National Park Tourism in Maine Creates $770 Million in Economic Output

New report shows visitor spending supports more than 7,000 jobs in Maine.

Hikers take in the view of Frenchman Bay from the summit of the Beehive in Acadia National Park, Monday, August 16, 2021. (Lily LaRegina/Friends of Acadia)

PHILADELPHIA – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that visitors to national parks in Maine spent $490 million in 2021. The total of 4.1 million visits supported 7,070 jobs and had a cumulative economic output of $770 million.

“National parks are a vital part of our nation’s economy, especially for park gateway communities where millions of visitors each year find a place to sleep and eat and make use of other local services that help drive a vibrant tourism and outdoor recreation industry,” said Deputy Regional Director Debbie Conway. “Visitors to Maine can find exciting recreational opportunities and learning experiences in and around our national parks.”

The national parks in Maine that were included in the report are Acadia National Park, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, and Saint Croix Island International Historic Site.

“Acadia National Park’s extraordinary beauty and recreational opportunities attracted a record of over 4 million visits, making it the sixth most-visited national park in the country in 2021,” said Superintendent Kevin Schneider. “We value our relationship with the neighboring communities and appreciate the services, experiences, and amenities they provide to visitors.”

According to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument Superintendent Mark Wimmer, “Visitation has gradually increased to approximately 40,000 annual visits, supporting local jobs in surrounding communities including Patten, Sherman, Medway and Millinocket. We look forward to continuing our efforts to ensure that the Monument becomes a well-known destination in northern Maine.”

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists at the NPS and U.S. Geological Survey. In 2021, the National Park System received over 297 million recreation visits (up 25% from 2020). Visitors to national parks spent an estimated $20.5 billion in local gateway regions (up 41% from 2020). The estimated contribution of this spending to the national economy was 322,600 jobs, $14.6 billion in labor income, $24.3 billion in value added, and $42.5 billion in economic output. The lodging sector saw the highest direct effects, with $7 billion in economic output directly contributed to this sector nationally. The restaurant sector saw the next greatest effects, with $4.2 billion in economic output directly contributed to this sector nationally.

Report authors also produced an interactive tool that enables users to explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage:

To learn more about national parks in Maine and how the NPS works with Maine communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment and provide outdoor recreation, go to