Acadia visitation up in Oct., still down for year

ACADIA NAT’L PARK — Park visitation in October was up 2 percent over the same month last year, but that was not enough to offset the lower numbers recorded over the first nine months of the year.

With Acadia typically seeing relatively few visitors in November and December, the park is on track to record slightly fewer visitors this year than last year. That would be the first year-to-year drop in visitation since 2011.

Acadia had an estimated 436,194 visitors in October, according to the latest monthly visitation report posted by the National Park Service.

Acadia visitation totaled nearly 3.38 million for the first 10 months of 2019, a drop of 1.3 percent from last year. But that is well within the margin of error, because official visitation numbers are approximations based on a formula that factors in both actual counts and standardized estimates. For example, 25 percent of Island Explorer bus riders are counted as park visitors.

So, while the visitation numbers for any given month or year might not be precise, they can be useful in tracking ups and downs over time.

The number of passengers on sightseeing buses operated by Oli’s Trolley and National Park Tours was up 5.6 percent through October. The number of commercial bus passengers, including those from cruise ships, was up 9.6 percent.

The estimated number of Island Explorer bus passengers visiting the park this year was up 3.3 percent, including an increase of 71 percent in the month of October.

According to the official estimates, the Mount Desert Island section of the park had a total of 37 more non-bus visitors in October than in the same month last year, an increase of basically zero percent. Non-bus visitation through the first 10 months of the year was down 2.3 percent.

Overnight stays in the Acadia’s four campgrounds — Blackwoods, Seawall, Schoodic Woods and Isle au Haut — were up 20.5 percent to 14,990 for the month of October, but down by about 5,000 or 2.2 percent for the first 10 months of the year.

Last year, Acadia visitation was up a fraction, setting a new record with an estimated 3.58 million visits. That was about 28,000 more than in 2017, an increase of 0.8 percent.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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