Poliquin: Proposed Acadia fee hikes “unfair;” Collins, King express “serious concern”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A National Park Service (NPS) proposal to greatly increase peak-season entrance fees at Acadia and 16 other parks is “unfair,” Maine 2nd District Congressman Bruce Poliquin said in a prepared statement Wednesday.

Maine’s U.S. Senators, Susan Collins and Angus King, expressed “serious concern” in a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke on Thursday, saying the fee hikes could have the unintended consequence of “a decrease in attendance at our national parks.”

The senators urged Zinke to work with Congress to explore other options for adequately funding the parks “to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy them.”

The NPS announced on Tuesday that it might increase entrance fees at some of the most-visited parks during their five busiest months. At Acadia, an entrance pass that is good for up to seven days would go from $25 to $70 for private, non-commercial vehicles, from $20 to $50 for motorcycles and from $12 to $30 for people walking or biking in the park.

The NPS said the fee hikes would fund “badly needed improvements to the aging infrastructure of the national parks.”

Poliquin called the proposed increases “drastic” and said he planned to discuss the issue with the NPS in hopes of finding a solution “that will not disrupt the attraction to Acadia that the region relies on.”

Collins and King said in their letter to Zinke that they know the backlog of maintenance projects in the parks – more than $71 million worth in Acadia alone – is a serious problem.

“While we recognize that this [fee increase] proposal would bring additional revenue to the park, we are not certain that this would either solve the problem or outweigh the risk to the local community of making the park more difficult to visit.”

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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