Tag Archives: winter-harbor

Winter Festival to summer camping on Schoodic Peninsula

TO SEE 2016 WINTER FESTIVAL EVENTS, SEE UPDATE.

UPDATED 5/16/15: Schoodic Woods campground opening moved to Sept. 1

(See Acadia on My Mind’s new page for Schoodic Peninsula year-round lodging, restaurants, shopping)

Schoodic Peninsula has long been the quieter side of Acadia National Park, across Frenchman Bay and a world away from the summer hubbub of Bar Harbor.

Schoodic institute winter festival at acadia national park

Snow welcomes visitors to first-ever Winter Festival this week, hosted by the Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park. (Schoodic Institute photo)

But increasingly, the only section of the park on the mainland is becoming a four-season draw for educators, students, citizen scientists, researchers, birders, families with young children, artists and others.

Among the reasons for the growth of activity:

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Acadia’s Island Explorer carries record 503,000 passengers

Acadia National Park and supporters appear to be succeeding in their campaign to persuade visitors to leave behind their cars when they enter the park.

Island Explorer bus in Acadia National Park

While the Island Explorer bus is fare-free, be sure to get an Acadia National Park visitor pass to help support that and other park services. (NPS photo)

According to new federal statistics, the Island Explorer, the park’s fare-free shuttle system, carried a record 503,224 passengers in 2014. It was the first time the system cracked 500,000 passengers for its estimated 3.5-month season of operation.

“The bus ridership was way up this year,” said Stuart West, chief ranger for Acadia National Park, in an e-mail. He referred questions about Island Explorer numbers to Paul Murphy, general manager for Downeast Transportation, Inc., which runs the Acadia bus shuttle.

The numbers for the bus system came as the Maine national park is on pace to attract about 2.7 million visitors this calendar year, the most in nearly 20 years, the federal statistics said.

The bus passenger statistics, made available on Tuesday on a National Park Service web site, show that passengers on the shuttle system increased by about 15 percent from 438,737 in 2012.

Island Explorer operates from late June through Columbus Day. The propane-powered buses have run since 1999, or 16 years, carrying 141,000 riders the first year. Continue reading