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May 8, 2018

Acadia National Park visitors spent $280M last year

Photo / David Clough
Photo / David Clough
Visitors to Acadia National Park spent $284 million in 2017, a $10 million increase over the previous year, according to a National Park Service study.

A National Park Service study says that visitors to Acadia National Park spent $284 million in 2017, a $10 million increase over the previous year.

The study reported that 2017's spending supported 4,163 jobs with a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $338 million.

It also showed a steady upward trend over the past five years, with $192 million spent in 2013; $222 million in 2014; $249 million in 2015; $275 million in 2016.

According to the NPS study, released May 7, Acadia in 2017 was the seventh most-visited national park in the country.

Most park visitor spending was for lodging/camping (32.9%) followed by food and beverages (27.5%), gas and oil (12.1%), souvenirs and other expenses (10.1%), admissions and fees (10%), and local transportation (7.5%).

Those numbers compare with 2016, when the NPS reported that visitors spent an estimated $274 million, which supported about 4,200 jobs. About about 33% of visitor spending in 2016 went toward hotel accommodations, 18% toward restaurants, and the rest toward recreation, retail, transportation, gas and groceries. According to a news release from Acadia at the time, the spending had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $333 million.

By November 2017, the number of visitors to Acadia was just under 3.5 million. In January, the Mount Desert Islander reported the number is a record that eclipses 2016's record-setting number of 3.3 million for the entire year. The number is split between Acadia's two sections: The Mount Desert Island section saw 2.91 million visitors, up 0.9% over the same period last year. The Schoodic section saw a 4.1% increase to 293,933 and visitation to Isle au Haut was up 1% to 8,781.

National parks: $35.8B impact on U.S. economy

The peer-reviewed visitor spending nationwide analysis for national parks was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service.

The report shows $18.2 billion of direct spending by more than 330 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 306,000 jobs nationally; 255,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $35.8 billion.

Nationally, the report showed $18.4 billion of direct spending by 331 million park visitors in counties within 60 miles of a national park. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was about $35 billion. Tourism to national parks returns more than $10 to the national economy for every $1 invested in the NPS. An interactive tool provided with the report showed the visitor spending number is up from $248.6 million spent in 2015.

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