ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine — U.S. Sen. Angus King and U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin are combining their efforts to address boundary issues that have cropped up in the past year at Acadia National Park.
Last July, King introduced a bill in the Senate aimed at giving congressional approval to the addition of 1,400 acres at Schoodic Point to Acadia. Though no one has objected to the land being part of the park, the manner in which it was transferred — without direct approval by Congress — raised the ire of officials from surrounding towns who say the transfer violated the intent of federal legislation passed in 1986, which requires federal legislators to vote in support of any expansion of the park beyond a set limit.
In accepting the land from an anonymous donor, National Park Service officials said a separate federal law adopted in 1929 gave the park the authority to accept the 1,400 acres without a vote by Congress. The land in question is where the Schoodic Woods Campground is located.
Also last year, Poliquin introduced a similar bill aimed at allowing marine harvesters such as clam and worm diggers to continue working on tidal flats that lie inside the park’s boundary. The issue of harvesting worms, clams, and seaweed from the shoreline surrounding the park came to a head last year as Acadia rangers have increased their scrutiny of such activities and, at times, have told harvesters they have to ply their trade elsewhere.
On Monday, King and Poliquin announced that they would combine their efforts into one bill.
The proposed legislation also would remove restrictions on a piece of land in Tremont where the town’s K-8 school is located, which was deeded by the park to the town decades ago, and would make permanent the Acadia National Park Advisory Commission, which is comprised of residents from surrounding communities. It also would eliminate the park’s ability use the 1929 law as authority to expand beyond the boundary limit set by Congress in 1986.
In a joint statement released Monday, King and Poliquin said that during a recent Senate confirmation hearing U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of the Interior, assured King that he would work with the Maine’s congressional delegation to resolve these issues. Separate from the Senate hearing, Poliquin has had numerous conversations with Zinke about the Schoodic expansion and the park’s intertidal zones, the release indicated.