ACADIA NAT’L PARK — The first phase of a $1.2-million project to replace a 2.8-mile section of an overhead utility line in the Schoodic Peninsula section of the park is starting this week with the removal of trees and other vegetation under the line.
The utility line supplies electricity, telephone and internet service to National Park Service facilities and to the Schoodic Institute near Schoodic Point. The poles supporting the line, which is believed to have been strung in the 1930s or 1940s, have rotted and are at risk of collapsing, according to park officials.
Keith Johnston, Acadia’s chief of facilities maintenance, said last summer that replacing the utility line was the park’s second-highest infrastructure priority, behind only replacement of the dilapidated maintenance garage at park headquarters, which was built in the 1960s.
The utility line replacement project will employ “best management practices” to minimize impacts on wetlands along the work corridor, the park said in a press release.
“The majority of this work will occur in the winter months when the ground is frozen, and temporary mats will be strategically placed to protect soils from compaction,” the release said. “To protect the federally threatened Northern long-eared bat’s tree-roosting habitat, tree cutting will only occur (between) Oct. 15 and April 1.”
Acadia entrance fees will be used to fund the utility line replacement project, which is expected to be completed sometime next year. The initial phase of the project, clearing trees from the utility line corridor, is being done by park service employees. While that phase is underway, final design and construction documents will be developed.