Tag Archives: visitors

7 ways for a stress-free visit to Acadia National Park

Last year, so many people visited Acadia National Park – more than 3 million – that the road to Cadillac Mountain had to be closed 12 times, and the Park Loop Road to Sand Beach, twice.

acadia traffic

Hopefully new parking attendants on top of Cadillac in 2017 will make for a stress-free visit to Acadia.

Maybe the crowds were larger than usual in 2016 because of the Acadia Centennial, and maybe park plans to have parking attendants on top of Cadillac this year will help. With Memorial Day weekend marking the unofficial start of the busy summer season, it’ll surely help to know these 7 ways for a stress-free visit to Acadia National Park.

1) Buy your Acadia National Park pass online, go early or late to the main Hulls Cove Visitor Center, or get the pass at one of the other local sites. New this peak season: Do not go to the park headquarters on ME 233 to buy your pass, since you’ll just be directed to the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. The surest way to start off a stress-free visit to Acadia: Don’t get in a long line to get a park pass. Online, you can buy the usual 7-day Acadia pass or even the annual park pass. If you’re age 62 or older, you can buy the lifetime Senior Pass for $10 in advance at a participating federal recreation site near home, or via mail, before the price is slated to go up to $80 on Oct. 1. Hulls Cove is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in May and June, and after Labor Day through October, and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. July through Labor Day. And there are plenty of other local sites you can buy a pass at, as listed on the park’s Web site:

acadia

The online pass was developed by NIC Inc. and the National Park Service. Or you can buy a pass in the park or at area locations. (Image courtesy of NIC Inc.)

  • Bar Harbor Village Green Information Center – late May to Columbus Day, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Thompson Island Information Center – early May to mid-October, hours vary
  • Sand Beach Entrance Station
  • Blackwoods Campground
  • Schoodic Woods Campground
  • Schoodic Institute, Rockefeller Hall
  • Seawall Campground
  • Cadillac Mountain Gift Shop
  • Jordan Pond Gift Shop
  • Mount Desert Town Office
  • Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce
  • Southwest Harbor / Tremont Chamber of Commerce
  • L. L. Bean in Freeport, ME

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Economic benefits of national parks: $274m from Acadia

UPDATED 5/2/2017: Story adds a statement from Acadia Superintendent Kevin Schneider.

A new report on the economic benefits of national parks shows that a record number of visitors to Acadia National Park last year injected about $274 million into the regional economy.

acadia national park

In the Acadia Centennial year of 2016, 3.3 million visitors spent an estimated $274.2 million in local communities, up 10.6% from the year before. (NPS image)

The report, released by the National Park Service, documents the powerful financial benefits of national parks during the Centennial celebration of the founding of the system and Acadia.

The report said Acadia contributed $274.2 million in visitor spending, up  almost 11% from 2015 and 36.5% from $200.9 million in 2012. The park supported 4,195 full and part-time jobs last year, up nearly 8% from 2015.

That spending, along with the jobs, had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $333 million, the park said in a release on Tuesday.

“Acadia National Park’s extraordinary beauty and recreational opportunities attracted a record number of visitors in 2016 making it the eighth most-visited national park in the country,” said Superintendent Kevin Schneider in a statement. “We value our relationship with the neighboring communities and appreciate the services and amenities they provide to park visitors.”

The report shows how Acadia and other national park units across the nation are economic engines for gateway communities, or those within 60 miles of a park.

Eight sectors contributed to the $274.2 million spending around Acadia, including hotels, $89.7 million, or 33% of the total; restaurants and bars, $49.6 million, or 18%; gas, $28.4 million, or 10%; the recreation industry, $26.3 million or 9.5%; retail, $26.9 million, or 10% and the rest from transportation, groceries and camping, the report said.

nationoal park week

During National Park Week, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, seen holding a Passport(R) to Your National Parks, visited Channel Islands National Park, and announced national park visitation added $34.9 billion to the US economy in 2016. (DOI photo)

The report is a testament to the tangible economic benefits  of national parks to communities across the nation, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said in a statement, while releasing the report earlier this month. “Visitation numbers continue to rise because people want to experience these majestic public lands,” he said.

Zinke, a former U.S. House member from Montana, said that in his hometown of Whitefish, Mont., he has seen firsthand how the popularity of Glacier National Park sparked growth of the local outdoor recreation and eco-tourism industries. Continue reading

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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Acadia boosts economy with $248M in 2015 visitor spending

Bolstering the case for national parks as an economic engine, a new report shows Acadia’s 2.8 million visitors last year pumped $247.9 million into the regional economy, while across the country, a record-setting 307.2 million visitors to all national parks spent $16.9 billion.

The report is sure to be brought up by supporters of a proposed national monument in the Katahdin region, which has been hit hard by paper mill closures, even as some area residents and officials vehemently oppose the idea, with Patten the most recent to reject it, by a 121-53 vote on April 19.

acadia boosts economy

Acadia National Park’s 2.8 million visitors spent $247.9 million in 2015, according to a new National Park Service report. (NPS graphic)

The parks’ economic impact is the most measured since the National Park Service refined its visitor spending analysis model in 2012. How Acadia boosts economy and other parks around the country affect whole regions is expected to be even greater this year, with more visitors anticipated during the Centennial year for both Acadia and the National Park Service.

“The big picture of national parks and their importance to the economy is clear,” said National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, in releasing the report late yesterday, during National Park Week. “Each tax dollar invested in the National Park Service effectively returns $10 to the US economy because of visitor spending that works through local, state and the US economy.”

While the park service hasn’t publicly taken a position on Burt’s Bees founder Roxanne Quimby’s proposal to donate what’s now known as Katahdin Woods & Waters Recreation Area for a national monument or national park, the report will certainly add to the broiling controversy. Continue reading

Acadia National Park visitors to top 2.7M, most since 1997

Acadia National Park is set to draw more than 2.7 million visitors for the first time since 1997, after attracting the most-ever number of October visitors, breaking that monthly record for the second year in a row, according to park statistics.

crowds in acadia

Acadia National Park visitors set October record in 2015. Entire year expected to draw more than 2.7 million, most since 1997, possibly making overcrowding along Ocean Path and Park Loop Road, as seen here, more common. (NPS photo)

A total of 335,002 Acadia National Park visitors were counted last month, up 6.7 percent from the record 313,323 during October of last year, said National Park Service visitor use statistics.

Through the first 10 months of this year, park visitation totaled 2,693,840, already more than the 2,563,129 for all of last year.

If the park draws the same amount of visitors it attracted last year in November and December, –  31,013 in November and 13,510 in December – it would total 2,738,363, cracking 2.7 million for the first time since 1997, when it drew 2,760,330, according to National Park statistics.

sunrise on cadillac mountain

Sunrise on Cadillac Mountain attracted so many people during the summer of 2015, the summit road had to be closed twice before the crack of dawn. (NPS photo)

The summer months showed strong visitation for the park. September totaled, 462,742, up 10.7 percent from September of 2014; August, 658,253, up 3.1 percent; July, 592,137, up 5.5 percent and June, 354,035, up 4.5 percent.

In an email,  Charlie Jacobi, natural resource specialist for the park, who works with visitation statistics, said he was  “pretty sure we will top 2.7m now,” when asked about visitor totals for this year.

“I can’t attribute this to any one thing,” he said.

He did say “it’s all you mentioned,” when asked if the strong economy, nice weather, good national publicity from 2014 and cruise ship visitors were factors.

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Visitors to Acadia National Park in 2014 most in 15 years

The number of visitors at Acadia National Park in 2014 was the highest in 15 years, boosted by good weather, national media exposure and a healthy economy.

According to statistics released by the National Park Service on Wednesday, 2,559,473 people visited Acadia last year, up 13.5 percent from 2013. Acadia attracted about 305,000 more people in 2014 compared to 2013.

That’s the most since 1999 when 2.602 million visited the Maine National Park, according to statistics on the web site of the National Park Service.

The video was taken by Andy Bell using a GoPro camera and drone in May 2014, before drones were banned. The music is “Two Rivers” by Lisa Schneckenburger. YouTube video used with Andy Bell’s permission. Continue reading

Acadia National Park sets October record with 313,000 visitors

The highest number ever of October visitors to Acadia National Park may help make 2014 the busiest year in the park in more than a dozen years, despite November’s early snows, according to the latest park statistics and projections.

South Bubble Acadia National Park

Some of the visitors who contributed to a record-breaking October 2014 in Acadia National Park take in the sunshine and fall foliage from South Bubble. (Photo courtesy of Greg Saulmon)

“It does appear that this October was our highest by quite a lot,” said Charlie Jacobi, natural resource specialist for the park, who works with visitation statistics. A total of 313,323 visitors were tallied last month, while the previous October high was just over 301,000 in 2012, as reported on the National Park Service statistics Web site. Last year’s government shutdown led to artificially low October 2013 numbers.

“It’s the weather, the cruise ships, the gas prices perhaps, and just the general increase in shoulder season traffic. And maybe a summer publicity hangover,” Jacobi said in an e-mail. Earlier this year, Acadia was named America’s favorite place by viewers of “Good Morning America” and the No. 1 National Park by readers of USA Today.

Even with the snowstorms that hit Mount Desert Island beginning Nov. 2, closing park roads for days, it appears the annual visitation is “likely to be the highest in 12-15 years,” perhaps exceeding the 2.55 million figure from 2002, according to Jacobi. Continue reading

Acadia National Park visitors most in nearly 20 years

Acadia National Park is on pace to attract the most visitors in about 20 years, new federal statistics indicate.

According to new statistics from the National Park Service, total visitors to the Maine national park jumped by 4.3 percent through September to 2.202 million, the largest percentage increase since the end of the recession in 2010, possibly partly because of an improving economy, good weather and a burst of positive national publicity.

Bass Harbor Lighthouse in Acadia National Park

Moon rises near Bass Harbor Lighthouse. (Photo by Greg Saulmon)

“The stellar weather this year definitely had a hand in the high visitation,” Stuart West, chief ranger, said in an e-mail. “Since the bulk of our visitors are within a day’s travel, the park’s visitation is usually reflective of the weather.”

People who arrive on cruise ships also played a role in the increase, West said.

Acadia National Park visitors are on track to total around 2.7 million visitors this calendar year, the most in nearly 20 years, judging by the number of visitors for the last three months in some prior years, according to the federal statistics .

“Cruise ships, weather, media attention, better economy,” said Charlie Jacobi, natural resource specialist for Acadia National Park, listing the reasons for the jump in visitors.

Camping this summer at Acadia National Park also increased substantially.

Visitors to Mount Desert Island – the location for most of the park – increased by 5.3 percent through September, according to statistics provided by the National Park Service.

A total of 2.202 million people visited  through September to all parts of the park, up from 2.111 million in 2013.

There were 1.978 million visitors to Mount Desert Island, an increase from 1.878 million in 2013. Continue reading