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Notice of Availability of the Draft Transportation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for Acadia National Park, Maine

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Notice of Availability of the Draft Transportation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for Acadia National Park, Maine

Deborah L. Conway
Department of the Interior
30 April 2018


[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 83 (Monday, April 30, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 18862-18863]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-08998]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

[NPS-NERO-ACAD-DTS-24916; PX.PD210624B.00.4]


Notice of Availability of the Draft Transportation Plan and 
Environmental Impact Statement for Acadia National Park, Maine

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The National Park Service (NPS) announces the availability of 
the Draft Transportation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (Draft 
Plan/EIS) for Acadia National Park. The purpose of the Transportation 
Plan is to determine how best to provide safe and efficient 
transportation and a variety of high quality experiences to visitors 
within Acadia National Park while ensuring the protection of park 
resources and values. The Draft Plan/EIS describes four alternatives 
for consideration, including a no-action alternative.

DATES: Comments will be accepted for a period of 60 days following 
publication of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Notice of 
Availability of the Draft Plan/EIS in the Federal Register. After the 
EPA Notice of Availability is published, the NPS will schedule public 
meetings to be held during the comment period. The comment period and 
dates, times, and locations of these public meetings will be announced 
through social media and local media outlets, and on the NPS Planning, 
Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/ACADTransportationPlan, and Acadia National Park's 
website at https://www.nps.gov/acad/index.htm.

ADDRESSES: The Draft Plan/EIS will be available electronically on the 
NPS PEPC website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/ACADTransportationPlan. 
Comments may be submitted electronically through the PEPC website at 
http://parkplanning.nps.gov/ACADTransportationPlan. Comments will also 
be accepted in hardcopy by mail to: Acadia National Park, Attn: 
Transportation Plan, P.O. Box 177, Bar Harbor, ME 04609.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Kelly, Management Assistant, 
Acadia National Park, P.O. Box 177, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, (207) 288-
8703, John_T_Kelly@nps.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The National Park Service (NPS) is preparing 
a transportation plan for Acadia National Park to determine ways to 
provide safe and efficient transportation for visitors while ensuring 
the protection of park resources and values. Transportation issues at 
Acadia National Park are diverse and complex. Visitors travel to and 
within the park by private vehicle, tour bus, bicycle, ferry, Island 
Explorer bus, and other modes. In 2016, park visitation reached a 
record 3.3 million visitors, which is an increase of 58 percent from 
2006.
    High volumes of visitors accessing popular visitor destinations 
during peak times is causing gridlock, visitor conflicts, crowding, 
emergency response delays, and resource trampling. Concentrated volumes 
and mixture of traffic, particularly on the Park Loop Road and Cadillac 
Mountain Road, create critical visitor safety issues, severe crowding 
and congestion, impacts on the road systems, and challenges to the 
park's operational efficiency and sustainability. Further, the 
interdependent relationship between Acadia National Park and diverse 
gateway communities increases the complexity of managing visitor use 
and access, especially given the importance of the park to the local 
economy. The transportation plan will determine ways to improve safety, 
reduce congestion and crowding, avoid impacts to park resources, and 
provide visitors with a high-quality experience through a variety of 
mechanisms such as visitor management strategies, enhancements to 
alternative transportation services, restrictions on vehicle size, and 
expanded access to parking.
    The Draft Plan/EIS evaluates four alternatives:
    Alternative A: No Action--reflects current transportation 
management direction and serves as a baseline for comparison with the 
other alternatives. Current management (as outlined in the park's 1992 
General Management Plan) would continue with no major changes

[[Page 18863]]

from current operations, and changes that did occur would be on an as-
needed basis. Management of park visitors would continue to vary 
seasonally as visitor demand and needs change with many management 
strategies focusing on the peak season between mid-May and mid-October. 
Parking would remain available to all users on a first-come, first-
served basis and right lane parking on the Park Loop Road would 
continue to occur. Temporary or permanent closures of roads and parking 
areas may occur if necessary to address safety and security concerns or 
to ensure the financial sustainability of the overall transportation 
system.
    Alternative B--would establish a reservation system for parking at 
five of the primary attractions and trailheads along Park Loop Road 
during peak times and seasons, and eliminate right lane parking to 
improve traffic flows. Gates and queuing lanes would be constructed 
where needed to validate reservations and to control access on some 
first-come, first-served lots.
    Alternative C: Proposed action and preferred alternative--would 
address transportation and congestion issues by establishing a 
reservation system for the Ocean Drive corridor, Cadillac Mountain 
Road, and the Jordan Pond North Lot during peak use season 
(approximately mid-May to mid-October). During initial implementation 
of this alternative, all other parking lots in the park would continue 
to be managed on a first-come, first-served basis; but the alternative 
includes an adaptive management strategy that directs park managers to 
monitor traffic and resource conditions elsewhere in the park. If 
monitoring indicates traffic or resource conditions worsening beyond 
established thresholds, access to Island Explorer routes entering the 
park, vehicle access to other parking lots, or vehicle access to the 
entire Park Loop Road may be added to the reservation systems. Expanded 
opportunities for parking and associated visitor access to the park 
(without private vehicles) would be provided via expanded public 
transit service and improvements at Hulls Cove and the Acadia Gateway 
Center.
    Alternative D--would establish a systemwide approach to manage 
volume of vehicles on Park Loop Road during the peak use season. Gates 
and additional entrance stations would be installed at all access 
points to Park Loop Road and a timed-entry reservation system would be 
established for vehicle access to Park Loop Road during the peak use 
season. Once a visitor passes through an entrance station or gate 
during their reserved entry window, all parking lots on Park Loop Road 
would be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
    Under all of the action alternatives (alternatives B, C, and D), 
vehicle size limits would be phased in for all commercial and 
noncommercial vehicles on the Park Loop Road to improve safety and 
maintain the historic character of the road. Also common to these 
alternatives, the number of oversize commercial vehicles (vehicles that 
do not fit within a standard parking space such as a bus) allowed at 
key locations at one time would be managed to ensure desired conditions 
are maintained and visitor capacities at the parks primary attractions 
are not exceeded.
    The NPS will accept comments on the Draft Plan/EIS for a period of 
60 days following publication of the Environmental Protection Agency's 
(EPA) Notice of Availability of the Draft Plan/EIS in the Federal 
Register. After the EPA Notice of Availability is published, the NPS 
will schedule public meetings to be held during the comment period. The 
comment period and dates, times, and locations of these public meetings 
will be announced through social media and local media outlets; and on 
the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/ACADTransportationPlan, and Acadia National Park's 
website at https://www.nps.gov/acad/index.htm.
    If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments by any one of 
several methods. The preferred method of commenting is to enter 
comments electronically through the PEPC website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/ACADTransportationPlan. Comments will also be 
accepted in hardcopy by mail to: Acadia National Park, Attn: 
Transportation Plan, P.O. Box 177, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, or you may 
hand-deliver hardcopy comments to the park at 20 McFarland Hill Drive, 
Bar Harbor, ME. Comments will not be accepted in any other format 
beyond those specified above.
    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in any comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

    Dated: March 13, 2018.
Deborah L. Conway,
Acting Regional Director, Northeast Region, National Park Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-08998 Filed 4-27-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4312-52-P

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