On the heels of its busiest winter ever and an unusually busy Memorial Day weekend, Acadia Nationwide Park might be on tempo to set a file in 2021 as vacationers resume touring.
Kevin Schneider, the park’s superintendent, advised the park’s citizen advisory fee on Monday that Memorial Day weekend, which typically is taken into account the beginning of Maine’s summer time vacationer season, was unusually busy even with the wet climate.
“Each parking area was full from Hulls Cove to Seal Harbor,” Schneider stated. “There was quite a lot of curiosity and the park was very busy.”
Official visitation numbers for Might will not be but obtainable, however the variety of visits to the park in April was double what it was a 12 months in the past — 110,000 in contrast with 55,000. However this April’s figures have been 62 % larger than they have been in April 2019, earlier than the pandemic curtailed vacationers’ journey plans.
From January by means of April this 12 months, visitation to Acadia was 74 % larger than it was for a similar 4 months in 2019, Schneider stated.
“There’s quite a lot of pent-up journey demand,” the superintendent stated. “All indications are pointing towards what might be a record-breaking 12 months.”
The park’s busiest 12 months on file was 2018, when it had 3.53 million visits over the whole calendar 12 months. The estimated variety of visits declined by 100,000 the next 12 months to three.43 million and, due to the pandemic, fell sharply to a complete of two.67 million visits in 2020 — a drop of twenty-two %.
Regardless of the decrease variety of general visits final 12 months, there usually was visitors congestion on weekends, partly as a result of the free Island Explorer bus system did not operate in the course of the pandemic. The Island Explorer bus system operates on Mount Desert Island from late June to mid-October annually to alleviate the variety of automobiles on the roads in and across the park.
The bus system is returning to service this 12 months, which can assist mitigate visitors congestion. Due to the continued pandemic it is going to function at a decreased passenger capability, although that discount shouldn’t be anticipated to final past this 12 months.
To assist restrict the continued probability of publicity to COVID-19, the variety of passengers on every bus can be restricted to 30 individuals, as an alternative of 43. Consequently, the system will enhance the variety of buses on its busiest routes that function near Bar Harbor and close by areas of the park.
This implies, nevertheless, that the bus system won’t serve different components of the island corresponding to Northeast Harbor, Southwest Harbor, and Bass Harbor this 12 months. The system doesn’t have sufficient buses and drivers to extend its frequency of service on some routes and to proceed to supply sufficient service on others, in line with directors with Downeast Transportation, which operates the system.
“Our dedication to serving all of our island cities stays robust,” Island Explorer officers stated in a press release posted on the service’s website. “We recognize the persistence and understanding we’ve obtained from individuals negatively impacted by this momentary service redesign.”