Interior Department Secretary Deb Haaland traveled to Maine on Monday to meet with Tribal leaders, elected officials and other stakeholders.
During a visit to Acadia National Park in Maine, Haaland and state elected officials highlighted federal investments in public lands and national parks.
“One of the best investments we can make is in stewarding the lands and waters that sustain us and the generations to come,” Haaland said. “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.”
Haaland toured several sites around Acadia National Park, including Mount Desert Island, Cadillac Mountain and Frenchman Bay, that have proposed, ongoing, and completed federal projects to increase visitor access and enhance consumer experience.
- 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.
- Increased Funding For Conservation: President Joe Biden’s proposed 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.
- Improving Visitor Access To Acadia: The proposed budget includes $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.
Haaland’s two-day trip featured 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.