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Acadia National Park will join several coastal state parks when it starts shedding some coronavirus restrictions and opening its Park Loop Road on June 1.
Two Acadia concessioners, Jordan Pond House Gift Shop and the Cadillac Mountain Eco Store, will open on that day, as will Jordan Pond House Restaurant. The restaurant will offer takeout and indoor and outdoor seating daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., park spokeswoman Christie Anastasia said Thursday.
The state’s largest single tourist attraction and one of the busiest national parks in the National Park Service, Acadia’s gradual reopening is likely the state recreation and tourism industry’s biggest hope for salvaging something of a tourist season devastated by the pandemic.
Exactly how well the industry will fare starting June 1 is unclear, especially since all visitors to Maine are still subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Ten state parks will also open on June 1, according to the state Bureau of Parks and Lands. They are: Crescent Beach, Kettle Cove, Popham Beach, Reid, Scarborough Beach, Two Lights and Ferry Beach state parks; Forts Baldwin and Popham; and Mackworth Island.
Acadia National Park effectively closed itself to visitors by shutting down almost all of its off-season functions with a total ban on visitors effective on March 26. It announced the extension of its coronavirus shutdown by another month on April 17. Superintendent Kevin Schneider said he hopes for a smooth and safe opening to the season.
“We have closely aligned our operations with the State of Maine’s phased reopening,” Schneider said. “Our adapted operations will place the safety of our visitors, employees, local communities, and volunteers as the highest priority.”
Most park restrooms will open on June 1, and park rangers will provide “limited information services to the public” starting that day in open air tents outside of the Hulls Cove Visitor Center, Anastasia said. Entry fees will be charged the Loop Road opens and are available at recreation.gov. Visitors should display them on the dashboards of their vehicles.
Other park features will start reopening throughout next month. Carriages of Acadia at Wildwood Stables is expected to resume some services in mid-June. Starting June 5, carriage roads will be open to pedestrians only, due to washout conditions that make bicycle and motor vehicle travel unsafe. The Sand Beach entrance station is scheduled to open by June 8 for credit card purchases of park passes, Anastasia said.
Several things remain closed. The Island Explorer bus service is postponed for 2020. Park campgrounds and all fee stations except Sand Beach will remain closed until at least July 1. The park will re-evaluate the opening schedule for the season over the next month and may reverse or further delay openings, Anastasia said.
Campers with advance reservations will be contacted and refunded by recreation.gov. The park encourages visitors to use private campgrounds near Acadia or to contact local chambers of commerce for more information.
All visitors will be required to wear masks and observe social distancing, Anastasia said. More information on the park is available at nps.gov or at 207-288-3338.
Watch: Maine CDC press conference, May 28