Date: Friday, June 18, 2021
Contact: [email protected]
WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland traveled to Maine this week to meet with Tribal leaders, elected officials, and other stakeholders. The Secretary’s two-day trip included several gatherings and events with Tribal leaders from the Wabanaki Nations, which focused on strengthening Tribal sovereignty to ensure that Tribal leaders can protect and promote the health and welfare of their people, natural and cultural resources, and their reservations.
During a visit to Acadia National Park in Maine today, Secretary Haaland and Maine elected officials highlighted the Biden-Harris administration’s significant investments in public lands and national parks, which will create and support local jobs, help modernize parks and park infrastructure, and invest in conservation efforts.
“One of the best investments we can make is in stewarding the lands and waters that sustain us and the generations to come. The Interior Department is making critical investments around the country that will create tens of thousands of jobs, safeguard the environment, and help ensure that national parks and public lands are ready to meet the challenges of climate change and increased visitation,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “Acadia National Park is a huge driver of Maine’s economy, and we are committed to making much-needed investments to conserve, protect, and support these special places while economically empowering local businesses and communities.”
Secretary Haaland toured several sites around Acadia National Park that have proposed, ongoing, and completed federal projects to increase visitor access and enhance the Park experience, including at Mount Desert Island, Cadillac Mountain, and Frenchman Bay.
The Secretary highlighted several of these investments during her visit, including:
- Rehabilitation of Schoodic Point Water and Wastewater Systems: With $7.6 million in funding from the Great American Outdoors Act’s National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund in Fiscal Year 2022, this project will rehabilitate the potable water and the wastewater systems in Acadia’s Schoodic District, which were constructed circa 1970s, modified at various times in the years following, and are aged beyond their useful lives. Over 250,000 visitors use facilities in this remote site each year. Improved water and wastewater treatment systems will decrease the likelihood of environmental contamination and compromised health and safety of visitors and employees. This project will also help address over $5 million in deferred maintenance for the Park.
- Increased Funding For Conservation: President Biden’s proposed FY 2022 Budget includes a $1.3 million funding increase for natural resources stewardship and conservation at Acadia National Park, including support for the Schoodic Education and Research Center which helps facilitate interdisciplinary research that enhances the understanding of the natural and cultural resources of the National Park System and related research at the regional, national, and international levels. This investment will fund additional staff at the park and Center focused on natural resource management.
- Improving Visitor Access To Acadia: The FY 2022 Budget proposes $200,000 from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for Acadia National Park, which will go towards acquiring land to be used as a public transportation hub and for parking to provide access to the only lighthouse on Mount Desert Island in Acadia National Park.
In 2020, 2.7 million park visitors spent an estimated $307 million in local gateway regions while visiting national parks in Maine. These expenditures supported more than 4,500 jobs, $149 million in labor income, $267 million in value added, and $453.6 million in economic output in the Maine economy.
The National Park Service is also building out visitor services to welcome visitors to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in north central Maine, a new unit that is already contributing to the local economy. The FY 2022 budget request proposes an additional $675,000 to expand visitor services and resource management, including support for the new visitor center expected to open in 2021.
For more information on the Department of the Interior’s proposed budget, please visit our FY22 Budget webpage.