February 16, 2016
BETHEL, AK – Almost exactly one year after U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) first urged federal officials to modernize the way national park passes are sold, the National Park Service (NPS) today officially launched a pilot program that will make entrance passes at Acadia National Park available for sale online. Senator King, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, praised the announcement:
“With the launch of this pilot program at Acadia, the national park system is entering a new era of accessibility,” Senator King said. “Electronic park passes will not only make it easier for the American people to visit and enjoy our most treasured places, but they'll also help the Park Service maximize sales and generate new revenues. I applaud the Park Service for embracing the power of this technology and am delighted that Acadia is leading the nation in piloting it.”
“Today, many of Acadia’s visitors conduct business on their smartphones, tablets, and laptops,” said Superintendent Kevin Schneider. “Your Pass Now modernizes the sale of entrance passes and provides a convenient alternative to purchasing the entrance pass in person.”
Senator King first pushed to modernize the national park pass system during a February 2015 Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing where he urged Secretary of the Department of the Interior Sally Jewell to allow for the sale of passes online. In April 2015, Senator King continued to press the issue in a letter, along with Senator Susan Collins, to the NPS urging the agency to develop technology that would allow for the electronic purchase of passes and recommending that the NPS create a pilot program to test the technology at Acadia. In September 2015, in response to a question from Senator King during a committee hearing, NPS Deputy Director Peggy O’Dell announced that the agency would indeed pursue ways to allow park patrons to purchase parks online and would pilot a program around various properties across the country, including at Acadia.
With the official launch of that pilot program at Acadia today, visitors will now have the convenience of purchasing at no additional cost annual and seven-day entrance passes in advance of their trip on the Your Pass Now website. Acadia is the first of five national parks to pilot electronic entrance passes.
In November 2015, the NPS selected digital government services provider, NIC, Inc., to launch a pilot program at Acadia, along with Colorado National Monument in Colorado and Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. Acadia is the first of these three national parks to test a new website called, “Your Pass Now”. In addition to NIC, Inc., the NPS selected Viply, LLC for San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in California and Smart Destinations, Inc. for Everglades National Park in Florida. The next four national parks will be launching their electronic entrance pass pilot programs over the next two months.
After an entrance pass is purchased online, it can be printed or reside on a mobile device for use at the park on the date of purchase or at a specified future date. Park staff can validate the entrance pass using a Quick Response code that is generated for each pass.
Making the entrance pass for Acadia available online will help encourage more visitors to purchase an entrance pass, from which the NPS uses revenue to invest in improvements that directly impact visitors, including maintaining and enhancing visitor facilities, and providing interpretative programs and visitor information.