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Acadia’s found a new way to crack down on people who enter without paying

Motorists at Acadia National Park, like those seen here in 2015, will be spared $130 fines for failing to purchase entrance passes under a new program park officials have begun. (Bill Trotter | BDN)

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK -- (BDN) -- Acadia National Park can fine motorists who don’t have entrance passes, but officials think they have a better way to crack down on violations.

Park rangers began putting notices on parked cars on Thursday warning violators that they have 24 hours to pay $25 for a weekly entrance pass or they will face the usual $130 fine for failing to display a pass on their vehicles, said Christie Anastasia, Acadia’s public affairs specialist.

“We are offering visitors a second chance to obtain an entrance pass rather than pay a more costly fine,” Acadia Superintendent Kevin Schneider said in a statement.

Rangers don’t like to hand out the $130 ticket because motorists can park their vehicles or use park roads without even realizing that they’re within Acadia’s boundaries — unlike other parks, which have tightly controlled entrances and exits.

And each $130 fine goes to the U.S. Treasury, while entrance-pass proceeds stay in Acadia, with most going to maintenance, Anastasia said.

Acadia faces a heavy maintenance backlog — $68.3 million in deferred costs as of February 2016 — as part of the National Park Service’s nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog despite a record number of visitors in 2016.

The fee compliance program will likely run for at least a year, Anastasia said. The fines must be paid at several stations within the park. Those who get notices because they failed to display their passes can have the $25 fine tossed out, she said.

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