BAR HARBOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - On Tuesday the U.S. Department of the Interior announced a proposal to increase entry fees to seventeen of the nation's national parks, including Acadia National Park.
The United States Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, said the increased revenue from the prices will provide more funding for park renovations and restoration.
At Acadia, the proposed plan would charge $70 for a private, non-commercial vehicle, which is up from the current $30 fee. The new plan also includes fees of $50 for a motorcycle, and $30 for an individual person with a bike or by foot for a seven day period. The price increase would take place in 2018 during the park's peak season.
Some businesses in Bar Harbor are nervous what the park's price increase could do to local tourist traffic - where many of the area's visitors come to see Acadia.
"It brings us tourists from all over the world," said Carole Tunison, who has worked at One Off Pub in Bar Harbor for four years. "Everybody that comes in here is on vacation. Not everybody has money. They are always looking for deals and prices."
Friends of Acadia is an organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of Acadia National Park. President and CEO David MacDonald says that the increased revenue that will help the park will have a positive impact on the surrounding areas, but he is nervous about how much the increase is.
"I think people realize this is important that the park needs the funding in the park will provide more benefit to surrounding communities and businesses if it is in good shape," said MacDonald. "If it is well taken care of if it is maintained . So again fundamentally we support entry fees. We are just worried this proposal is a little steep and a little dramatic."
From Tuesday until November 23rd the National Park Service will be holding a public comment period on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website where people can share thoughts and concerns on the new proposal.
"I really hope people will take the opportunity of the public comment period to weigh in," said MacDonald. "I think there has been a lot of good work here locally over the last several years just to raise people's awareness of the importance of park pass sales and entry fees."
For other residents in Bar Harbor like Carole Tunison, they hope the town will be vocal in the impact raising fees could have on the local economy.
"This will impact a lot of businesses," said Tunison. "$70 might not mean a lot to some people but to people on a fixed income it means a lot."