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February 6, 2023

Acadia National Park expects hiring, housing crunch to persist this summer

trail and wooden sign File photo / Laurie Schreiber Acadia National Park hosts roughly 4 million visitors a year, with the peak season in summer.

Acadia National Park is looking to renovate space to accommodate the number of seasonal workers it will need this tourist season.

The problem is, there may not be enough people to fill the additional bedrooms.

This year’s tourist season is expected to be one of Acadia National Park’s most challenging as far as hiring and housing seasonal workers go, the park’s superintendent, Kevin Schneider, told the Acadia National Park Advisory Commission at a meeting on Monday.

Acadia is one of the most-visited national parks in the U.S. The busiest months are July, August and September. In 2022, it had 3.97 million visitors, just shy of the park’s record-breaking 4.07 million in 2021.

The park is going through its list of candidates and didn’t have firm numbers yet. But Schneider said the situation could be similar to last year, when the number of seasonal employees hired at Acadia was 20% lower than its goal, in a year that had among the park’s highest rates of visitation.

“We also don’t have enough housing,” he said. 

Looking to mitigate a situation where there are only about 98 beds for the 160 seasonal positions the park wants to hire, Schneider said existing housing units are adding more beds. For example, converting living spaces and sunrooms to bedrooms is being explored. The park is also working with Friends of Acadia to try to create additional housing capacity and has federal budget proposals in the works to improve housing, he said.

Last year, the park’s goal was to hire 150 to 165 seasonal staffers, but had only 116, said Schneider. Empty positions included fee collectors, trail crew and interpretative rangers. “This will be another challenging year for us,” he said.

Like last year, challenges also include inflation, which is causing Acadia salaries to be comparable or even below many hospitality positions in surrounding communities, he said.

Seasonal, entry-level workers at Acadia will make $18 an hour this summer, supervisors $22 and campground custodians $17 to $19 per hour. 

“That’s commensurate with other seasonal positions in the community,” Schneider said. 

Pay grades, he added, are determined at the national level.

“We don’t have any discretion,” he said. 

Additionally, he continued, the application process for federal jobs is arduous and requires a background check, and the hiring process is slow.


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