BAR HARBOR — A new report says Acadia National Park isn’t just a pretty place to visit, it’s crucial to the region’s economy.

The National Park Service announced Tuesday that the 47,000-acre park on Maine’s coast attracted 2.4 million visitors in 2011, who created $186 million in economic benefits for the surrounding communities and helped support 3,000 jobs.

The information is part of a peer-reviewed spending analysis of national park visitors across the country conducted by Michigan State University for the National Park Service.

Superintendent Sheridan Steele says Acadia attracts visitors with its “unparalleled scenery and extraordinary recreational opportunities.”

Most visitor spending, about 63 percent, supports jobs in lodging and food service, while 17 percent is spent on recreation and entertainment.

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