Visitors at Thunder Hole in Acadia National Park on an August Sunday afternoon in 2020. PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVEN BOUCHER

Park visits up in Dec., way down for the year

ACADIA NAT’L PARK — Park visitation ended 2020 the same way it began, with the volume way up over the first and last three months of 2019. 

It was in the six months in between – April through September – that the number of visitors was down significantly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The park ended the year with an estimated 2.67 million visits, which was about 768,000 fewer than the year before, a drop of 22.4 percent. 

The December visitation number was 21,260, an increase of 65.3 percent over the same month in 2019. For October through December, the estimated number of visits was up 83,300 or 14.4 percent, 

Acadia Superintendent Kevin Schneider has speculated that more local residents than usual made a point of getting out into the park in the late fall, perhaps seeking relief from COVID-induced cabin fever. 

As for the outlook for visitation this year, he said it might depend to a large extent on the widespread availability and acceptance of coronavirus vaccines. But that might not be the only factor. 

“We still saw people travel here this past summer, once they became comfortable with how to prevent the spread of the virus,” Schneider said. “So, I’m pretty bullish for 2021, but I think there will still be a significant amount of uncertainty. The good news is that we now have some experience of managing a park in a pandemic.” 

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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