Marissa Gray of Mount Desert Island stepped off an Acadia National Parks Island Explorer Bus to discover that she was the system's 5 millionth passenger.
Park representatives, along with officials with retailer L.L. Bean, the Maine Department of Transportation, the group Friends of Acadia, and Downeast Transportation presented Gray with a goodie bag and an L.L. Bean gift card, along with a membership to Friends of Acadia.
Gray is a year-round Mount Desert Island resident and a student at MDI High School. Park officials say she got on the Island Explorer in Otter Creek to commute to her summer job in Bar Harbor.
The free bus system, established in 1999, is powered by propane, and runs through the national park and nearby communities. Park officials say the bus system has eliminated nearly 2 million private vehicle trips, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 thousand tons, and smog-producing pollutants by 26 tons.
Funds to operate the bus system are provided by Acadia National Park, the U.S. and Maine Departments of Transportation, local towns, and some businesses that get front door service. Contributions also come from L.L.Bean, Friends of Acadia and passenger donations.