L.L.Bean Pledges $1 Million to Friends of Acadia for Island Explorer Bus System

L.L.Bean’s new president and CEO Steve Smith and Acadia National Park’s Superintendent Kevin Schneider to make public announcement on July 5

BAR HARBOR—As Acadia National Park launches into the busy summer season during its centennial year, the park will receive a major boost from L.L.Bean, which will announce next week a new $1 million commitment to Friends of Acadia in support of the Island Explorer bus system.

L.L.Bean’s President and CEO Stephen Smith will visit Acadia next week for a public announcement of the $1 million contribution, together with Acadia’s Superintendent Kevin Schneider, scheduled for 1:00 PM on Tuesday, July 5 at the Jordan Pond House. The public is welcome to attend the event.

The propane-powered, low-emissions shuttles that run throughout the park and surrounding communities carried over half a million riders last summer and have become a vital strategy in alleviating automobile traffic during peak visitation times at the park. L.L.Bean has now donated and pledged more than $4 million toward the Island Explorer since 2002.

“We are pleased to continue our support of the Island Explorer bus system,” said Janet Wyper, Manager of Community Relations for L.L.Bean. “L.L.Bean has deep roots in Maine and a long history of supporting conservation projects.” She added, “It’s a natural fit for our company to sponsor the Island Explorer, which has enabled millions of people to enjoy one of Maine’s and the nation’s greatest natural assets, Acadia National Park, in an environmentally-friendly manner.”

Since 1999, the fare-free bus system has carried over 6 million passengers, reduced private vehicle trips by nearly 2.3 million, eliminated over 32 tons of smog-causing pollutants, and reduced more than 21,000 tons of greenhouse gases.

“The Island Explorer bus system has grown into the most significant innovation in enhancing people’s Acadia experience over the last twenty years,” said David MacDonald, President of Friends of Acadia, “and we could not have done it without a committed partner like L.L.Bean.”

As a result of the company’s contributions, the Island Explorer has been able to extend bus service through Columbus Day each year, and the Bicycle Express service was added in 2005. Four vans and two bicycle trailers have carried more than 164,000 cyclists from the Bar Harbor Village Green to the carriage roads at Eagle Lake since the beginning of the Bicycle Express.

Kevin Schneider, Superintendent of Acadia National Park, remarked, “The Island Explorer makes a huge difference in how people experience Acadia. It dramatically improves visitors’ enjoyment of the park by providing convenient access to trailheads and prime destinations, and by reducing traffic and  auto emissions.”

The Island Explorer bus system is managed by another nonprofit partner organization, Downeast Transportation Inc., and the fleet of 30 buses is housed and maintained in a new facility at the Acadia Gateway Center in Trenton. Paul Murphy, General Manager of Downeast Transportation Inc., has long appreciated the key role that L.L.Bean has played in making this service a model alternative transportation system. “Although we rely on many partners to fund operations each year, including the National Park Service and Maine Department of Transportation, all of our local funders really appreciate having L.L. Bean’s leadership to match and exceed their contributions to enable expanded bus operations.”

The Island Explorer began service on June 23 and will operate through Columbus Day weekend, in October. Information is available at area visitor centers, lodging establishments, at the Bar Harbor Village Green, and at www.exploreacadia.com.


About L.L.Bean, Inc.

L.L.Bean, Inc. is a leading multi-channel merchant of quality outdoor gear and apparel. Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, the company began as a one-room operation selling a single product, the Maine Hunting Shoe. Still family owned, Shawn Gorman, the great-grandson of Leon Leonwood Bean, was named Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2013. While its business has grown over the years, L.L.Bean continues to uphold the values of its founder, including his dedication to quality, customer service and a love of the outdoors. L.L.Bean products are rigorously tested, guaranteed to last and always shipped free. In the past 5 years L.L.Bean has donated over $6 million toward conservation and land stewardship. The 220,000 sq. ft. L.L.Bean Retail Store campus in Freeport, ME, is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and welcomes more than 3 million visitors every year. L.L.Bean can be found worldwide at www.llbean.com, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram.

About Friends of Acadia

Friends of Acadia is an independent nonprofit organization and the primary philanthropic partner to Acadia National Park. Its mission is to preserve the outstanding natural beauty, ecological vitality, and cultural distinctiveness of the park and its surrounding communities, for the inspiration and enjoyment of current and future generations. Since 1986, FOA has granted more than $23.7 million for park and community conservation. Friends of Acadia has over 4,500 members and makes possible the employment of more than 150 workers directly serving Acadia. Friends of Acadia can be found online at www.friendsofacadia.org.

About the National Park Service

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 411 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.

The National Park Service will celebrate its centennial in 2016 and is using this opportunity to invite a new generation of Americans, and those who already know and love the parks, to discover what national parks and other public lands mean to them through the Find Your Park campaign.  To learn more or get involved, visit www.FindYourPark.com.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, June 29, 2016
CONTACT:      David MacDonald, President, david@friendsofacadia.org or 207-288-3340