Acadia National Park saw a record number of visitors last year. That's according to a report recently released by the National Park Service.
The report says that more than 3.5 million people visited Acadia last year, a 70 percent increase from 2008. The agency estimates those visitors spent about $388 million in nearby communities, mostly on hotels, food and recreational activities. That sum is much higher than in past years, though the agency says it used a different calculation to estimate spending.
Christie Anastasia, the public affairs specialist for Acadia, says the park also supported more than 5,000 jobs last year. "Doing jobs related to the fact that folks are coming into the state to visit a national park really has an impact on the economy and also the number of jobs that are supplied."
Martha Searchfield, the executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, says the increase in visitors has helped sustain the area's economy.
"In the past 10 years, this whole country was in a bit of a recession. And I think the fact that Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island has been able to sustain, and continue to grow, is a testament to how great this place is," Searchfield says.
But Searchfield says that, similar to many communities across the state, it's been difficult for Bar Harbor to find enough seasonal workers to cater to tourists each summer. And like many national parks, Acadia has a backlog of maintenance projects, and recently increased admissions fees to help finance some of them.
Originally published May 31, 2019 at 1:23 p.m. ET.