ACADIA NAT’L PARK — Acadia visitation was up a fraction in 2018, 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.
Visits by people in their personal vehicles were actually down slightly in both the Mount Desert Island and Schoodic Peninsula sections of the park.
But the number of visitors entering the park on commercial motor coaches, including those carrying cruise ship passengers and “leaf peepers,” was up 75.8 percent to 127,260. Local sightseeing services Oli’s Trolley and National Park Tours brought 56,323 passengers into the park, an increase of 6.7 percent. The number of people riding the fare-free Island Explorer buses into the park increased 7.5 percent to 155,882.
The park calculates visitation each month using primarily two sources of data. One is an electronic traffic counter on the Park Loop Road near Sand Beach. That number is multiplied by a monthly “vehicle expansion multiplier” to account for vehicles in the park on a given day that do not pass over the traffic counter. That expanded vehicle number is then multiplied by a “persons-per-vehicle” average.
The number of tour bus passengers who are counted as park visitors is based on passenger counts submitted by the local tour operators and by the average number of passengers for the different sizes of motor coaches that buy commercial vehicle entrance passes.
Island Explorer passengers who get off a bus anywhere in Acadia are included in the park’s visitor count.