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Acadia National Park considering higher entrance fees for next year

Ranger Susan Darrell welcomes a visitor to Acadia National Park, Saturday, June 11, 2022, near Bar Harbor, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty
Ranger Susan Darrell welcomes a visitor to Acadia National Park, Saturday, June 11, 2022, near Bar Harbor, Maine.

The cost of visiting Acadia National Park could go up next year.

The park is proposing a $5 increase in the weeklong entrance fee for private vehicles, from $30 to $35. Annual passes would increase from $55 to $70.

Individuals would pay $20 instead of $15 for a weeklong pass, while the entrance for motorcyclists would increase from $25 to $30.

Park Superintendent Kevin Schneider said the higher fees would mostly cover an expansion of the Island Explorer bus system.

"We're looking at trying to run the Island Explorer later in the season. Ultimately, we'd love to run it earlier in the season," he said. "We're looking at providing service from the Acadia Gateway Center from Trenton once that gets constructed in a couple of years."

The park is also considering a transition from propane-powered buses to fully electric, Schneider added.

Beyond the Islander Explorer bus expansion, entrance fees also fund improvements to hiking trails and other park facilities. Acadia National Park retains 80% of the entrance fees, and the remaining 20% is distributed to other national parks.

Schneider said the proposed fees would put Acadia in the highest tier with other popular parks around the country. The park last raised entrance fees back in 2018.

"This fee increase would make our fees comparable to those at the other iconic national parks in the United States, such as the Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon or Grand Teton National Park," he said.

Visitation to Acadia has gone up by 70% over the last decade, and this year is expected to be either the busiest or second-busiest year in park history, Schneider said.

The park is taking comments from the public about the proposed fee increases through Dec. 29. The proposal would not affect the $6 vehicle reservation fee for Cadillac Summit Road, which visitors must pay to drive to the top of the mountain from May through October at an additional cost.

Any changes to the park's entrance fees would go into effect next year and will be required year-round.