Officials in Acadia National Park on March 26, closed Ocean Drive along with all restrooms and winter visitor centers, and suspended off-season visitor services. The Park Loop Road, which was closed as usual for the winter, and the Carriage Roads, which were closed earlier this month due to mud season, will remain closed until further notice. Campgrounds will remain closed.
The adjustments in operations were made in support of federal, state, and local efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and with guidance from the State of Maine CDC and other health authorities.
The park had been urged by officials in area towns and Governor Janet Mills to address visitation at a time when Maine citizens were being advised to minimize travel and maintain social distancing. Few visitor-oriented businesses remain open on Mount Desert Island and the hospital and local emergency medical services have limited capacities.
“The National Park Service (NPS) is working service wide with federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Acadia Public Affairs Specialist Christie Anastasia. “We will notify the public when we resume full operations and provide updates on our website nps.gov/acad and social media channels.
“As have many Maine individuals, businesses, and institutions, Acadia is taking prudent action in response to the Coronavirus threat,” said David MacDonald President of Friends of Acadia. “The announced closures show that the park’s top priority is protecting the safety of the public, its staff, volunteers, partners and neighbors. We stand ready to assist our partners at the park as needed in the days and weeks ahead.”
Although the FOA office in Bar Harbor is closed, staff continues to work remotely to advance organizational programs and initiatives.
The National Park Service encourages people during this pandemic to adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local public health authorities.
ACADIA NATIONAL PARK — Officials here released visitor advisory information on Monday, March 23, as federal, state, and local authorities work to minimize the spread of Coronavirus.
“The health and safety of Acadia’s visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners is our number one priority,” said park public affairs specialist Christie Anastasia.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for this pandemic includes physical (social) distancing even while outdoors. “We are concerned that recent visitation patterns have been in violation of CDC recommendations,” Anastasia added. Visitors should stay at least six feet away from people outside their immediate household. That includes while hiking, bicycling, walking, strolling on Sand Beach, or while transiting parking areas.
Nearly all the Park Loop Road remains closed for the winter, no food is available in the park, and there are no open restrooms or campgrounds.
She noted that Acadia, and the surrounding communities, currently have very limited shoulder-season services, which are further reduced by COVID-19 response.
Bar Harbor officials have issued a statement requesting that everyone stay home and avoid unnecessary travel. The state’s closure of restaurants and taverns means food service and restroom availability is very limited.
Things to keep in mind:
* If you are considering coming to the park from a distance, please be aware that Maine Governor Janet Mills has issued an Executive Order banning gatherings of more than 10 people and prohibiting dine-in service at bars and restaurants.
* In the event of an injury or other emergency, nearby medical service providers are limited. Rescue response may be delayed. Each incident increases risks for park staff and area first responders.
* Carriage roads are still closed to allow for protection of the road surface until dry enough for pedestrian traffic. Many violations of this closure have been noted recently. “Please help us take care of the carriage roads by staying off of them while the mud season closure is in effect,” said Anastasia.
* There are currently no in-person visitor information services available. Both the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center and the Rockefeller Welcome Center remain closed.
If you choose to visit:
* The National Park Service (NPS) urges people who visit Acadia during this pandemic to adhere to guidance from CDC and state and local public health authorities to protect visitors and employees.
* While outdoor spaces remain accessible to the public in accordance with the latest health guidance, seek out areas that are not crowded to allow for adequate physical (social) distancing.
* If you encounter a crowded trailhead, go elsewhere.
* As services are limited, the NPS urges visitors to continue to practice “Leave No Trace” principles, including pack-in and pack-out, to keep outdoor spaces safe and healthy.
* If you need to drive more than 30 minutes to reach a park trailhead, consider staying closer to home to enjoy fresh air and outdoor activity. Many neighborhoods are walkable or have trails nearby accessed by foot or bicycle.
According to Anastasia, park officials are closely monitoring COVID-19 with the federal, state, and local authorities. For updates, visit www.nps.gov/coronavirus
To contact park officials, call (207) 288-3338 daily, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or email Acadia_Information@nps.gov.
Off-season trip planning information is available online. At Acadia, there are no in-person services available for visitors at this time.
For updates be sure to check the Friends of Acadia Facebook page.