BAR HARBOR — New visitation records are being set at Acadia National Park.
“There’s a lot going on here at Acadia National Park. Lots of balls in the air,” said Kevin Schneider, superintendent at Acadia.
According to Adam Gibson, a social scientist for Acadia National Park, a new record has been set every month since October 2020 and current visitation is about 22% above the 5-year pre-pandemic average.
“A greater percentage of those are entering the park in cars, so we’re not seeing as many people coming from motor coaches or the island explorer, so we’re seeing higher visitation levels to Acadia and more of those people are in cars,” Gibson said.
After not being used last year, Management Assistant John Kelly said the Island Explorer’s routes were more limited this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At the end of August, ridership was down, year to date, about 300,000 riders,” said Kelly.
Kelly said they implemented a system that requires visitors to make vehicle reservations to drive up Cadillac Summit Road this year.
“Every sunrise is sold out, and about 82% of the daytime reservations are sold,” Kelly said. “So how is this going? We think very well.”
Therese Picard, deputy chief ranger, said as visitation increases, rescues at Acadia are also up.
“For this year, for 2021 for the calendar year through August, we’ve seen 50 rescues, so almost double what we normally see,” Picard said.
They are expecting visitation to be strong into the fall as well.