Senators Introduce Legislation To Create Housing For Acadia National Park Employees

Bill has the support of National Park Service

Via National Parks Traveler:

A 55-acre tract of land at Acadia National Park in Maine would be transformed into space for affordable housing for seasonal workers at the park and Mount Desert Island residents under legislation introduced by U.S. Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins.

The legislation would transfer part of an undeveloped parcel of land in the Village of Town Hill from Acadia National Park to the Town of Bar Harbor for the specific development of affordable housing, while the remainder of the parcel would be used by the National Parks Service to construct staff housing to keep pace with the park’s popularity and increased visitation, according to a release from King’s office. The proposal is supported by the National Park Service, the Town of Bar Harbor, and the Island Housing Trust.

“From National Park Service rangers to hotel staff in Bar Harbor, workers on Mount Desert Island play a vital role in our state’s economy and deserve access to high-quality, affordable housing,” said King, who chairs the Senate’s National Parks Subcommittee. “As Acadia’s visitation rises and the need for staff to support tourism increases, it’s imperative the availability of affordable housing keeps pace. This bill will help meet growing housing needs and support continued economic success on MDI for years to come.”

“The dedicated staff who work at Acadia National Park and in the hospitality industry in the surrounding towns make it possible for millions of visitors to enjoy the stunning natural beauty of Mount Desert Island each year. Unfortunately, a lack of affordable housing has contributed to workforce shortages and created significant hardships for employees who need to live nearby,” added Senator Collins. “This bipartisan bill would expand the supply of much-needed workforce housing on MDI, helping to ensure that employees have an affordable place to live and strengthening the economy in the region.”

Acadia National Park currently retains an undeveloped parcel (55.3 acres) in the village of Town Hill, in Bar Harbor. The 1986 park boundary act directed the National Park Service to convey this parcel, without monetary consideration, to the town of Bar Harbor for use by any town as a solid waste transfer station. However, this transfer never occurred, and the need for a centralized transfer station has diminished in recent years. As a result, this legislation would amend the existing requirement to address more pressing current needs. The Park Service could retain up to 15 acres to address its own housing needs.

If passed, this legislation would direct the NPS to work with the towns and other stakeholders on MDI to develop a plan to use the Town Hill parcel for affordable year-round and seasonal employee housing.


King’s Acadia Affordable Housing Bill Gets Support from National Parks Service (