BAR HARBOR – Friends of Acadia President David MacDonald was in Washington, D.C. last week to speak with Maine’s congressional delegation about the outlook for funding of Acadia and other national parks under the federal spending plan then up for vote on Capitol Hill.
“We are encouraged,” says MacDonald. “It looks very hopeful that Acadia’s operational budget will be restored close to pre-sequester levels, although we won’t know for sure until the National Park Service figures are finalized.”
He said that Acadia has strong backing from the entire Maine delegation, and praised Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, as well as House Representatives Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud for their efforts during budget deliberations this winter. Congresswoman Pingree serves on the House Appropriations Committee, and is also active on its Subcommittee for Interior and the Environment, while Senator Collins serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The 2014 spending plan was approved by the House and Senate last week, and President Obama has pledged to sign it.
Since even before sequestration cuts took effect last spring, causing a 1-month delay in the opening of Acadia’s Park Look Road as well as reductions in seasonal staffing, Friends of Acadia advocacy staff and volunteers have been emphasizing to lawmakers the need for federal support of the parks. In July 2013, MacDonald testified before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on the critical need for adequate federal funding for national parks and about the many positive impacts the parks offer the US economy and the American people.
MacDonald thanked the many Friends of Acadia members and dozens of local businesses that helped with calls, letters, emails and petitions to Congress, particularly during the government shutdown in October. “The shutdown crystallized in many people’s minds how important parks like Acadia are, and how broken the federal budget process has been,” he noted. MacDonald credited other Acadia-area organizations such as the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce for speaking to the economic importance of Acadia to local communities as part of the joint outreach to the press and elected officials.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, January 23, 2014
CONTACT: David MacDonald, President & CEO – firstname.lastname@example.org