For the first winter ever, Acadia National Park is collecting entry fees. So you might think that would slow down attendance.

But that is not so. Actually, through January they have raised more than a half-million dollars.

Yes, that is a nice amount of money. And it’s needed.

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That $564,803 will go towards operating costs at the park. The open section of Ocean Drive has been plowed more consistently this winter.  Those funds also help keep restrooms open and operating and pay for grooming of the carriage roads for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

Attendance in the winter which used to be no charge to visitors has been steadily growing. It has doubled over the past decade, so Park Officials expected that most would continue to use the park in the winter, even with the new entry fees in place.

And it’s bringing in needed resources.

From Acadia on my Mind website, Superintendent Kevin Schneider says

We did not collect entrance fees in the winter in the past, but it has gone very, very smoothly. We have not gotten a lot of pushback from park visitors, which is great. People have embraced entrance fees I think and understand the importance of it.

Mainers know all the treasure that Acadia National Park is, but its popularity is also growing outside of our state and the New England region.

Acadia has become the 6th most popular National Park in our nation.

And 2021 was the park's best year ever.  A record-setting year for annual visits, exceeding 4 million for the first time last year.

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Visitors can purchase a full range of entrance passes online or in person at the Sand Beach Entrance Station.

A 7-day pass for a private vehicle costs $30 and an annual pass is $55.

And winter is a spectacular time to visit.

Thunder Hole Encased In Ice