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Acadia National Park Reopens As Maine Allows Beachgoers On Coastal State Parks

Mark Vogelzang
Maine Public
A cyclist and pedestrians on the Park Loop Road at Acadia National Park on Memorial Day weekend, when the park was closed to auto traffic.

Acadia National Park reopened to motorized traffic on Monday. The park’s access road and many of its trails had been open previously for walkers and bicyclists, but this afternoon Park spokesperson Christie Anastasia says she found a handful of visitor cars at the top of Cadillac Mountain.

“Maybe about five cars in the parking lot. There’s some people walking around. There’s a little short walkway up here and they’re just walking around,” she says. “It’s probably 10 degrees colder up here than it is down below.”

The park’s carriage trails are still closed, pending restoration of some winter damage. Anastasia says some work has been delayed partly because seasonal staff from out-of-state has yet to complete quarantine before being able to work.

The park has set up a tented information area to handle the visitor center’s functions. And now visitors are asked to buy entrance fees online.

Credit Fred Bever / Maine Public
Maine Public
Surfers at Popham Beach State Park on Monday.

National park officials took their cue from Gov. Janet Mills’ reopening plans, which included reopening coastal state parks such as Popham Beach and Wolfe’s Neck on Monday.

The wide expanse of Phippsburg’s Popham Beach easily absorbed the two-dozen or so people there Monday afternoon. They included wetsuited surfers Isabel and Claire Dubois of Freeport, and their father Rich.

“I think since all of these new beaches are open now it that it’ll divide the people up more than just having a few beaches open, I guess that’s my hope,” Isabel says.

“There’s plenty of room to spread out. It’s just the parking lot that’s going to be tight this summer,” Rich says.

To help ensure adequate social distancing, the state is limiting parking at lifeguarded beaches such as Popham and Reid State Park by 50 percent, and is sealing off some public bathroom stalls as well.

Parks regional manager Gary Best says that as in any year, access will be first-come, first served. He also says rangers are asking visitors to wear masks in areas where 6-foot distancing is difficult.

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.