PORTLAND, Maine — Although Maine has more than its share of special places, nothing surpasses the beauty of Acadia National Park. Unfortunately, that beauty is now out of reach. The park’s roads, services and facilities are closed, and anyone who lives more than a thirty-minute drive away is being asked not to come.
The last few years Acadia has drawn about 3.5 million visitors annually, so there are clearly a lot of people who want to know when the park will get back to normal. It’s a question we put to Kevin Schneider, the park’s superintendent.
“I don’t think this summer is going to be like the summers we’ve had in the past,” he says. “I do think it’s going to be different.” There’s no firm timetable for when campgrounds and trails or anything else in the park will again be open. It all depends on what happens with the coronavirus.
When the time does come to start bringing people back, Schneider says, it won’t be as simple as swinging open a gate. As he talks about reopening, he sounds kind of like Dr. Fauci, albeit without the Brooklyn accent. Decisions will be based on the health and well-being of visitors and park employees. “We want to—again—make sure that we are thinking about how we can manage this place,” he says, “how we can welcome visitors in a way that’s safe and responsible.”
For now, the park plans to open the main visitor center on June 1 and the campgrounds on June 15. That’s the plan, but if there’s anything we’ve all learned in the last two months, it’s that plans are written in sand. To find out more about what’s on Superintendent Schneider’s mind, watch our interview.