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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