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Environment and Outdoors

Even with high gas prices, Acadia National Park is due for another busy summer

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.

Acadia National Park is keeping tabs on how skyrocketing gas prices might impact visitation this summer. But early signs point to another busy season.

Members of the Acadia National Park Advisory Commission say they're concerned that with high gas prices, park entrance fees and the cost of making a reservation to visit Cadillac Mountain, a visit to the park may be financially out of reach for the average Maine family.

Park Superintendent Kevin Schneider said reservations are necessary to control the traffic at popular spots.

"In the context of a person's lodging, the reservation fee is relatively small," he told members of the Acadia National Park Advisory Commission Monday. "But visiting here, with the price of gas, with the price of a hotel room, your meals and everything else, it is unfortunately a real cost for people."

Visitation to the park in April was down 4.5% as compared to last year. But last year set a record for April, and Schneider says this Memorial Day was as busy as ever.

Lines waiting to pass through the Sand Beach entrance station ranged from 25-to-45 minutes that weekend, he said.