ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, (AP) – Blackwoods Campground in Acadia National Park, a legacy of the late John D. Rockefeller Jr., is in line for a $3 million upgrade.

Under a National Park Service plan that awaits final approval by Congress, the rehabilitation work would include improvements to roads, campsites, utilities, drainage and buildings, added housing for campground staff and revegetation of areas destroyed by many years of heavy use.

The work would begin in fall 2004 and be done in sections so that at no time would the entire campground be closed, according to Acadia officials.

Acadia’s second campground on Mount Desert Island, Seawall Campground in Southwest Harbor, will undergo major rehabilitation beginning this fall under a project approved last year.

The campground projects are similar, but Seawall is expected to cost some $1 million more than Blackwoods. An estimated total of 160,000 campers stay at both campgrounds each year.

Len Bobinchock, Acadia assistant superintendent, said the projects represent the first major upgrade of the campgrounds since they were built more than 50 years ago.

“Both campgrounds are very important to Acadia and both are in dire need of major repair,” Bobinchock said. He said Blackwoods, on Route 3 in Bar Harbor, is more popular than Seawall and speculated that the reasons could include its proximity to major park attractions and to the tourist town.

Judy Hazen Connery, a resource manager for Acadia, said officials had for years sought funding for the project.

“Every once in a while you have to go in and do some major maintenance and basically that’s what we’re talking about in this project,” Connery said.

In both the Seawall and Blackwoods projects, park planners have paid special attention to retaining the historic and rustic character of the campgrounds and mitigating any negative impacts on the landscape and environment, Connery said.

Blackwoods Campground was first envisioned by Rockefeller in 1929, but was not fully constructed and opened to the public until 1946. The land was donated by Rockefeller as part of his plan to construct the Otter Creek causeway and Blackwoods motor road in the 1930s.

AP-ES-08-21-03 1052EDT

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