BAR HARBOR – Last year was a banner year for Mount Desert Island with the park’s centennial. Local businesses and park rangers are gearing up for this tourism season.
For over a 100 years Acadia National Park remains a major landmark in Mount Desert Island (MDI), blessing the community with views of the wildlife and crystal clear waters. Last year it brought it over three million people from across the world to enjoy all that it has to offer.
“We had an economic impact on the surrounding counties of about $274 million in visitors spending. That overall created a $333 million contributing to 4,200 jobs in the area,” said John Kelly, the management assistant at Acadia National Park.
So far, visitation is a little down compared to last year, but it’s still early. Officials believe that this year will also be a very busy year.
“So that will bring even more economic benefit to the communities based on this economic study that we have done for the last 5 or 6 years,” said Kelly.
But the park isn’t the only thing gearing up for this tourism season. Local businesses are expecting an even larger number of people this year.
“We are definitely planning for the same number of people. Same business – the same excitement.,” said Marie Yarborough, the owner of Mache Bistro, “It doesn’t mean we won’t get tired come August like everyone else. We definitely know this is the new normal and we’re excited about that.”
And if you’re someone who is looking for something more quiet to do, take a trip on the other-side of the island to Tremont. Businesses like the Seal Cove Auto Museum brings visitors back in time with its collection of automobiles from the early 1800s.
“With over 3 million visitors last year, if you want to escape all of that, this is the place to be – it’s just as beautiful,” said Raney Bench, the executive director of the Seal Cove Museum.
The Seal Auto Museum attracts visitors with special events like touch a truck and free entry for mothers – all happening this weekend.