GOULDSBORO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – The National Park Service held an open house to propose concepts of its Transportation Plan for Acadia National Park Tuesday night.
This after the park saw a record number of visitors this year -- up 17 percent.
"This is the first year we're ever going to go over three million visitors in a year in Acadia and we're probably going to have about 3.2 million visitors this year,” Park Superintendent Kevin Schneider said.
With the continued influx of traffic overwhelming some parts of the region, the National Park Service is moving ahead to improve how people experience Acadia.
"Really this plan wants to ensure that our visitors continue to have really high quality experiences,” Schneider said.
The proposed plans seek to redefine a number of park guidelines including changes to vehicle access, the introduction of parking reservations and a possible increase in public transportation options.
The Park Service said the concepts were crafted after first receiving public comment back in the summer of 2015.
"A thing like Acadia you talk to ten different people and you're probably going to get 15 different ideas about how we might manage Acadia into the future but that's really what tonight is all about is getting the public's feedback," Schneider said.
Still in the preliminary stages, not all locals are on board with some of the proposed options on the table.
"People are used to a certain way of doing things like driving out to the point in their cars,” Bob Schmidt said. "So they have basically not many answers and I don't know if they're a bunch of ‘Humpty Dumpties’ that are going to define what a season and a threshold is whenever they feel like it."
Certain parts of the plan would specify peak and off peak seasonal times, something Schmidt claims has yet to be made clear.
Despite some aversion to change, others are understanding in an area that is so dependent on tourism.
"There are possibly new measures and new restrictions put in place and people are going to be skeptical. I think it's a natural thing to happen, but I think we have to recognize here in this region in MDI and Schoodic that times are changing," Gouldsboro's town manager, Bryan Kaenrath said.
The Park Service is set to hold another open house on the proposed plan Thursday night at the Mount Desert Island High School at 6:30.
You can find more information on the plan and provide your own feedback on the National Park Service's website.
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