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The cost of visiting Maine’s Acadia National Park would more than double during peak visiting months under a proposal from the U.S. Interior Department.
Vehicle fees will go from $30 to $70. Motorcycle visitors would see an increase to $50 and those on foot would see admission rise from $15 to $30 per person.
Acadia is one of 17 National Parks targeted for fee increases. Its peak season would begin on June 1.
Acadia saw a record 3.3 million visitors in 2016, making it one of the most-visited National Parks, and crowds at some of its most-popular locations can be challenging for visitors and for park officials seeking to prevent damage.
However, overcrowding was not the principal reason cited for the Interior Department’s proposal.
“The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Targeted fee increases at some of our most-visited parks will help ensure that they are protected and preserved in perpetuity and that visitors enjoy a world-class experience that mirrors the amazing destinations they are visiting.”
Environmental groups, such as the Sierra Club, are opposing the fee increase.
“They’re hoping to jack up entry fees at some of the most iconic parks by such enormous percentages that those places will no doubt become less accessible to many,” the Sierra Club wrote in its magazine. “If you really want to improve visitor experience, you don’t ratchet up prices to keep people away; instead, you build new and better infrastructure, with more buses in and out of parks being the obvious solution.”
Other critics have charged that the $70 fee per car would make visiting Acadia comparable to a trip to Disney . However, admission to Disney World is $122 per person.
Acadia officials said they are working, with public input, on a long-term transportation management plan to help reduce crowding at some locales during peak summer season. The public is invited to comment on the proposed fee hike until November 23.
January 3, 2018
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