Acadia Gateway Center Construction to Start this Spring

Once complete, the center will be a hub for visitors to plan their trips and board the Island Explorer

Concept illustration courtesy Maine DOT

Via the Bangor Daily News (full story)

A long-awaited groundbreaking is just around the corner. The Acadia Gateway Center will be located on the west side of Route 3 in Trenton in front of the existing maintenance facilities and offices for Downeast Transportation, and it will serve as a location where visitors can plan their trips through Acadia, purchase park entrance passes, and board the Island Explorer.

The project has been a priority for Friends of Acadia since 2004 when the organization purchased an option on 369 acres in Trenton — the future site of the Gateway Center — while MaineDOT completed an Environmental Assessment.

The Bangor Daily News reports:

The idea of building a facility where visitors to Acadia National Park could park their vehicles, get information about the park and surrounding towns, and then ride the Island Explorer bus system to and from Mount Desert Island has been in the planning stages for at least 20 years.

Both state and federal officials have said that development of a visitor’s center in Trenton is key to mitigating the impacts of increasing seasonal congestion on MDI, where for the past two summers tourists have flocked in record numbers to Acadia and Bar Harbor.

The Route 3 site, first acquired by Friends of Acadia in 2004, has been home to the Island Explorer operations center for the past 11 years. This month the Maine Department of Transportation, which now owns the 150-acre parcel, awarded a $27 million contract to Nickerson & O’Day of Brewer to construct the visitor’s center and an adjacent parking lot with spaces for 298 vehicles plus an additional 10 spaces for buses or RV’s.

Paul Merrill, spokesman for Maine DOT, said that construction should start in the next month or so and be completed in May 2025. Most of the funding for the project is coming from the Federal Transit Administration, with smaller amounts being provided by MDOT, the National Park Service and Friends of Acadia.

Read the BDN’s full story: Construction to start this spring on long-awaited Acadia visitor’s center in Trenton

Read more about the Acadia Gateway Center in Acadia magazine: Construction Bids Solicited and Groundbreaking Planned for Spring

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