The park, centered on Mount Desert Island, gets more than 2 million visitors a year. Richard Rechholtz, the supervising ranger, told the Bangor Daily News that a significant number of those visitors ignore the signs that warn removing rocks and pebbles from the park is illegal.
"This is something that has always been occurring, but seems in the last few years it has gotten worse," Rechholtz said Sunday. "Certain places within the park seem to be targets because those stones on those beaches have round rocks that look so inviting."
Some like to move stones around, building small cairns on beaches and trails, Rechholtz said, describing the mounds as "rock art." That, he said, is also a no-no.
Tony Palumbo, a New Jerseyan who first visited Acadia on his honeymoon almost three decades ago and manages a Facebook page devoted to the region, said visitors should think about what would happen if everyone took just one rock. If more than 2 million vanished in a year, the beaches would soon be stripped.
"It's like anything else when done in excess," he said. "I may only be one person, but we all know that one person is replicated 20, 30 or 50 people a day, and that is not a small problem when you look at it over a year or a number of years."
And Rechholtz said some people take more than one.
"I once saw someone from New York had a station wagon with so many rocks in it, the tires were almost flat," he said. "He was never going to make it back to New York like that. I don't know what people are thinking."
The park preserves more than half of Mount Desert Island, which also has the old summer resort of Bar Harbor, parts of two smaller islands and a small area on the mainland.