WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Acadia National Park is delaying about $60 million worth of maintenance projects.
The park's superintendent, Kevin Schneider, said, “Increasing visitation absolutely increases demand on our facilities.”
Schneider said a record 3.5 million people visited Acadia National Park in 2017, and that attendance is up by 58% over the last decade.
Acadia, like many of the National Park System's parks, are being forced to delay maintenance because of a lack of money. The system as a whole has an $11.6 billion maintenance backlog, according to Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Schneider said the maintenance facility at Acadia National Park is in serious need of repair, “Essentially concrete blocks that have dissolved that were built in the 50’s and they are about to fall down. Any big wind storm, and that building could be knocked down.”
Wednesday, Zinke joined several Republican senators to support a bill which would use revenue from energy generated on federal lands to help erase the maintenance backlog.
The bipartisan bill's lead sponsor, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), said, “This is the best idea to improve the national parks that I’ve heard of.”
This bill was just introduced Wednesday morning, and it’s still too early to tell what kind of opposition it could face in Congress.