September 17, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing today, the National Park Service (NPS), in response to a question from U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), announced that it would pursue allowing park patrons to purchase passes electronically. In early 2016, the park service plans to test the electronic passes in a pilot program, including at Maine’s Acadia National Park. The announcement follows a push from Senator King urging NPS to modernize their park pass system and make it easier for the American people to access and explore our nation’s national parks.
“A wave of new technology has fundamentally changed how we access information, goods, and services – and it’s encouraging that the National Park Service is beginning to embrace that revolution,” Senator King said. “Electronic park passes would make it easier for the American people to enjoy our nation’s most treasured landscapes, and would be a boon to the park service as it works to generate revenue and sustain its resources for generations to come. With plans for the new passes to be tested at Acadia, Maine will once again be leading the way.”
In a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing earlier this year, Senator King first pressed Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell to modernize the national park system by finding ways to make it easier for visitors to purchase passes in today’s digital age. In April Senator King continued to press the issue in a letter, along with Senator Susan Collins, to the National Park Service urging the agency to develop technology that would allow for the electronic purchase of National Park passes. In that letter, the senators also recommended that NPS create a pilot program to test the technology at Maine’s Acadia National Park.
In response to a question from Senator King, NPS Deputy Director Peggy O’Dell today announced that the agency will begin pursuing ways to allow park patrons to purchase parks online and will pilot a program around various properties across the country, including at Acadia National Park in Maine.