Acadia National Park (Maine) is set to receive an upgrade to its maintenance facilities, thanks to the $33 million contract funded by the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA).
As per the park’s press release, the park’s current maintenance buildings need a significant overhaul, with outdated structures and a lack of space creating challenges for the maintenance team. The new project will provide improved facilities, allowing park staff to serve visitors better and protect park resources.
Acadia National Park Superintendent Kevin Schneider highlighted the vital work undertaken by the park’s maintenance team in keeping the park in good condition.
“Acadia’s maintenance team works tirelessly to preserve roads and trails; conserve historic carriage roads and stone bridges; keep visitor centers clean and operational; manage construction projects; the list goes on and on. Our dedicated staff, which has persevered for many years working out of an old building that no longer meets their needs, is thrilled to see this project progress,” Schneider added.
Since its first construction in the 1960s, the park’s staff, operations, and visitation have grown considerably. Park visitation has increased by approximately 70% in the last ten years alone.
In 2021, Acadia National Park had 4.1 million visitors, who spent an estimated $486 million and supported over 6,800 jobs and $702 million in economic output in the local region.
The new maintenance operations complex will provide ample space for the park’s growing staff, with state-of-the-art shops and equipment support spaces, restrooms, offices, workspaces, and community areas.
The project will also involve demolishing over 20,000 square feet of unsafe park structures, eliminating $4.4 million of deferred maintenance and repairs.
These improvements will help the maintenance team work more efficiently, lower heating and cooling costs, decrease fuel consumption, protect equipment investments from the elements, and improve accessibility.
The project is expected to provide over 425 jobs and $92 million to the national economy, with local Brewer, Maine contractor Nickerson & O’Day, Inc. taking the lead on the construction work.
Work is set to begin this spring, with project completion expected in Fall 2024.
The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) is part of a concerted effort to address the extensive deferred maintenance and repair backlog in national parks, with funding provided by revenue from energy development. GAOA’s Legacy Restoration Fund provides the National Park Service with up to $1.3 billion per year for five years to make significant enhancements in national parks to ensure their preservation and provide opportunities for recreation, education, and enjoyment for current and future visitors.
Many park partnership programs, including volunteer programs funded partly by the Friends of Acadia, operate out of the maintenance buildings. The current facility cannot accommodate the approximately 150 employees and staff based at the site and must use portable restrooms and temporary trailers to compensate. The new maintenance operations complex will allow the park to continue providing these valuable programs and services while meeting the needs of its growing staff and visitors.
The new maintenance facilities project at Acadia National Park, funded by the Great American Outdoors Act, will provide essential upgrades to support park operations and create jobs and economic benefits while contributing to the preservation of the natural beauty and resources of this cherished national park.