Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands: November Newsletter

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page. Bookmark and Share

Events & News

Maine State Parks

November 2020

Director's Note: A Record Breaking Season

Campsite tent set up then a s'more at the campfire.

Tent site set-up then a s'more by the fire.

When the opening of Maine’s State Park campgrounds was delayed this spring, I doubt anyone imagined the truly exceptional season that would follow. In 2020 Maine’s State Parks set an all-time record for campers, with a whopping 270,974 (and counting -- October numbers have not yet been tallied)! The most notable surge was by Maine families, who jumped at the chance to revisit their favorite Maine places and explore new ones. I did my best to personally boost those campground statistics, spending weekends with family and friends at Lamoine, Camden Hills, Rangeley Lake, and Lily Bay State Parks. While I’m thrilled that State Parks provided a safe and enjoyable experience for so many Mainers, I’m even more pleased that our entire staff remained healthy and COVID-free all summer. No one knows what the future of the pandemic holds. Nonetheless, it’s very gratifying to know that we have the staff coordination, planning, and commitment in place to handle such an imposing challenge with grace, humor, and resounding success.

~ Andy Cutko, Director, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands

Top of page

Ranger Academy - Compliance and Enforcement

Ranger Academy 2020, Maine State Parks.

Maine State Parks 2020 Ranger Academy

Pictured above are the Ranger Academy Cadets, Cadre and Volunteers (from left to right):
Owen Blease (cadre), Tim Spahr (cadet), Ben Hall (cadet), Ron Ahlquist (cadet), Joel Devoid (cadet), Daniel Duplessis (cadet), Taylor Shaw (cadet), Nicholas Cote (cadet), Charlie Cannon (cadet), Tom Caffrey (volunteer), Lilliam Harriman (cadet), Sandi Sabaka (cadet), Kyle Briggs (cadet), Christine Brilla (cadet), Colin Gardner (cadet), Evan Smith (cadet), Sean McEneaney (cadet), Erin Raatz (cadet), Matt McGuire (cadre), Adam McKay (cadre), Ron Hunt (cadre), Mark Deroche (cadre), Chris Silsbee (cadre), and Gary Best (Ranger Academy Coordinator)

Ranger Academy 2020 - Compliance and Enforcement was held in an outdoor pavilion at Range Pond State Park with closing ceremonies at Sebago Lake State Park. 16 Park Rangers and Park Managers attended academy where they were instructed in Verbal Judo, Partnering with Law Enforcement and Emergency Medical Services, Domestic Violence, Cultural Diversity, Incident Report Writing, Civil Liability, Constitutional Law, Bill of Rights, Alcohol and Drug ID, Interview Techniques, Rule Enforcement, Ethics, Incident Command and Protecting a Crime Scene among many other topics.

Ranger Academy 2020 was adapted to adhere to all COVID-19 protocols and safety precautions. As a result of COVID-19 several training elements including self-defense and Oleoresin Capsicum Spray training are postponed until we can safely conduct this training.

Skill building scenario of a hasty search.

The final day of training included the cadets participating in several real-life scenarios. Pictured are cadets gathering information from a park visitor prior to conducting a hasty search during the Lost Person Scenario.

~ Gary Best, Southern Regional Parks Manager & Ranger Academy Coordinator

Top of page

Seasonal Floats Removed - Reminder by Boating Facilities Division

Dock with floats removed.

Seasonal floats have been removed from all of the Boating Facilities Division's locations, except:

  • Lamoine State Park,
  • Saco River in Biddeford and the
  • Kennebec River in Phippsburg.

It is anticipated that these floats will be removed by November 17th.

Top of page

Float System Repairs Complete at Jonesport, Lubec and Robbinston

Robinston launch under repair by Prock Marine.

Robbinston float system shown under repair, including the replacement of two missing piles, by Prock Marine.

Lubec Launch under repair by Prock Marine.

This fall the Boating Facilities Division contracted Prock Marine to replace missing or damaged piles at three of our coastal boating facilities: Jonesport, Lubec and Robbinston.

The work was conducted during September and October of 2020 and began at the Jonesport boat launch with repairs to the damaged dolphins. For non-boaters reading this and may be wondering... a dolphin is a number of piles driven into the seabed or riverbed, and connected above the water level to provide a fixing point. We use the dolphins in areas that need more support than a single pile.  

Photo at left shows the Lubec float system repairs underway by Prock Marine, which included replacing damaged and missing piles.

Top of page

New Alerts Offered - Get Updates About Public Lands Locations

Wetland with woods and mountain in background. Bigelow Public Land, Maine.

Subscribe to the new trail and site condition alerts from Public Lands. Three are available, by region: Eastern, Northern, and Western Public Lands (includes the southern Maine locations). View the Public Lands Region Map to see where your favorite Public Lands are located. The Outdoors in Maine guide lists the associated region for each Public Lands location after the FMI Telephone number. 

Text to subscribe to:

  • Eastern Public Lands Alerts
    Text DACF E-LANDS to 468311
  • Northern Public Lands Alerts
    Text DACF N-LANDS to 468311
  • Western Public Lands Alerts (includes Southern Maine Locations)
    Text DACF W-LANDS to 468311

View all Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands Text-to-Subscribe listings.

Top of page

Snowmobiling Season is Coming... Get Ready Now

Snowmobile riders take a break near a covered bridge.

Get ready to ride! Here are a few tips so you are ready when the trails are:

  1. Inspect your snowmobile and perform seasonal maintenance.
  2. Inspect your riding gear for wear and tear and fix or replace as needed.
  3. Refresh your first aid kit/emergency repair kit.
  4. Register your snowmobile
  5. Planning to rent a snowmobile? Here is a list of certified rental agencies.
  6. Consider joining the Maine Snowmobile Association. You'll find clubs and riders near you, learn about trails, events and volunteer opportunities plus get the latest snowmobile news from around the state.

Top of page

Forest Management Practices - Annual Field Audit

Harvested spruce and fir at Round Pond shown with staff and inspector.

The Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL) recently completed our annual field audit of forest management practices. BPL's forest practices are third-party certified to two independent standards: the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI). The auditor, staff from BPL, Maine Inland Fish and Wildlife and the Maine Natural Areas Program are shown in the photo above during a site visit to an active harvest in spruce/fir forest at Round Pond. Audit stops in northern Maine also included Deboullie, Eagle Lake, Hammond, Scopan and Telos units.

Certified forestry logos: Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).

Michael Vermette - A Conversation with Allagash Wilderness Waterway's First Visiting Artist

Michael Vermette, visiting artist, painting along the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. Photo by Troy Sands.

As the second in a two-part blog series exploring the intersection of art and environmental protection, Melanie Sturm, Forests & Wildlife Director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, spoke with Michael Vermette about his art and his experience as the first artist in residence at the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. Read the conversation and view his paintings.  (Photo of Michael Vermette by Troy Sands.Allagash Wilderness Waterway brochure.

Project 20/20 - An Artist's Journey on the Maine Island Trail

Project 20/20 island painting by landscape painter Matt Russ with the Project 20/20 header superimposed over it.

Project 20/20 is an artistic venture conceived by artist Matthew Russ to highlight the Maine Island Trail, a recreational water trail connecting over 200 wild islands and coastal sites along Maine’s coast. Matthew painted outdoors all summer, with MITA support, and completed 20 island paintings from Kittery to Cobscook Bay, each 20x20-inches. His journey and the paintings may be viewed on the Project 20/20 storymap. All the paintings are for sale with 1/3 of the proceeds to benefit MITA.  (For our readers who like to be sleuths, see how many Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands locations Matthew visits.)

Top of page

Camp Cook: Best Homefries

Homefried red potatoes, cubed, in skillet.


4 large red skinned potatoes, washed and cubed
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons thyme (you can also use rosemary, if you have it on hand)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large cast iron skillet, heat oil over low to medium heat, or until oil shimmers. Add cubed potatoes, carefully as not to splatter oil. **Because potatoes have a large moisture content, and you’re introducing the water present in the potatoes you're cooking to the oiled skillet, that causes the splatters.** Stir often, so the potatoes don’t stick. As the potatoes get coated with oil from the pan, from stirring, add salt & pepper to taste. Once coated and seasoned, add the onion, garlic and thyme. As the onion caramelizes, the potatoes should crisp and turn golden brown. Pierce the largest cube of potato with a knife or fork to test for doneness. If that large piece of potato is done, the smaller pieces will be done, as well! Serve hot from the skillet! I love to serve mine with flavored ketchups. My favorite is Sriracha Honey: ¼ cup ketchup, 1T Sriracha, ½T honey and squeeze of lime juice! YUM!!

~ Jen Neumeyer*, Boating Facilities Secretary
*Soon to be known by her new married name of Metzger, Congrats Jen!

Top of page

Recommended Read - Through Woods & Waters

Book Cover of Through Woods & Waters, A Solo Journey to Maine's New National Monument by Laurie Apgar Chandler.

Through Woods & Water - A Solo Journey to Maine's New National Monument by Laurie Apgar Chandler

Maine's Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument was two years young when Laurie Chandler embarked on a unique journey. After trekking its panoramic peaks on the International Appalachian Trail, she traded her hiking boots for a solo canoe. Taking the long way round, the author followed age-old waterways into the upper watershed of the Penobscot River’s East Branch, then descended its wild waters and quiet byways, through the heart of the monument. Hers is a story of shared discovery, highlighting the region’s rich history and natural wonders. - 
Publisher's overview

Laurie's personal account is so much more than an adventure memoir. The spirit, nature and history of the places Laurie visits come alive through her writing and photographs. They linger well after the last page is turned. A great book for winter fireside reading. It may inspire your own journey next summer. Recommended to outdoor adventurers, armchair travelers and history buffs.

Top of page

Send article suggestions or newsletter comments to Jocelyn Hubbell, Interpretive Specialist, webmaster, and newsletter editor for the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.