Press Release Sep 26, 2019

Bowing to Political Pressure, Acadia Allows for Some E-Bike Use on Historic Carriage Roads

"Without properly evaluating impacts, and without adequate time for the public process to help inform this decision, the park is opening itself to unnecessary visitor conflicts," NPCA's Lauren Cosgrove.

Bar Harbor, ME: Following the National Park Service’s new policy on electric bikes or e-bikes, Acadia National Park today announced it will allow for Class 1 e-bike use on historic carriage roads throughout the park.

The e-bike policy came quickly through Secretarial Order by Interior Secretary Bernhardt. The policy provides a 30-day review, calling for national parks to allow e-bike access to trails that traditional bikes can use, without any existing analysis of impacts to natural and cultural resources, visitors and other user groups, wildlife or trail conditions. This policy undermines the Park Service’s own management regulations that require analysis of new uses in parks and processes that allow for public input.

At Acadia, the 45-mile carriage road system was first imagined and financially supported by John D. Rockefeller, Jr with his vision to create a network of woodland roads and stone bridges that allow visitors to enjoy the park through non-motorized transportation. The carriage roads require extensive labor and continual financial investment to maintain and was meticulously engineered so the roads could blend in with the scenery of the park and preserve the authentic Acadia experience.

Statement by Lauren Cosgrove, Northeast Program Manager for the National Parks Conservation Association

“Without properly evaluating impacts, and without adequate time for the public process to help inform this decision, the park is opening itself to unnecessary visitor conflicts. Consistently named as one of the most visited national parks in the country, people travel from all over the world to experience Acadia National Park and especially at this time of year. Now a place where visitors go to walk, hike and ride to find solitude and to escape the sights and sounds of the modern world will be mixed with bikes that could buzz by, traveling up to 20 miles per hour.

“Monitoring and enforcing e-bike use will be extremely challenging given Acadia’s already high visitation and limited resources. This administration continues to put pressure on park managers to submit to policies that are at odds with proven management that protect park resources and the visitor experience. More research is needed to determine where and how e-bikes can be used safely and what costs these vehicles could have on the park and the more than 3.5 million people that visit Acadia each year.”

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About National Parks Conservation Association: For 100 years, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org/100.