ACADIA NATIONAL PARK — The park is looking to expand its rent-a-ranger program.
It wants to give more tourist-oriented businesses the opportunity to offer ranger-led and ranger-narrated “outdoor adventures” in and around Acadia.
The National Park Service (NPS) is soliciting proposals to provide “safe, high-quality interpretive experiences for visitors.” Proposals will be accepted through Feb. 1.
“We are hoping that area boat operators, kayak companies, bike shops, youth camps, bus tours and other businesses that serve visitors to Acadia National Park will apply for ranger-led services,” said Lynne Dominy, the park’s chief of interpretation.
This past season, park rangers provided narration for some of Eddie Monat’s Dive-In Theater excursions, Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company’s Baker Island cruises, Downeast Windjammer Cruises’ Frenchman Bay cruises and Allen Associates’ Islesford historic and scenic cruises.
Businesses pay $55 an hour for ranger services, including the time the ranger spends traveling to and from the starting point. All of the money goes to the park to help pay rangers’ salaries.
With rare exceptions, ranger programs offered by the park itself are free.
“We get lots of requests throughout the year from private entities that want to have a park ranger as part of the services they are offering visitors,” said Christie Anastasia, Acadia’s deputy chief of interpretation.
She said the park’s contract with private businesses for ranger services is typically for five years.
All proposals for offering ranger-narrated programs will be evaluated by the NPS “to ensure that prospective businesses have the experience, equipment, business infrastructure and demonstrated intent to provide the proposed services,” the NPS said in a statement announcing the request for proposals. “The proposals considered to best meet the criteria will be selected.”