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August 3, 2017

Acadia's senior-pass sales jump 70%, but overall numbers are down

An impending eight-fold increase in the cost of lifetime senior passes at national parks has spurred a major increase in the sale of those passes at Acadia National Park.

WCSH6 reported that the sale of lifetime senior passes at Acadia National Park has increased 70% in 2017 from 2016. Its report attributed the dramatic increase as being in anticipation of a steep price hike, from $10 to $80, due to be implemented for all national parks on Aug. 28.

In July, 9,200 senior passes were sold in Acadia, compared with 5,400 sold in July 2016.

That increase comes amid a bump in visitation at the park for the month of June. According to National Park Service statistics, June 2017 visitation on the Mount Desert Island portion of Acadia was 409,666, versus 400,675 in June 2016. On the Schoodic Peninsula portion, June 2017 visitation was 38,400, versus 35,925 in June 2016.

Not surprisingly, year-to-date visitation overall has been down on MDI — 727,859 in June 2017 compared with 738,708 in June 2016, amid the park service's highly promoted Centennial celebration.

At the lesser known Schoodic area of the park, which is not on Mount Desert Island, popularity is increasing. Year-to-date visitation was 74,127 in June 2017, compared with 66,013 in June 2016.

Additional visitors come via commercial and concession buses. For both MDI and Schoodic, there's been a substantial increase: 16,463 in June 2017 compared with 7,876 in June 2016; and 21,313 YTD for 2017, compared with 12,672 YTD in 2016.

The park service also provided its latest report on Acadia's economic benefits. For 2016, total visitor spending to the region — including Acadia and surrounding communities — was $274 million, which had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $333 million. Most park visitor spending was for lodging (31%) followed by food and beverages (27%), gas and oil (12%), admissions and fees (10%), souvenirs and other expenses (10%), local transportation (7%), and camping fees (3%).

That compares with 2015's numbers — $248 million in total visitor spending, which supported 3,878 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $305 million.

Read more

Bar Harbor resolution seeks full funding of Acadia's maintenance needs

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