BAR HARBOR, Maine — Acadia National Park visitors spent an estimated $274 million in the area last year, according to an economic report released Thursday by the National Park Service.
That spending helped support about 4,200 jobs in the region, the report states.
“Acadia National Park’s extraordinary beauty and recreational opportunities attracted a record number of visitors in 2016, making it the eighth most-visited national park in the country,” Superintendent Kevin Schneider said in a Thursday news release.
The largest chunk of visitor spending, about 33 percent, went toward hotel accommodations, while 18 percent went to restaurants, according to the report. The rest was divided up among recreation, retail, transportation, gas and groceries.
It’s uncertain what 2017 might look like for Acadia and other national parks, with another potential federal government shutdown looming due to a partisan faceoff over spending. Congress reached a deal Sunday that’s expected to avoid a shutdown that some predicted could start as early as this week, but that agreement only lasts through September.
National parks suffered through a similar impasse just a few years ago. In the fall of 2013, a government shutdown shuttered Acadia for 16 days. Park officials reported missing out on 192,600 visitors during that shutdown. They have said the closure could have resulted in as much as $16 million in lost park-related spending in the area, but acknowledged many of those “missing” visitors may have traveled to Mount Desert Island anyway, despite the shutdown.
Nationally, an estimated 331 million park visitors spent $18.4 billion in the areas around national parks throughout the United States last year, according to the report. The spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of NPS.
More information from the 2016 parks economic report is available online at go.nps.gov/vse.
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