BAR HARBOR – When folks visit Acadia National park, they also spend money in Bar Harbor and neighboring communities and that benefits everyone.
The National Park Service says visitation and spending are up and that means more jobs and more benefits for the local economy.
The U.S. Geological Survey and National Park Service released a study on Monday that says visitors spent $284 million in 2017 and that spending supported more than 4,100 jobs.
“Visitors rent cars, they stay in hotels. They stay in campgrounds outside of the park, they buy food at restaurant, they go to the grocery store. There is a variety of things they do,” said Christie Anastasia, a spokeswoman for the National Park Service.
A lot more people visited the park in 2017, compared to 2016.
“In 2017 we went from 3.2 million visitors to 3.5 million visitors, so if you look at that visitation trend over the past ten years, it’s been a 59 percent increase in visitation,” Anastasia said.
The study looks at lodging, food, gas, oil and transportation purchases, as well as park admissions and other items such as souvenir sales.
“It’s wonderful to have people coming from all over the country and the world to see what our Maine artist have to offer,” said Christina Stavnesli of Acadia Image Arts, a family owned sourvenir business that features mostly Maine artists.
The National Park Service annually conducts the economic benefits analysis and looks at around 60 surrounding communities. The study says for 2017, there was a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $338 million.
“We rely on guest play or public play as well as our membership play so it impacts us greatly,” said Peiter Devos, the PGA Professional for Kebo Valley Golf Course.
It was also announced that the increasing visitation numbers for Acadia has earned it the seventh most visited park in the nation.
“People love Acadia,” Anastasia said. “People come here and they fall in love with it.”