BAR HARBOR, Maine — During the federal government shutdown in December and January--the longest in United States history-- National Parks around the country lost significant planning and hiring time.
Acadia National Park is still feeling the shutdown's effects as it prepares to welcome visitors this summer.
Park Spokesperson Christie Anastasia says, "You can't lose 10% of a year and not have an impact."
In order to make up for the lost 35 days of work, park staff has had to constantly reprioritize which work gets done.
Anastasia says the park's top priority is preparing for this year's summer visitors-- all three and a half million of them.
"We've made hiring seasonals, opening facilities and opening roads a really high priority so when people come to the park they can have the best possible experience they can have," says Anastasia.
With the time crunch, the park is putting less focus on long term projects.
Anastasia says, "Some of our planning efforts, some of the things that happen behind the scenes, we've pushed off or put on a longer time frame."
The president of the non-profit group Friends of Acadia David MacDonald says, "Research, monitoring, addressing deferred maintenance, all long term work is being pushed further back."
MacDonald recently spoke to Maine's elected officials in Washington D.C. about the various impacts of the shutdown.
"They're very concerned about the short term impacts of the shutdown, but they're also reminded that the parks are here forever. Unlike most businesses, their mission is to take care of the resources to make sure it's here in perpetuity," says MacDonald.
So while summer 2019 visitors will experience business as usual, concern lingers over the visitors of years to come.
MacDonald says, "I think the vast majority of visitors will be welcomed, they'll have a great experience. It's the longer term that we worry about."