UPDATE: The NPS Regional Director approved the total $6 fee for each vehicle, and vehicle reservations went on sale beginning Thursday, April 1. Vehicle reservations are required for Cadillac Summit Road from May 26 through Oct. 19.
Acadia National Park leaders are defending a proposed $6 fee for each car on Cadillac Mountain, saying all the money raised would go back into operating a new system for vehicle reservations to improve parking on the peak.
Traffic jams like this one on Cadillac Mountain are a major reason that Acadia National Park is starting a vehicle reservation system. (NPS photo)
In January, the National Park Service announced that it wants to charge $6 for each vehicle to go up and park on Cadillac, the highest peak on the US Atlantic coast. The proposed fee is three times the $2 charge in a trial run of the reservation system in October and comes as the park superintendent said he expects annual visits to increase this year to at or near regular levels after dropping by 22 percent during the pandemic in 2020.
At an online meeting of the Acadia National Park Advisory Commission, Acadia officials aired the fee and also discussed plans for dramatic new expansions and improvements including the Acadia Gateway Center set to open in 2024, a new Hulls Cove Visitor Center, a reconstruction or renovation of the Jordan Pond House and 21 new buses for the Island Explorer shuttle over the next five years.
The Acadia National Park Advisory Commission is planning to resume meetings, following a sudden suspension of their meetings by the Trump administration in May.
Jacqueline Johnston, chair of the Acadia advisory commission
Ryan Zinke, the secretary of interior, had suspended the meetings of the Acadia commission and more than 200 other federal advisory committees to give his department time to review the “charter and charge” of the panels.
In a press release Thursday, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine announced that the Acadia National Park Advisory Commission will be able to resume its meetings after September 1st and can now begin communicating accordingly.
Jacqueline Johnston of Gouldsboro, chair of the Acadia advisory commission, said she was relieved by the end of the suspension. The all-volunteer commission is planning to meet next on Sept. 11 at the Schoodic section of the park, after being required to cancel a June meeting, which was scheduled to deal with important issues such as a transportation plan for the park.
Johnston said she was happy for the support of Collins and King, who had written a letter to Zinke urging him to reconsider his decision to suspend the Acadia Commission.
“It was clear they were very active in supporting the commission and voicing their concerns and they are certainly two very influential senators,” Johnston said in an interview on Friday. Continue reading →