Acadia National Park awards approximately $33 million contract for new maintenance facilities

Great American Outdoors Act funding will provide long awaited improvements to support park operations.

Design drawing of maintenance facility. Courtesy NPS

BAR HARBOR, MAINE – The National Park Service awarded an approximately $33 million contract for demolition of outdated structures and construction of new maintenance facilities at Acadia National Park headquarters. Funded by the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), the project will provide park staff with enhanced facilities to better serve visitors and protect park resources.

“It is impossible to overstate the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to operate a national park,” said Acadia National Park Superintendent Kevin Schneider. “Acadia’s maintenance team works tirelessly to preserve roads and trails; conserve historic carriage roads and stone bridges; keep visitor centers clean and operational; manage construction projects; the list goes on and on. Our dedicated staff, which has persevered for many years working out of an old building that no longer meets their needs, is thrilled to see this project progress.”

The current maintenance buildings are structurally unsound, undersized, and inadequate for the workload. The park’s staff, operations, and visitation have grown considerably since the existing maintenance facility was first constructed in the 1960s. In just the last 10 years, park visitation has grown by approximately 70%. In 2021, Acadia National Park had 4.1 million visitors who spent an estimated $486 million and supported over 6,800 jobs and $702 million in economic output in the local region.

Many park partnership programs also operate out of the maintenance buildings, including volunteer programs funded in part by the Friends of Acadia which help maintain trails and historic carriage roads. The current facility cannot accommodate the approximately 150 employees and staff based at the site and must use portable restrooms and temporary trailers to compensate.

The project will fund construction of a new maintenance operations complex and demolish more than 20,000 square feet of unsafe park structures. The new maintenance shops and equipment support spaces, restrooms, offices, workspaces, and community areas will improve workplace efficiencies, lower heating and cooling costs, decrease fuel consumption, protect equipment investments from the elements, and improve accessibility. The project will eliminate $4.4 million of deferred maintenance and repairs.

“This is an exciting and vitally important milestone for Acadia National Park, and a shining example of precisely what The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) funding was designed to do,” said Friends of Acadia President and CEO Eric Stiles. “Years of limited funding have degraded the ability of the National Park Service to address park infrastructure needs. Friends of Acadia is grateful to Congress for both recognizing the need and acting with a historic investment in the protection and sustainment of our national parks and recreation areas through passage of GAOA in 2020.”

“Thank you to U.S. Senators Collins and King for their leadership and support of this funding which will make significant improvements to park infrastructure. It will be important to continue this funding stream to make sure that Acadia and other national parks are maintained for future generations to enjoy,” said Stiles. “While infrastructure projects like these may not excite park visitors, they are critical to ensuring that both visitors and staff are safe and have an enjoyable experience.”

This GAOA investment will contribute more than 425 jobs and $92 million to the nation’s economy. Local Bangor, Maine contractor Nickerson & O’Day, Inc. is expected to start work this spring, with project completion expected in Fall 2024.

Infrastructure funding from GAOA and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are part of a concerted effort to address the extensive deferred maintenance and repair backlog in national parks. Supported by revenue from energy development, GAOA’s Legacy Restoration Fund provides the National Park Service with up to $1.3 billion per year for five years to make significant enhancements in national parks to ensure their preservation and provide opportunities for recreation, education, and enjoyment for current and future visitors. 

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