Report: Acadia National Park experienced massive decline in visits, revenue from government shutdown in October
BAR HARBOR, Maine — A report issued Monday by the National Park Service said Acadia National Park lost almost 200,000 visits and $16 million in visitor spending from the 16-day federal government shutdown in October 2013.
Across the country, the report said, national parks experienced an overall decline of 7.8 million visitors compared with 2012. The agency calculated the lost revenue at national parks at $414 million, out of total revenue of more than $14 billion generated annually by the parks.
In October 2012, according to the report, Acadia National Park had 287,000 visits that generated more than $24.1 million in visitor spending. In October 2013, the shutdown month, Acadia had only 94,000 visits that generated $8 million in spending.
Only two other parks in the U.S. — Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and Great Smokey Mountains National Park in Tennessee — lost more total dollars due to the shutdown than Acadia, according to the report.
The report’s numbers confirm anecdotal observations from Bar Harbor-area businesses during the shutdown, who said the shutdown decreased traffic to the tourism-dependent community and forced decisions on hiring, layoffs and hours of operation.
In December, retail sales figures released by the Maine Bureau of Revenue Service showed October 2013 sales revenue in Bar Harbor was down nearly $1 million from the prior year.
Chris Fogg, executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, wrote in December 2013 t hat the shutdown’s losses will be remembered as significant.
“Because of the shutdown, the phones stopped ringing at local hotels. Visitors from China who had planned to visit multiple national parks on their trip to America were disappointed not to be able to drive to Cadillac Mountain, see the Liberty Bell or tour the Smithsonian. One hotel in the Bar Harbor area reported a loss of $33,000, while another reported as many as 182 room cancellations,” he said.
A previous version of this story said Acadia National Park lost $24 million in visitor spending from the 16-day federal government shutdown. The park reportedly lost $16 million.