Legislation to fix a series of territorial and jurisdictional problems around Acadia National Park took another step toward becoming law Thursday, when a U.S. Senate panel endorsed the bipartisan measure, which was introduced by Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King.

The Acadia National Park Boundary Clarification Act resolves thorny issues at New England’s only national park, first among them making legal the park’s acquisition of the 1,441-acre Schoodic Woods parcel, a coastal woodland with a campground and bike trails anonymously donated in 2015. The park had controversially incorporated it without respecting a boundary line established by Congress in 1986 for future park expansions that was the result of exhaustive negotiations between the park and local residents.

The bill also would direct the park to permit “traditional” harvesting by clammers, wormers and periwinkle gatherers within the park in accordance with state law and local ordinances. The language appears to exclude seaweed harvesting, aquaculture pens and other uses that have not taken place in the area to date. Under Maine law, a coastal property owner owns the intertidal zone, but marine harvesting can be done there.

The House version of the bill passed that chamber by a unanimous voice vote on March 28, and had the support of Maine Reps. Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin. If the full Senate passes the bill, the House will have to vote to endorse the new version, as the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee made minor amendments before endorsing it.

Colin Woodard can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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