Acadia National Park in Maine is temporarily shutting down in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Park officials announced the closing of the carriage trails, Park Loop Road, campgrounds, visitor centers, visitor services and all restrooms until further notice. The only remaining park services will be those that support the protection of natural resources.
Christie Anastasia, public affairs specialist for the park, said the decision to close was made when officials saw an influx of visitors despite calls for social distancing.
"Last weekend, because the schools weren't open and the weather was nice, we saw way more vehicles and way more people than we normally do," Anastasia said. "We got very concerned."
Anastasia added that local communities were also getting nervous with the addition of more visitors to the area.
"Most of our trails are fairly narrow and it's impossible to pass another group on our trail without violating the six-foot distance recommendation," Anastasia said.
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Park officials said the move complies with state and local orders aimed at preventing gatherings and promoting social distancing.
David MacDonald, president of Friends of Acadia, called it “prudent action.”
“The announced closures show that the park’s top priority is protecting the safety of the public, its staff, volunteers, partners and neighbors,” he said.
Cornell Knight, town manager for nearby Bar Harbor, was pleased with the decision to close the park due to the lack of personal protective equipment his community can provide.
"If you can lower the risk of needing to use that.. we're very pleased," Knight said.
Elsewhere in Maine, town officials have closed beaches in York, Wells, Ogunquit and Kittery in response to gatherings of large numbers of people.