A study released Monday claims that visitors to Acadia National Park last year spent $284 million in support of about 4,163 jobs with a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $338 million.
The annual economic benefits analysis released by the National Park Service showed that most park visitor spending was for lodging and camping (32.9 percent), food and beverages (27.5 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (10.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.0 percent), and local transportation (7.5 percent).
The report indicated increases in several economic benefits derived from Acadia visitors over those accumulated in 2016, the year of the park service’s 100th anniversary. Park service officials do the annual series of estimates to underscore the importance of the park service’s 417 sites to local economies.
The $284 million and $338 million estimates represent all-time highs. Park Superintendent Kevin Schneider complimented the Hancock County towns for helping make Acadia attractive to visitors. Acadia was the seventh-most visited park in the nation in 2017, attracting a record 3,509,271 recreation visits in 2017.
The 2017 visitation estimates represent a 6.2 percent increase over the all-time high set the previous year. Acadia rose from being the eighth-most visited park in 2016, according to National Park Service estimates.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most-visited national park in 2017, had 11.33 million estimated visitations. Yellowstone National Park edged Acadia and finished sixth in visitations with 4,116,524 in 2017.
In 2016, about 3.3 million visitations were reported, spending an estimated $274 million in the area in support of about 4,200 jobs in the region. In 2015, Acadia’s 2.81 million visits resulted in $248 million in direct visitor spending in the communities on Mount Desert Island in support of 3,878 jobs, the report states.
Acadia has had annual increases in visitations since 2013, when the park was closed for 16 days in October because of a federal government shutdown. Direct visitor spending that year decreased by about $8.5 million to $191.5 million from $200 million the prior year, Acadia officials have said.
Acadia first received federal designation in 1916 as Sieur de Monts National Monument and became Lafayette National Park in 1919. The name was changed to Acadia in 1929.
The park service hosted 330,882,751 visits in 2017, slightly down from a record-setting 330,971,689 the previous year.