Park fees headed up



FILE PHOTO

FILE PHOTO

ACADIA NAT’L PARK — A 25-percent hike in entrance and camping fees is proposed for 2015. If approved, the new fees will represent Acadia’s first price hike in a decade.

A public meeting to discuss the proposed fee increases is set for Wednesday, Nov. 12, beginning at 6 p.m. The meeting will take place on the second floor of the municipal building.

“We invite the public to share their thoughts and comments at the public meeting or to send their comments to us if they can’t attend,” Acadia National Park Superintendent Sheridan Steele said in a prepared statement. Comments may be submitted by email, by Dec. 8, to [email protected]

The National Park Service (NPS) has updated the standard entrance fee rate schedule in an effort to standardize entrance fees, according to Acadia National Park (ANP) officials.

Under the proposed rate schedule, the cost of an annual pass would rise from $40 to $50, while the cost of a 7-day vehicle pass would rise from $20 to $25.

The park will be selling annual passes for half price during the Pajama Sale in Bar Harbor on Saturday as well as throughout the month of December.

“The proposed increases in park entrance fees will allow park managers to invest in the improvements necessary to provide the best possible park experience for its visitors,” a Nov. 4 ANP press release states. “Additional revenue will also enable the park staff to enhance visitor services in preparation for Acadia’s centennial celebration in 2016.”

Camping fees also are set to change. With the new Schoodic Woods Campground in the Schoodic Peninsula section of the park set to open in 2015, Acadia officials completed a comparison study of facilities, services and rate structures with similar private and public campgrounds in the area. Based on the prices in those campgrounds, ANP is proposing raising campground rates across the board.

Under the proposal, the cost of a walk-in tent site would rise from $14 to $22, a tent/small RV site would rise from $20 to $30, and the group camping rate would rise from $50 to $60.

“We certainly want to keep recreational use of the park affordable, but we also have an obligation to keep our prices in line with surrounding campgrounds,” Steele said. “80 percent of the money collected from entrance and camping fees stays right here in Acadia to improve facilities, infrastructure and visitor services.”

ANP receives more than 2.43 million visitors per year, bringing in over $200 million to the local economy, according to the NPS. The spending supported as estimated 3,089 tourism-related jobs in the area, NPS studies state.

Robert Levin

Robert Levin

Former reporter Robert Levin covered the people, businesses, governmental and nonprofit agencies of Bar Harbor. [email protected]
Robert Levin

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