July 19, 2018
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Ellsworth wants the feds to plug Acadia’s $71M maintenance hole

Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN
Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN
Patches of snow cling to the eastern slope of Dorr Mountain in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, April 9, 2017.
By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

Ellsworth officials want the federal government to address Acadia National Park’s biggest deficit.

The City Council approved a resolve this week that asks Congress to find a sustainable income and reasonable payment mechanism for the National Park System’s $11.33 billion maintenance backlog.

The backlog drew national attention when Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke proposed creating a new set of visitor-pass fees at 17 national parks, including Acadia, to address the backlog. The new fee structure would raise national park revenue by $70 million annually, he has said.

The steepest would increase Acadia’s weekly vehicle pass from $25 to $70 between June 1 and Oct. 31.

Acadia’s maintenance backlog totals $71 million.

Ellsworth joins Bar Harbor in issuing a resolve, though Ellsworth’s does not oppose Zinke’s proposal, as Bar Harbor’s does. Ellsworth’s council cut that portion of the resolve after one member said he felt he didn’t know enough about Zinke’s plan to oppose it.

Ellsworth is well-placed to weigh in on the issue, Friends of Acadia Conservation Director Stephanie Clement told the council. The city is Hancock County’s economic hub and primary source of service providers for tourism businesses in the Mount Desert Island area, she said.

“It’s all about trying to find multiple solutions to address the deferred maintenance backlog. Funding for maintenance projects just hasn’t kept up with the need,” Clement said.

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