BAR HARBOR – Acadia National Park is on track for a banner year as park officials see no signs of slowing down this fall.
The busiest year on record for the park was 2018, with 3.54 million visits. This year, the number could exceed 4 million, Kevin Schneider, park superintendent, told the Acadian Advisory Board.
Things have taken off since 2020, which was a sluggish year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2.67 million visits Acadia had in 2020 was the lowest annual number the park has had since 2014, the Bangor Daily News reported.
However, visits increased significantly last fall. Since October 2020, “every month is a record month” for visits, according to Adam Gibson, social science researcher for Acadia.
The past 11 months have averaged 22% more visitors than the same period a year earlier, he said.
The park received approximately 800,000 visits last month and Acadia has received approximately 2.75 million visits so far in 2021.
The sheer numbers of people in the park have resulted in more rescues, said Thérèse Picard, the park’s chief ranger. The park typically handles two dozen rescues through August each year, she said, but there have been 50 rescues so far this year. Most rescues involve leg injuries, which typically requires park staff and MDI Search & Rescue responders to transport the injured person on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance.
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