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A Milestone on MDI 

Wayne Harvey

Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island draw a lot of visitors.And that can cause parking problems and pollution.So in 1999 the Island Explorer bus was established. That first year 17-hundred people took advantage of the bus.Now it’s free for all to ride and the ridership has reached a major milestone.It started on Monday morning.Al and Jacque Pulsipher and their granddaughters Sydney and Jordan Casey were leaving their RV at Black Woods Camping Area and grabbing the Island Explorer to go to Sand Beach in Acadia National Park.It just happened that they picked the bus with a member of Friends of Acadia on board.”Well Jennifer was hiding in the back of the bus and after we told the driver where we wanted to go and asked for a little advice,” said Jacque. ” And then she got up and said well would you mind taking a little detour.”The detour took them into Bar Harbor to the Village Green, where a group of well wishers were waiting for them to step off the bus, and they were greeted by the Friends of Acadia President Marla O’Bryne.” And I’d like you to join me in thanking them for choosing to ride the Island Explorer bus service, being our three millionth passengers and your choices helped protect Acadia’s resources and reduce air pollution in the area. So Thank You.”The irony is that Jacque and Al rode the Island Explorer the first year it was in operation as well.”We were up here on a boat both the summer of 99. Summer of 98 and Summer of 99, and we were happy in 99 to find the bus system existed,” Al said. ” Because at that point we had no car so outside of our bikes which we carried on the boat the bus was great go us all over the island at that point.”Paul Murphy is the General Manager of Downeast Transportation and he didn’t think it was ironic but, “It certainly was fortuitous it was just sheer luck and I think that’s just great.”O’Bryne said, ” I was so pleased to see that they had ridden it the first year of operation and came back and brought their grandchildren and really set and example for their grandkids on how to visit a National Park and be light on the land.”Len Bobinchock is the Deputy Superintendent of Acadia National Park and he is amazed at the growth of the Island Explorer ” I mean this is fantastic, none of us had any idea that this system would be so succesful you know we all knew something like the Island Explorer was needed and people would use it but I think this far exceeds any of our expectations.”And after a gift pack and gift card from LL Bean and a Gift Membership to Acadia National Park the lucky family was still surprised, according to the Pulsiphers.”I think it was quite an opportunity and shock but it’s something fun we don’t get to be the three millionth of anything usually but that’s nice.”