BAR HARBOR — Ten years after it first started providing free rides to help ease the summertime congestion on Mount Desert Island, the Island Explorer celebrated the milestone of its 3 millionth passenger on Monday.
Officials with the bus system, Acadia National Park and Friends of Acadia on Monday morning met a group of four people who rode into downtown Bar Harbor on one of the system’s propane-powered buses. Annapolis, Md. residents Al and Jackie Pulsifer, who are vacationing on MDI with their granddaughters Jordan and Sydney Casey, were estimated to have pushed the bus system past the 3-million passenger milestone when they boarded an Island Explorer bus a few minutes earlier in the village of Otter Creek.
When they stepped off the bus at the local Village Green, the Pulsifers and their granddaughters were greeted by cameras, officials connected with the Island Explorer bus system, and reporters.
“Thank you for using the Island Explorer bus system,” Len Bobinchock, deputy superintendent for Acadia, told the foursome. “We have a very serious parking problem in Acadia National Park and by using the bus system, you help protect the park’s resources.”
The bus system began it first year of operations in 1999 to help ease the crush of tourists and seasonal residents and workers who inhabit MDI every summer. The bus system, which is funded through public and private sources, operates on and near MDI and throughout the park from late June through mid-October. Part of the Island Explorer funding includes a $1 million gift it received in 2002 from L.L. Bean.