Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands March 2022 Newsletter

View as a webpage  /  Share

Bureau of Parks and Lands

March 2022

In this Issue:

Director's Note: Record Demand for State Park Campsites

Camping Reservations Staff: Deanna and Abby.

Deanna James (L) and Abby Andreasen (R), the Bureau’s outstanding Campground Reservations Team.

The opening days for Maine State Park campground reservations have been circled on calendars for months -- and those opening days were astoundingly busy! Combining the first-day camping reservations for Sebago Lake State Park (February 1) with the first-day reservations for all other State Parks (February 7), Day 1 transactions topped 9,000. In fact, on February 7 we processed more than 4,279 transactions in the first hour, including 125 transactions in one minute. I extend huge thanks to Campground Reservations Manager Abby Andreasen (recently selected to replace retired Reservations Manager Charlene Daniels) and to Office Assistant Deanna James. Abby and Deanna are the friendly, knowledgeable, and patient voices who take hundreds of calls from eager campers. And huge thanks to our colleagues at InforME, who maintain the online reservations platform. It’s a total team effort.

Graph: 2022 Opening Day camping transactions.

Campsite set up with kayaks in the foreground.

While we’re thrilled to host so many campers, we also know that the dramatic growth in reservations over the past few years has brought new challenges, including frustrations for some waiting online or not getting that choice waterfront campsite. We know that behind those impressive reservation numbers are real people – Mainers, visitors, families, retirees, and LOTS of new campers. We’ve heard those concerns, and we’re committed to exploring ways to make the system more efficient. In the meantime, if you’re still looking for a campsite, consider the mid-weeks, lesser known Parks (e.g., Aroostook, Peaks-Kenny, Lamoine), and shoulder seasons. Hope to see you out there!

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

Top of page

Summer Employment - Make a Difference through Outdoor Work at Beautiful Locations!

Webb Lake swim beach at Mount Blue State Park.

Webb Lake swim beach at Mount Blue State Park.

You'll make a difference and experience a career building opportunity when you join the Bureau of Parks and Lands team at a beautiful State Park or Historic Site this summer. You'll be joining a staff who are committed to helping visitors enjoy and learn about the outdoors, and stewarding the beautiful locations so that they will retain healthy ecosystems and be healthy places to recreate for future generations.

Learn how following your passion can become a career with Maine State Parks - watch the video of Haylee Parsons, Park Manager, Lamoine State Park.

Seasonal openings include:

  • Lifeguards - Watch the lifeguard video
  • Park Managers
  • Park Rangers and Assistant Park Rangers
  • Customer Assistants
  • Maintenance Laborers
  • Navigation Aides Assistants

Read & Download:

QUESTIONS? - Contact the Park Manager at the location where you are planning to apply.

APPLYApplication and job postings are online, listed by location, at the Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry Employment page.

Top of page

Campground Hosts Receive Free Camping - Apply Today!

Campsites: one tent site on the water and an RV site in the woods.

Become a "resident" volunteer and you'll be rewarded with free camping in one of Maine's premier state park campgrounds. Park Hosts help campers, provide essential maintenance services, and may, depending on their skills, lead fun and enriching family activities, or assist photographing the park. Learn more and apply.

Support Parks and Wildlife with Check-offs on Your Maine Income Tax Form

Activities montage: paddle, hike, ski, bike

When you file your State of Maine income taxes, consider getting an annual Individual or Vehicle Day-use Park Pass to the Maine State Parks, and using the Chickadee Check-off to contribute to the Non-game and Endangered Wildlife Fund. Use Schedule CP - and line 31 on page 2 of the 1040ME form. Or let your tax accountant know you would like to get an annual park pass and support the fund.

Annual Passes to Maine State Parks and Historic Sites

The Individual Day-use Park Pass, at $55, admits the pass holder who signed the pass to day-use facilities of Maine State Parks and Historic Sites*

The Vehicle Day-use Park Pass, at $105, is our best deal - it admits the pass holder who signed the pass and occupants of the pass holder's vehicle, up to a 17 passenger maximum, to day-use facilities of Maine State Parks and Historic Sites*.

*Please NoteMaine State Park Annual Passes are not accepted at Baxter State Park, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, the Penobscot River Corridor, or locations managed by Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Maine Department of Transportation, towns, or by public/private partnership.

Chickadee Check-off logo. Program supports Maine endangered and non-game wildlife.

Chickadee Check-off

Volunteer contributions to the Chickadee Checkoff on Maine's income tax form initially provided funding for non-game and endangered and threatened species in Maine. The Department now deposits checkoff contributions into the Maine Endangered and Non-game Wildlife Fund [ENWF] - a dedicated, interest-bearing account. In 1984, taxpayers contributed $115,794 to the Chickadee Checkoff; by 2009, contributions had plummeted 71% to $33,751. Program funding continues to be a challenge, and every donation helps make a difference for Maine’s wildlife. Learn about some of MDIFW’s ongoing projects with Maine’s nongame, endangered, and threatened species.

Top of page

Attention Campers - Two Night Camping Reservations Open March 1 for Sebago Lake State Park

Campsite with coffee on the grill and dome tent in background.

Beginning March 1, 2022, reservations made for Sebago Lake State Park are no longer restricted by the four-night reservation rule (all other minimum length of stay rules will apply).

Make your reservation at

Reminder, no pets are allowed at the Sebago Lake State Park campground. If you are planning to camp with your pet, please read Pets in the Parks and select another State Park campground; all of our other campgrounds allow pets.

Top of page

Winter Camping Ends March 15

Winter camping.

March 15 is the last day of Winter Camping at select Maine State Park Locations. This is for tent camping only. Self sufficiency is required - there are no amenities, cleared locations, or water at these sites. On-site self registration is required. Camping fees apply.

Top of page

Ice Safety Reminder & Ice Out Reports Available

Setting an ice fishing trap on Range Pond.

Before you go out on the ice make sure you know how thick it is and the related weight it can carry. Thick ice in one area of a pond or lake does not guarantee that same thickness in another location. Ice thickness is impacted by many factors, including nearness to shore, presence of vegetation, underwater currents and springs, day and night temperatures, the impact of precipitation, and whether the ice is newly formed hard ice, or old ice that has been sublimating (evaporating into the air), which can make it rotten in spots and more easily fractured. Venturing onto ice is always at your own risk.

General Guidelines for Clear, Hard Ice are:

  • Less than 4-inches = Stay Off!
  • 4-inches = one person with light gear; no groups!
  • 5-inches = small group, but spread out!
  • 6-inches = single snowmobile
  • 9-inches = multiple snowmobiles, but spread out!

Given the highly variable recent weather, please use extra caution and err on the side of safety.

Ice Out Reports

Text  ICE-OUT to 888-514-7527 to get daily updates, beginning near the end of March, about Maine's lakes and ponds.

Ice Out is noted when you can navigate unimpeded from one end of the water body to the other. There may still be ice in coves or along the shoreline in some areas, but when a person can traverse the entire waterbody without being stopped by ice floes we consider the ice to be out. View past Ice Out lists since 2003.

Top of page

Take a Friend Snowmobiling

Snowmobile riders on the Jo Mary Trail in Maine's 100 Mile Wilderness near Moosehead Lake.

The Go Snowmobiling/Take a Friend Snowmobiling campaign has been supported by the snowmobile community over the years snowmobile clubs and associations across North America have taken military personnel snowmobiling, coordinated enlightenment rides with land managers, and often just have fun organizing snowmobile rides with friends and family.

The trails and riding areas in many parts of Maine are amazing and offer great opportunities to take friends snowmobiling and enjoy winter. Take a Friend Snowmobiling rides highlight the “wow-factor” and the pure enjoyment that people have when they first ride a snowmobile. First-time snowmobilers can’t quit talking about how much fun the ride was.

Snowmobile riders on the Coburn Summit Trail.

When you take a friend snowmobiling, this may very well be their first time on a snowmobile. Chances are that your normal ride would seem like a marathon to an uninitiated friend. Let your friend enjoy that first day of snowmobiling. Enjoy the ride, make it relatively short, make it simple, and remember that it is always a good idea to feed your guests. When you consider putting together a Take a Friend Snowmobiling ride, remember that individuals who don’t own a snowmobile have a high interest in going snowmobiling. They want to go snowmobiling for the same reasons you do:

  • To enjoy the scenery
  • To get outdoors to have fun with family and friends
  • To go to unique places that they can’t reach any other way to see amazing sights
  • To have fun in the winter outdoors and be able to go home tired and be ready for a good night’s sleep.

So please, go out and have fun, take a friend snowmobiling, enjoy this wonderful Maine winter. Keep up-to-date on local trails and conditions, learn about scheduled rides, and read snowmobile news online from the Maine Snowmobile Association.

~Joe Higgins, Supervisor of Off-Road Vehicle Snowmobile Program

Top of page

Applications are Open for Maine Forest Legacy Program

Tumbledown Mt.

The Bureau of Parks and Lands is currently accepting applications to the Maine Forest Legacy Program.

The Forest Legacy Program is a conservation program administered by the U.S. Forest Service in partnership with state agencies to encourage the protection of privately owned forest lands through conservation easements or land purchases. It operates on a competitive basis nationwide and aims to protect an array of traditional uses, forest economies and public values by preventing the conversion of Maine’s forest to non-forest uses.

Since 1994, Maine’s Forest Legacy Program has received more than $76 million through the program, and has permanently protected over 755,000 acres, with iconic landscapes that include Tumbledown Mountain, Nicatous Lake, and Pierce Pond, to name just a few.

For more information about Maine’s program and the grant application materials, read the Letter to Landowners (PDF 69KB) and Application Instructions (PDF 244KB).

Interested applicants should contact Liz Petruska by May 13 to discuss the proposed project and to receive application details. Full proposals will be required to compete for FY 2024 funding. Additional information is available on the Forest Legacy webpage.

~ Liz Petruska, Director of Planning and Acquisitions

Top of page

Exciting New Recreation Areas in the Moosehead Lake Region Added to Maine Public Lands

Panoramic view of the north shoreline of Long Pond where future campsite improvements are planned.

Panoramic view of the north shore of Long Pond where future campsite improvemens are planned. Photo 2: Recreation Ranger Bill Beeaker inspects Cold Stream Pond for future development of two campsites.

Inspection of Cold Stream Pond by canoe to look for future campsite locations.

Hikers, anglers, campers, paddlers, and anybody who appreciates outdoor destinations dedicated to public use now have more places to enjoy in the Moosehead Lake Region. Following years of scouting, discussion, collaboration, planning, and in some cases lots of trail work, the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL) now has a number of new trails and sites that provide outdoor experiences or preserve the future option to provide and manage public outdoor recreation in beautiful, remote settings.

A recent donation by the Weyerhaeuser Company to the Bureau completed a donation process stemming from the now extinguished Moosehead Lake Region Concept Plan (previously approved by the Maine Land Use Planning Commission). The donation gives the Bureau of Parks and Lands:

  • Fee ownership of 31 locations ranging in size from just under 1 acre to roughly 4 acres.
  • Trailhead parking for over 26 miles of new hiking trails on trail easements previously donated by Weyerhaeuser.
  • Access to pristine trout ponds
  • Campsites - existing and locations for future additions
  • 33 miles of permanent vehicular road easements
    • Sites not directly accessed by road easement are accessible by trail easement and/or by water.

All of these sites and trails are embedded in a larger conservation easement of over 350,000 acres held by the Forest Society of Maine. They also complement many existing Bureau properties, including Lily Bay State Park, Moosehead Lake Shoreline Public Lands, Mount Kineo State Park, Little Moose Public Land, and Cold Stream Forest Public Land.

Improvements to these trails and sites, from campsite development to trailhead construction to trail signage, are anticipated for 2022 and beyond. As these improvements occur, the Bureau will share information through its website, Department social media, this newsletter, and partner sites such as Inquiries should be directed to the Bureau’s Outdoor Recreation Planner, Rex Turner, at

~ Rex Turner, BPL Outdoor Recreation Planner

Top of page

Emerald Ash Borer Threatens Maine's Forests - Look Now for Signs of this Invasive Insect

Bark "blonding" on Ash trees can be a sign of Emerald Ash Borer infestation.

Late in 2021, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands Forest Engineer Stephen Richardson was walking the Mayall Mills site on Pineland Public Land in Gray when he noticed ash tree bark scattered on the snow. Stephen figured out that the bark came from ash trees that had drawn the attention of foraging woodpeckers. The ash trees nearby showed signs frequently referred to as ‘blonding’, which appears when woodpeckers remove the outer bark of trees in search of beetle larvae and other meals. (See photo.) When blonding occurs in ash (Fraxinus spp.), it is often evidence of emerald ash borer presence. Stephen reported this observation to the Maine Forest Service, and in this case, emerald ash borer was confirmed.

Emerald ash borer has been detected in two distinct areas of Maine; in Southern Maine the infestation is on the leading edge of a large infested area in Cumberland, Southern Oxford and York Counties. In northern Maine, EAB populations are found in only four towns along the St. John River in Northern Aroostook County, and appears to have spread from a spot infestation centered on Edmundston, New Brunswick, Canada. 

~ Source: Maine Forest Service bulletin

Top of page

Feathers over Freeport

Hawk watch on Bradbury Mt.

Hawk watching from the summit of Bradbury Mt. with Derek Lovitch of Freeport Wild Bird Supply.

April 30 & May 1 - Mark your calendars for the annual Feathers over Freeport - a birdwatching and nature discovery weekend for all ages!

  • Bradbury Mt. State Park hosts the event on Saturday, April 30. Programs include hawk watching on the summit with birding expert and owner of Freeport Wild Bird supply Derek Lovitch.
  • Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park hosts the event on Sunday, May 1. Programs include osprey watching with park staff.

View all the details, watch videos, and download materials at

Top of page

Recommended Reads

Book cover of Have You Seen a Comet?  Children's Art and Writing form Around the World.

In honor of Youth Art Month, consider reading the 1971 Have You Seen a Comet? Children's Art and Writing from Around the World compiled by Anne Pellowski; Helen R Sattley; Joyce Cooper Arkhurst. It showcases color illustrations, poems, stories, essays, anecdotes, and letters by children aged six to sixteen from seventy-five countries of the world selected mainly from school magazines. Includes both the original and its translation for those works not originally written in English. Look for it at your local library.

Book cover of Women of the Dawn by Bunny McBride.

In honor of Women's History Month, consider reading about the amazing lives of four Wabanaki women across four different centuries: Molly Mathilde, Molly Ockett, Molly Molasses, and Molly Dellis.

Women of the Dawn by Bunny McBride opens during the mid-1600s at the time of colonial expansion, warfare, and tactics to displace the Wabanaki from their homeland. It closes during the 1970s after showing how Wild West shows exploited and degraded very talented Native Americans and their traditions through relating the experience of Molly Dellis, whose passion was anthropology and journalism but found herself performing in Wild West shows in hope of saving enough for her college tuition, then later dancing in France. Her losses and heartbreaks were tremendous, her resilience astounding. This book, through the stories of these four women, reflects the struggles and tenacious spirit of survival of Wabanaki women then an now. 

Learn more about the Wabanaki at Wabanaki REACH.

~ Jocelyn Hubbell, Interpretive Specialist

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.