric bill and, instead, get our electricity from the sun,” said Acadia Superintendent Kevin Schneider. “It’s something that we absolutely need to be doing.
“Acadia was a leader many years ago when we went to the propane-powered Island Explorer bus system. Now we have the opportunity to continue to lead in this realm.”
Keith Johnston, Acadia’ chief of facilities and maintenance, said the Greening Acadia initiative will enable the park to take advantage of “fabulous opportunities” to reduce its carbon footprint.
“There are opportunities to install solar panels on park buildings, starting with the Acadia Gateway Center and the new maintenance building [at park headquarters],” he said.
“We are looking forward to converting National Park Service vehicles from gas to electric; we have hundreds of vehicles in our fleet that could easily be switched over.”
Johnston said the park also wants to install more electric vehicle parking stations for both park staff and visitors.
“We are looking forward to converting smaller gas-powered equipment such as lawnmowers, chainsaws and weed whips to electric sources of power,” he said.
“And exploring the feasibility of introducing electric buses to the Island Explorer bus service is a super exciting opportunity.”
Startup money for the Greening Acadia fund will be raised during the “paddle raise” portion of the FOA auction. That is when participants raise their bidding paddles to indicate their pledge to give a certain amount.