The National Park Service is reducing the number of admission-free days at its properties, including at Maine’s Acadia National Park, to help cut its $11.93 billion deferred maintenance deficit, officials said Tuesday (Jan. 2).
According to WGME, this year, the park service will reduce to four the number of days that visitors can gain free access to 118 of the service’s 417 units, including Mount Desert Island’s Acadia National Park. That’s down from 10 free days last year and 16 in 2016, the year the system celebrated its 100th birthday, spokeswoman Kathy Kupper said.
The plan follows a federal proposal to create peak-season entrance fees at 17 national parks, including Acadia, also to reduce the deficit. That plan has drawn opposition from the Friends of Acadia National Park and the town of Bar Harbor, and the city of Ellsworth.
Maintenance is needed for “projects like infrastructure or things that directly benefit the visitor — overlooks, campgrounds, roads, bridges — all the way down to the programs that are done for the visitors,” Kupper told CNN.com.
The four free days are Jan.15, Martin Luther King Day; April 21, the first day of National Park Week; Sept. 22, National Public Lands Day; and Nov. 11, Veterans Day, Kupper said.
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