Acadia National Park announced Wednesday that it is indefinitely shutting down public access because of the coronavirus outbreak.

All park roads, facilities, restrooms, carriage roads, campgrounds, visitor centers and visitor services will close Thursday and remain so indefinitely, the National Park Service said on Acadia’s website.

“Continuing to keep park facilities open is encouraging visitors from outside local communities; this is placing local residents, health care workers and first responders at risk” said park Superintendent Kevin Schneider. “The park and area first responders do not have adequate masks or other protective equipment to assist visitors. The choice you take to enjoy a hike in the park could put someone else needing care related to COVID-19 in danger.”

Park Loop Road and Ocean Drive will be closed to vehicles during the shutdown. Park Loop Road is a 27-mile-long road that begins at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center and connects visitors with the park’s lakes, mountains, trails and coastline.

“The park is effectively closed. There are no open restrooms in the entire park,” Acadia National Park spokeswoman Christie Anastasia said in an email Wednesday evening.

Acadia attracts about 3.5 million visitors a year, making it one of the 10 most visited national parks in the country. The National Park Service said that in 2019 Acadia had the seventh highest number of visitors among the national parks, more than Grand Teton and Olympic national parks, and just behind Yellowstone and Yosemite.

Park service officials said they made the move in part to align with Maine Gov. Janet Mills’ declaration of a state of emergency as well as that of the Bar Harbor Town Council, which declared a pandemic emergency last week.

“The Bar Harbor Town Council appreciates our visitor and tourist-based businesses, but at this time we recommend that everyone stay home and avoid unnecessary travel. The town’s tourist services such as food and bathroom facilities are very limited,” the council said.

No cruise ships will be allowed to visit Bar Harbor until at least May 1st, councilors stated in their declaration.

Acadia officials are also concerned about having to respond to emergencies – such as an injured hiker – that might expose a ranger or staff person to the virus if the park were open.

The park service describes Acadia on its website as the crown jewel of the North Atlantic coast, hosting about 3.5 million visitors a year.

The National Park Service says most national parks and outdoors spaces will remain open, but that conditions could change suddenly. In the meantime, the park service is encouraging people to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people and to adhere to guidelines governing social distancing.

“Park superintendents are empowered to modify their operations, including closing facilities and cancelling programs, to address the spread of the coronavirus,” Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said in a statement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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