ACADIA NAT’L PARK — A 69-year-old woman suffered an apparent heat stroke and lost consciousness while hiking on the Dorr Mountain South Ridge Trail at around noon on July 5.
With park rangers unable to respond immediately because of other emergencies, Bar Harbor Fire Department paramedics and a park firefighter hiked two miles up the trail and determined that a helicopter rescue was needed.
Because of the rugged terrain, with no place for a helicopter to land, the Maine Forest Service was called to dispatch a helicopter that could lift the patient and one of the rescuers off the mountain and carry them to safety. The rescue operation, which took more than four hours, involved park rangers, MDI Search and Rescue and Friends of Acadia Summit Stewards.
That rescue was one of several in Acadia that day.
At about 9:45 a.m., a 24-year-old man lost his footing while hiking down the Cadillac Mountain West Face Trail toward Bubble Pond. He slid down more than 40 feet of sloped rock before falling off a 15-20-foot cliff. He sustained no life-threatening injuries and was able to call for help. Park rangers and MDI Search and Rescue took part in the rescue, which concluded around 3 p.m.
A 58-year-old woman injured her ankle while hiking on the Cadillac North Ridge Trail, about a mile from the trailhead, at around 11:45 a.m. Two park rangers helped her down the trail.
Acadia’s ranger dispatch center fielded 755 radio calls and 20 emergency 911 calls July 5. Park personnel were “swamped with calls for assistance and closing roads due to traffic congestion,” Acadia officials said in a press release.
“As many park rangers were working on rescue operations, illegal and obstructive parking led to sharp increases in traffic congestion, above and beyond Acadia’s normal parking struggles,” they wrote.
The Ocean Drive section of the Park Loop Road was closed once for about 90 minutes and again for 30 minutes. The Cadillac Mountain summit road was closed several times during the day.
The Sieur de Monts parking area was closed twice for an hour each time. The Jordan Pond north lot was closed for an hour, and the parking lot at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center was closed once for 45 minutes. The Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse access road was closed for a time.
Park officials reported that illegal parking on both sides of Schooner Head Road “blocked the exit route for cars stopped at the Sand Beach entrance station,” and that both sides of Stanley Brook Road were lined with cars, “blocking the Island Explorer bus from using the road.”
To alleviate congestion, park officials ask visitors to park only in designated spaces, to use the fare-free Island Explorer bus system whenever possible and to consider walking or biking into the park.