ACADIA NAT’L PARK — The number of people visiting Acadia this year continued to rise at a record-breaking level in August, with a 10.4 percent increase over the same month last year, according to figures released by park officials last week.
The estimated number of visitors to the Mount Desert Island section of the park was up 8.9 percent. The Schoodic Peninsula section saw a 32.2 percent increase, due in large part to the new Schoodic Woods Campground. Visitation to the Isle au Haut section of Acadia was down about 1 percent from last August.
For the first eight months of 2016, the total number of park visitors was just over 2.25 million, a 17 percent increase over the same period last year. The year-to-date increase was 16 percent for the MDI section of the park, 33.3 percent for Schoodic and 2.7 percent for Isle au Haut.
Park visitation remains on pace to exceed last year’s record of 2.81 million and to break the three million mark for the first time ever. And it is possible that Acadia could overtake Grand Teton as the eighth most visited of America’s 59 national parks. Last year, Grand Teton counted nearly 3.15 million visitors. Through August of this year, Grand Teton had an estimated 2.56 million.
Typically, more than 25 percent of Acadia’s visitors come in September and October. That is in part because of Labor Day weekend, fall foliage motor coach tours and cruise ship passengers who take buses into the park.
Last year, Grand Teton had about the same number of visitors as Acadia in September, but 153,681 fewer visitors in October.
So far this year, Acadia’s three campgrounds have seen a combined 15.9 percent increase in overnight stays, from 130,363 camper nights during the first eight months of last year to 151,140 this year. A large part of that increase is attributable to the Schoodic Woods Campground, which is in its first full year of operation; it opened last September.
Blackwoods and Seawall campgrounds also have recorded more camper nights this year.