ACADIA NAT’L PARK — The Island Explorer shuttle bus system here got a major boost from outdoor retailer L.L. Bean Wednesday with news the company has made a new $1 million commitment to Friends of Acadia to support the service.
L.L. Bean’s President and CEO Stephen Smith will visit Acadia next week to make a formal announcement of the donation with Acadia’s Superintendent Kevin Schneider. That announcement is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Tuesday, July 5, at the Jordan Pond House. The public is welcome to attend.
The propane-powered, low-emissions shuttles that run throughout the park and surrounding communities carried over half a million riders last summer and have become a vital strategy in alleviating automobile traffic during peak visitation times at the park. L.L. Bean has now donated and pledged more than $4 million toward the Island Explorer since 2002.
“The Island Explorer bus system has grown into the most significant innovation in enhancing people’s Acadia experience over the last twenty years,” said David MacDonald, president of Friends of Acadia, “and we could not have done it without a committed partner like L.L. Bean.”
Since 1999, the fare-free bus system has carried over 6 million passengers, reduced private vehicle trips by nearly 2.3 million, eliminated over 32 tons of smog-causing pollutants and reduced more than 21,000 tons of greenhouse gases.
“We are pleased to continue our support of the Island Explorer bus system,” said Janet Wyper, manager of community relations for L.L. Bean. “L.L. Bean has deep roots in Maine and a long history of supporting conservation projects.” She added, “It’s a natural fit for our company to sponsor the Island Explorer, which has enabled millions of people to enjoy one of Maine’s and the nation’s greatest natural assets, Acadia National Park, in an environmentally friendly manner.”
As a result of the company’s contributions, the Island Explorer has been able to extend bus service through Columbus Day each year, and the bicycle express service was added in 2005.
Kevin Schneider, superintendent of Acadia National Park, said, “The Island Explorer makes a huge difference in how people experience Acadia. It dramatically improves visitors’ enjoyment of the park by providing convenient access to trailheads and prime destinations and by reducing traffic and auto emissions.”
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