ACADIA NAT’L PARK — The National Park Service has canceled its request for proposals to operate Wildwood Stables and offer horse-drawn carriage rides in Acadia for the next 10 years.
The contract currently held by Carriages of Acadia LLC, which was set to expire this year, has been extended for one year.
The National Park Service said in a press release that the 1998 Concessions Management Act allows the NPS to “cancel a solicitation if such action is decided to be in the public interest by the director.”
“This cancellation will allow the NPS to conduct further planning and analysis following a broad market disruption by COVID-19 and operational changes to the business related to the pandemic,” the NPS statement said.
“Any solicitation for proposals for a new business opportunity will be announced at a future date.”
Jan. 7, 2020, was the deadline for prospective Wildwood Stables operators to submit a proposal. Christie Anastasia, Acadia’s public affairs specialist, said the park had received proposals prior to that deadline, but “the names and numbers of specific applicants is protected for business confidentiality.”
Carriages of Acadia is owned by former Maine attorney general and state senator Michael Carpenter of Houlton. His daughter, Emily, manages the Wildwood Stables operation.
“We sincerely appreciate the willingness of Carriages of Acadia to continue to provide uninterrupted services at Wildwood Stables so that visitors can enjoy horse-drawn carriage tours,” said Acadia Superintendent Kevin Schneider. “With the disruption to the travel and tourism industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this will allow the market to stabilize before a new contract is awarded.”