Tag Archives: transportation-plan

Acadia Centennial helps draw record 3.2 million park visitors

The Acadia Centennial has helped attract more than 3.2 million visitors so far to the national park this year, capped by record attendance for October.

acadia national park hiking

Views like these along Jordan Pond in October helped draw record crowds to Acadia this year.

An eye-popping 412,416 people visited during October, up 19.8 percent from last year’s monthly record of 344,362, according to statistics from the National Park Service.

Through October, visitors during the Acadia Centennial totaled 3.234 million, up 17.7 percent from last year. Depending on the weather, visitation could total 3.3 million for this year, said John T. Kelly, management assistant for Acadia.

Kelly said visitation this year reached 3 million for the first time since at least 1990, when the park changed the way it counts visitors. The previous record since 1990 was 2.845 million in 1995, according to the federal statistics.

Some good aspects of the crowds are that people came to enjoy the park and the park therefore collected more revenues from entrance fees and local businesses saw a boost, but the downsides include traffic congestion during peak periods.

crowds in acadia

Crowds in Acadia can make for an unpleasant experience as seen here on the Park Loop Road and Ocean Path. (NPS photo)

Visitation during the summer of the Acadia Centennial produced some staggering numbers.  In September, visitation was 570,434, up 19 percent from the same month last year; August, 735,945, up 10 percent; July, 696,854, up 15 percent; and June, 445,410 up 24 percent.

Visitors to the Schoodic Peninsula, the only section of the park on the mainland, reached 276,233 through October, up 31 percent from 210,549 during the same 10 months last year. More people went to Schoodic because of the new Schoodic Woods Campground and more than 8 miles of new bike paths.
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Car reservation system among ideas to ease Acadia traffic

The National Park Service is floating several proposals to ease Acadia traffic congestion and improve safety during peak visitation, including a reservation system for cars to drive up Cadillac or to park at Jordan Pond House.

acadia traffic

Would a vehicle registration system for driving up Cadillac help ease congestion like this? (NPS photo)

Other key preliminary ideas include eliminating parking in the right hand lane on the one-way section of the Park Loop Road to improve Acadia traffic flow and allowing cars to enter Ocean Drive past the entrance station until certain thresholds for parking and road volumes are reached.

Under the preliminary idea for freeing up parking and ensuring free traffic flow on Ocean Drive, additional vehicles would be cleared to drive past the entrance station as capacity permits, with drivers getting information in various ways and getting the option to wait or leave via Schooner Head Road or sooner at Sieur de Monts.

The proposals are just “conversation starters” by the park service, as part of an effort to release a final transportation plan for the park in the fall of 2018. The possibilities are being aired after a summer of strong attendance during the Centennial year caused closure sometimes of the Cadillac Summit Road and full lots at Jordan Pond during busy times.

Already through September, 2.82 million people visited the park, slightly more than all of last year, which set a 20-year-high, according to park statistics. Visitation at Acadia is likely to top 3 million this year, after October numbers are tallied.

The early proposals were spelled out for the first time in a 12-page newsletter of “preliminary concepts” released this month and will be aired during two public meetings this week, Nov. 2 and Nov. 3.

acadia traffic

You can comment on alternative proposals to manage Acadia traffic as spelled out in this 12-page newsletter, at public hearings on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3, or online through Nov. 30. (NPS image)

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