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July 2, 2018

Strong May puts Acadia National Park on track for record year

Photo / David Clough
Photo / David Clough
Visitors to Acadia National Park were up 11.7% in May, compared to the previous May, putting the park on track for a record year.

Lousy weather lingering into April decreased visitation at Acadia National Park by nearly 16,000 through the first four months of this year, compared with the previous year. But visitations increased in May, putting the park on track for a record year.

But the Mount Desert Islander reported that the park was on track to set a new record-setting pace, with May 2018's 11.6% increase over May 2017 pushing total January-through-May visits to a 3% increase over the same period last year.

Acadia set a visitation record in 2017. By November 2017, the number of visitors to Acadia was just under 3.5 million, a record that eclipsed 2016's record-setting number of 3.3 million for the entire year, the Mount Desert Islander reported at the time. The number was split between Acadia's two sections: The Mount Desert Island section saw 2.91 million visitors, up 0.9% over the same period last year. The Schoodic section saw a 4.1% increase to 293,933 and visitation to Isle au Haut was up 1% to 8,781.

National Park Service’s transportation plan

In the meantime, in its attempt to cope with burgeoning crowds, the National Park Service in April released its proposed transportation plan for Acadia, which includes provisions that would require reservations during peak visitor season for the park's most popular spots.

The Ellsworth American reported at the time that the plan calls for a "timed-entry vehicle reservation system" for a section of the Park Loop Road, for the Cadillac Mountain summit road and to park in the North Lot at Jordan Pond House. Public comment on the plan closed June 26.

According to an NPS news release, additional proposed actions include eventually phasing out right-lane parking on the Park Loop Road, reconfigurations and expansions of various parking areas, and moving the visitor services at the Thompson Island Information Center (on the west side of State Route 3) to the Acadia Gateway Center in Trenton.

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