Acadia Gateway Center Project Updates

Expected to open in May 2025, the Acadia Gateway Center will be a regional transit hub and welcome center for park visitors.

From concept to construction! We’re thrilled to see the Acadia Gateway Center finally coming to life.

Expected to open in May 2025, the Center will serve as a location where visitors can plan their trips through Acadia, purchase park entrance passes, and board the Island Explorer.

Construction began last year on the west side of Route 3 in Trenton, in front of the existing maintenance facilities and offices for Downeast Transportation. When complete, the facilities will include an 11,000 square-foot building with regional tourism and park information, restrooms, and an Island Explorer transit hub along with a parking for 250 cars.

Read more about the background and goals for the Acadia Gateway Center.


2/21/2024: Framing is up!

The Acadia Gateway Center is shaping up – literally. Framing for the structure is now up, and passersby can get a better sense of what the Center will look like.

Construction of the Acadia Gateway Center in mid-February 2024. Photo by John Kelly/NPS

Construction of the Acadia Gateway Center in mid-February 2024. Photo by John Kelly/NPS

Construction of the Acadia Gateway Center in mid-February 2024. Photo by John Kelly/NPS

Acadia Gateway Center a Long-Time Priority

This 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. Friends of Acadia then purchased the property in 2007 and sold the easternmost 152 acres bordering Route 3 to MaineDOT for the purpose of developing the Center and mitigating associated wetland losses.

Friends of Acadia retained the remaining 217 acres in tree growth tax status and built the Trenton Community Trail with technical expertise provided by the National Park Service’s Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program. We then granted a conservation easement to Maine Coast Heritage Trust on the remaining land and donated the parcel to the Town of Trenton. MaineDOT and partners inaugurated the Island Explorer maintenance facility and Downeast Transportation offices on-site in 2012.

The design of the visitor center and transit hub went through several revisions over the years to improve efficiency, lower construction costs, and incorporate new technologies. The majority of the estimated construction costs will come from the Federal Transit Administration. The National Park Service (NPS) has contributed $4 million in Centennial Challenge funds, matched and exceeded by transportation bonds and other funds provided by MaineDOT.

Friends of Acadia has pledged $1 million from the Acadia Experience portion of funds raised as part of the Acadia Second Century campaign. We have also pledged up to $225K for solar panels on the building to reduce environmental impact, as well as the long-term operational costs.
Many Friends of Acadia members have helped make the Acadia Gateway Center possible—from those who supported the initial purchase of the land to those who helped the Island Explorer expand, as well as those who contributed to the Greening Acadia Fund at the 2021 Benefit Auction that will help with the purchase of solar panels.

It’s truly time for a collective cheer as this long-lived project to improve visitor information and access to transit services comes to fruition!