Acadia National Park, as well as state parks in Maine, have seen an uptick in the number of illegal campers in the last few years. Illegal camping includes campers who set up tents or hammocks in unsanctioned sites in the woods or sleep in their vehicles.
Acadia tallied 146 illegal camping incidents in 2019. In 2020, the number of illegal camping cases increased by 35 percent, although the park’s campgrounds did not open that season due to covid restrictions. In 2021, 182 cases of illegal camping were recorded, even though the campgrounds had reopened.
Acadia saw more than 4 million visitors in 2021, the most ever in the park’s history, which could have led to an increase in illegal camping due to people not being able to find a sanctioned site or accommodations in the area. Another reason for the increase could be an overall lack of affordable housing in the Acadia area, which may be encouraging seasonal workers to camp illegally.