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Environment and Outdoors

Face Masks Now Required In All National Parks' Facilities And Crowded Outdoor Spaces

Acadia Overcrowding
Robert F. Bukaty/AP
In July 31, 2018, visitors to Maine's Acadia National Park gather to watch the sunrise on top of Cadillac Mountain. The park recently unveiled a plan for a "timed-entry reservation system" to manage parking at some of the park's most popular attractions.

People are traveling in record numbers to national parks this summer, including Maine's Acadia National Park. But being outdoors doesn't necessarily mean mask-free. The National Park Service is now requiring that masks be worn by visitors not only in buildings and facilities, but also in crowded outdoor areas.

"In addition we are requiring masks in areas that are crowded - amphitheaters, ranger led programs, campgrounds....pathways," says John Kelly, a spokesperson for Acadia:

Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor is one of the top ten parks in the country and attracts people from all over the country and the world. Acadia has been experiencing steady increases in visits over the last three years as Americans spend more vacation time outdoors, due to the pandemic.

"We're seeing crowding and numbers we've not seen before, even increasing over pre-Covid years," Kelly says.

Acadia's popular nature center, Jordan Pond concessions, ranger programs and campgrounds are included in the mandate. The policy applies whether you are vaccinated or not, and is for visitors 2 years old and older. The National Park Service follows CDC guidelines regarding coronavirus and is requiring the nationwide policy to protect both visitors and staff.