ACADIA NAT’L PARK — The Sand Beach entrance station was open this past winter for the first time ever, and the park collected $692,271 in entrance fees from Nov. 1 through March 31.
The cost of keeping the entrance station open for those five months was about $140,000, so the net revenue was roughly $552,000.
“Previously, the cost of collecting fees and enforcing the entrance pass requirement [in the winter] exceeded the cost of collection,” said Katie Liming, Acadia’s interim public affairs specialist. “As off-season visitation has increased over the years, it’s become cost-effective to collect winter fees.”
The amount collected this past winter would have been even higher if visitation during the first quarter of this year had been at last year’s level. But estimated visitation was down in each of the first three months, and for the quarter overall it dropped from 74,452 in 2021 to 49,032 this year, a slide of 38.3 percent.
“[That] was within the normal variability for winter visitation,” Liming said. “There are a number of factors that may cause visitation to fluctuate. We can probably attribute some of the variation to weather conditions. Some winters have more great days for whatever outdoor activity visitors were interested in.”
Acadia keeps 80 percent of all the fees it collects and uses the money to improve visitor services and to fund projects such as maintaining and rehabilitating carriage roads and hiking trails, maintaining paved roads and parking areas and providing educational programs.
Twenty percent of the entrance fees Acadia collects goes to the National Park Service to help fund programs and projects at other NPS sites across the country.