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Acadia National Park Transportation Plan: Statement by David MacDonald, President and CEO of Friends of Acadia

Acadia National Park Transportation Plan
Statement by David MacDonald, President and CEO of Friends of Acadia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, April 27, 2018
CONTACT: Earl Brechlin, Communications Director, Friends of Acadia

Acadia National Park’s transportation planning has reached a critical juncture today with the release of a draft plan and the park’s “preferred alternative” for public comment over the next sixty days.

“Friends of Acadia views this planning effort as absolutely essential – any of us who have been out in the park over the last couple of summers realize that new approaches are needed to handle the traffic and congestion created by the park’s growing visitation. The status quo is no longer a viable option, and we applaud the park for tackling this complex issue.

“FOA also appreciates the fact that the park is taking a comprehensive approach – though it has meant a longer process, the importance of soliciting several rounds of community input and considering how all the pieces relate to each other will result in a better outcome.

“Acadia sees one million more visits annually than it did a decade ago, and the overcrowding and traffic jams are becoming more frequent posing real threats to public safety, visitor enjoyment, and park resources.

“The need for this effort is easy to see; the solutions will be more challenging to realize. While there is a lot of detail in this plan that we have yet to digest, FOA is encouraged by the fundamental direction of the park’s preferred alternative.

“Providing more options for visitors to pre-plan their visits, better real-time information about parking and traffic in the park, the opportunity to take advantage of expanded park-and-ride facilities, and utilize an increased Island Explorer bus service, all make good sense. The concept of reservations for the busiest parts of the park at peak times is worth exploring, as other national parks are doing. FOA looks forward to partnering with the park and surrounding communities to help pursue sensible solutions.

“We encourage continued public input to the process during this 60-day comment period. Attend one of the public forums; spend time with the written materials; provide your feedback on the park website or via mail, email or phone.

“Those of us who live in the surrounding communities will likely feel most passionately about some of the new proposals. I have already heard from some neighbors who feel that the proposals go too far; and from others who feel that they don’t go far enough – which suggests the park is trying to find a middle ground. Any implementation will be phased in over the next several years and must be flexible and adaptive to allow us to learn as we go and adjust to new technology or changing conditions.

“FOA appreciates all who have contributed to and commented on this effort thus far and who will continue to shape and fine-tune the final plan. FOA will submit its own written comment to the NPS during the sixty-day comment period after having the chance to spend more time with the details of the plan.”

David MacDonald can be contacted at 207-288-3340, david@friendsofacadia.org

A special facebook discussion page about the plan has been established by FOA at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1708262805957290/

View the complete plan at: http://go.nps.gov/AcadiaPlan

Congestion on Cadillac caption:

Congestion at the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park resulted in the road having to be temporarily closed to visitors more than 50 times in 2017.

PHOTO COURTESY OF FRIENDS OF ACADIA

Video links:

https://vimeo.com/266701985

https://vimeo.com/266693788

Free to use at will, please credit Friends of Acadia

Friends of Acadia preserves, protects, and promotes stewardship of the outstanding natural beauty, ecological vitality, and distinctive cultural resources of Acadia National Park and surrounding communities for the inspiration and enjoyment of current and future generations.

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