Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands: December Events and News

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Events & News

Maine State Parks

December 2018

Bureau of Parks and Lands staff in winter photo

Happy Holidays from all of us at the Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands.

First Day Hikes - State Parks Nationwide Hike in the New Year!

First Day Hikes logo showing January 1 on calendar and a hiker symbol.

Mark your calendar now to ring in the New Year with select State Parks on New Year's Day.  This annual event, in partnership with the National Association of America's State Parks, inspired nearly 55,000 people across the country last year to collectively walk over 133,000 miles on the guided hikes, that included snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, on New Year's Day.

First Day Hikes are being offer at the following locations. Click on the links for each site's details:

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88 Sites Revised & New Campground Map - Sebago Lake State Park

Campsite at Sebago Lake State Park with autumn foliage and lake in background; picnic table and fire ring in foreground.

Dear Sebago Campers,

The Bureau of Parks and Lands cares deeply about satisfying its customers. We review the reservations system each season with goals of improvement, more accessibility and equity, while following our mission to protect and manage Maine’s natural resources.

Over the fall months, the Sebago Lake State Park Campground staff visited all 250 campsites and carefully measured the space allotted for equipment and vehicles. Although no sites were physically changed, site size adjustments have been made to 88 campsites. Before booking your reservation on opening day (February 1, 2019, 9:00 AM), please review the

Contact the Sebago Lake State Park Campground staff, if you have any questions about these “size” changes at 207-693-6231.

We look forward to your visit to Maine State Parks next season!

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Hike-ku of the Month

View out a golden tent flap door with booted leg extending toward the snow.

Night’s dark fabric pulls-
stretched to the point of breaking.
Cold moonbeams kiss snow.

This December, as the holidays nearly reach their sometimes fever-pitch, two natural cycles almost sync. Friday, December 21st marks the annual Winter Solstice with our longest night of the year. That same night, the December “Cold” moon will have nearly reached its December maximum (the full moon will peak the next night). Much if not all our state may likely be covered in snow as these two celestial events converge.

Consider taking an evening pilgrimage where city lights do not complete with the sky's brilliance, to celebrate the seasons, cycles of nature, and family. Dress well and remember the oncoming days will only grow longer!

Winter camp at our designated locations and you'll be able to enjoy the stars from your tent. Read on below for Winter camping tips.

Please note that day-use hours at State Parks are 9:00 a.m. to sunset, so evening entry is not permitted except for designated winter camping. Public Lands allow 24/7 access, though most often are not plowed.

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Winter Camping

Winter woods scene with hiker getting ready to set up a winter camp.

Camping during the winter can be a truly magical experience. The dry air makes star gazing fantastic, the snow cover makes tracking easy, and camping at a location where you can cross-country ski, skate, or snowshoe saves the commute of day trips and off-site accommodations.

You can be toasty warm when winter camping and recreating. All it takes is a bit of preparation. Here are some tips for making your winter camping this season the best ever.

Be Prepared:

  • for changing weather conditions (both you and your car),
  • to provide your own first aid, and
  • to not count on your cell phone, which in Maine can be very unreliable,
  • know your limits, and those of your companions (outdoor skills & physical ability),
  • refresh your outdoor skills & consider an easy adventure to start the winter season.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife offers courses for youth and their families to learn lifelong outdoor skills through Camp North Woods, Maine Youth Field Days, and the Hooked on Fishing program. The Becoming an Outdoors Woman program offers the opportunity to learn hunting, fishing and outdoor skills in a non-competitive atmosphere along with other like-minded women.

Registered Maine Guides are outdoor experts. Call on them to lead you into areas where you have not yet traveled, or to add a special focus to your trip such as fishing, canoeing, or Maine yarns and history.

Winter Camping Locations

Did you know that you can camp during the winter at the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, select State Parks, and on Public Lands?

Allagash Wilderness Waterway 
Registration for winter campsites in the Allagash Wilderness Waterway will be held at Chamberlain Bridge on Saturday, December 8, 2018. Campsites will be allotted on a first come first serve basis, the registration will start promptly at 8:00 am. 

State Parks and Public Lands
Winter camping is primitive tent camping: no water or cleared sites. Bring your own water, snow shovel, and tent.

The State Park locations are great for those who want to camp a bit closer to local amenities, are sharing winter camping with others for the first time, or want to enjoy groomed cross country ski trails (Aroostook State Park, Mount Blue State Park, Sebago Lake State Park  or an outdoor ice skating rink with warming yurt (Mount Blue State Park); and oh what a view!

Camping on the Public Lands is an outback experience in the summer. In the winter you need to be an experienced winter camper and completely prepared to take care of yourself. It is truly an outback experience. 

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The Camp Cook

Dublin Coddle


  • 5 medium potatoes
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 8 slices of bacon
  • 8 Irish pork sausages
  • black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • small bunch of fresh parsley
  • Chicken stock

Put sausages, sliced carrot, sliced peeled onion and bacon (cut in bite sized pieces) in enough stock to cover them in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, add herbs and seasoning and simmer for 30 minutes. Peel and quarter the potatoes and add to Dutch oven for final 20 minutes or until they are tender.

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Do Something Different with the Maine Conservation Corps

Photo montage showing Maine Conservation Corps Environmental Stewards and Field Team Members at their assigned locations.

MCC Field Teams serving at Grafton Notch State Park and Baxter State Park, and Environmental Stewards sampling macro-invertebrates, and working at the Wolfe's Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment.

Maine Conservation Corps Environmental Stewards volunteering at Quoddy Head State Park.

Interested in a career in Natural Resources, or know somebody who is? Check out the Maine Conservation Corps (MCC)! MCC is an AmeriCorps Program housed under the Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry. Each year, MCC hires for many different conservation related positions. In 2019, we will be filling approximately 112 positions, that will accomplish conservation initiatives throughout the state of Maine.

(Photo: Environmental Stewards volunteering at Quoddy Head State Park.)

These positions include:

  • Environmental Stewards: June - November
  • Field Team Members: June - October

These are great entry level positions, and our members gain valuable experience and contacts within the field of natural resources. Just a few places our members have served in the past include:

  • Baxter State Park
  • Mt. Blue State Park
  • Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education
  • Biological Research Institute at Riverpoint
  • Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment

Not ready to commit to a term of service with the Maine Conservation Corps? Come volunteer with us! Opportunities available for individuals and groups!

To learn more about the Maine Conservation Corps, and how you can get involved, please visit our website!

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Holiday Gifts that Show Your Support

Maine State Parks Blend coffee by Wicked Joe - picture of bag.

This holiday season show your support for Maine's beautiful Parks, Public Lands, trails, and conservation efforts when gift giving. Here are some  suggestions: 

And, you can still order the limited edition, signed Allagash Wilderness Waterway prints. ($50. plus tax and shipping and handling.) Call 207-695-3721 x 3 to order.

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December Reads - Books We Recommend

A Field Guide to Mammal Tracking in North America by James Halfpenny.

This is a fantastic user-friendly guide to mammal tracking with excellent drawings and concise text. Whether an experienced tracker or beginner, this book is a great resource. Cover the basics to advanced techniques. Scatology section includes related index of photographs for help in identifying scat throughout the seasons. There is also a New England version: Scat and Tracks of the Northeast: A Field Guide to the Signs of Seventy Wildlife Species.

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Book cover of James C Halfpenny's Mammal Tracking field guide.

Programs & Events

Snowshoer looking over a snow covered wooded valley and mt. range.

Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park



First Day Hikes - January 1, 2019:

Take it Outside! this Winter

Save the dates now for the Take it Outside Winter Fun Days and Ice Fishing events. And check back to find out when the Ski & Snowshoe trailer will be at a park near you with free equipment loans. Check on the full 2019 schedule of events.