|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||February 1, 2002|
|Contact:||Andrea Keller, Americans for National Parks, 202-454-3332
Senator Olympia J. Snowe, Bangor Office, 207-945-0432
Senator Susan M. Collins, Bangor Office, 207-945-0417
Rep. John E. Baldacci, Bangor Office, 207-942-6935
Rep. Thomas H. Allen, Port
Acadia Completes First-Ever Business Plan
"Acadia National Park is one of Maine's most precious resources and it must be preserved to ensure that it may be enjoyed for generations to come," said U.S. Senator Susan M. Collins (R-Maine). "I am grateful to the National Parks Conservation Association and to Friends of Acadia for helping to develop this important business plan, which gives Congress a clearer sense of Acadia's true funding needs."
"Maine and the nation have a gem in Acadia National Park—but as this report details, the park is at risk of being 'loved to death' with so many visitors. This business plan lays out the goals toward which we must strive, and will provide the type of concrete evidence and information Senator Collins and I need as we encourage appropriators to provide additional funding in the future," said U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine).
The Acadia business plan is part of a four-year-old nationwide partnership between the National Park Service and the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). Friends of Acadia helped fund the program at Acadia National Park, supporting the work of two M.B.A. graduate students who helped the park set priorities for funding, improving, and preserving park resources. "We looked at what it takes to operate Acadia National Park," said Acadia National Park Superintendent Paul Haertel, "and identified needs and set priorities for the money that is available."
To date, the partnership program, called the Business Plan Initiative (BPI), has analyzed 40 national park units across the country, discovering that chronic funding shortfalls are crippling the parks' ability to preserve resources. On average, the parks are operating at a 32-percent shortfall. Acadia is approximately 53 percent under funded. Lack of funds impedes the Park Service's ability to protect resources and provide a high-quality experience for visitors. For example, more than one million items wait to be catalogued, education programs have been cut, and scientific knowledge about the park's native plants and wildlife is limited.
"Acadia National Park is among the most popular natural destinations in the country," said Representative John E. Baldacci (D-2-Maine). "Investments at Acadia help to maintain the region's natural resources, to safeguard the environment, to improve the economy, and to enhance the quality of life for Maine residents and visitors alike."
"Full funding will require another $7.3 million annually," said Representative Thomas H. Allen (D-1-Maine). "That is a small price to pay for the protection of this national treasure. You can be assured that I will continue to work to convince my colleagues in Congress that this money would be very well spent."
NPCA, Friends of Acadia, several Bar Harbor businesses, and more than 60 other local, regional, and national nonprofit organizations, are members of the growing coalition of Americans for National Parks. "We are working to encourage Congress and the administration to address the full needs of the National Park System," said Americans for National Parks Campaign Director Jennifer Coken.
The Bush administration has pledged $4.9 billion for the national parks over the next five years. Americans for National Parks wants the majority of this new funding allocated toward resource protection and visitor education, including at least a $600-million increase over the next five years for annual operating needs.
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Americans for National Parks
Americans for National Parks is a growing coalition of nonprofit organizations, businesses, trade associations, individuals, and other nonpartisan supporters of the national parks, working to encourage Congress and the administration to address the full needs of the National Park System. Campaign information is available at www.americansfornationalparks.org.
Friends of Acadia
Founded in 1986, Friends of Acadia provides independent philanthropic support for Acadia National Park, defends the park against threats, and represents users in the betterment of its operations. Visit Friends at www.friendsofacadia.org.
National Parks Conservation Association
Founded in 1919, the National Parks Conservation Association is America's only private, nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated solely to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the National Park System. NPCA has more than 425,000 members. A library of national park information, including fact sheets, congressional testimony, position statements, and press releases, can be found on NPCA's Web site at www.eparks.org/media_center.