June 2022 Newsletter from the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands

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Bureau of Parks and Lands

June 2022

In this Issue:

Director's Note: Bug Season is Here, and It’s Getting More Complicated

Andy Cutko, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands Director, in a head net.

Spring in Maine is marked mainly by good things – the flow of maple sap, the call of the red-wing blackbird, the emergence of fiddleheads, and the lengthening daylight. The season’s inevitable emergence of annoying insects, however, is literally a fly in the ointment. Unfortunately, the variety of troublesome insects, and their impacts on our lives, expands every year. In early May, the Bureau held training meetings for State Parks and Public Lands staff, and this year’s sessions included presentations from Maine Forest Service entomologists Michael Parisio and Colleen Teerling. Colleen joined us for dinner, and we chatted about the proliferation of invasive insects in Maine. We agreed that in our decades of working in the Maine woods, the last few years have been alarming in the expansion of problematic insects. Some, like the browntail moth and deer ticks, have been here for many years and now seem to be on steroids. Others, like the emerald ash borer, are newer to Maine and are showing up in more places seemingly every month. And just about every year, there seems to be a new insect or two on BPL’s radar. This year it’s red pine scale, which is having a significant impact on red pine stands in the Donnell Pond Ecological Reserve, and beech leaf disease, which is threatening trees in the Mid-Coast.

At the same time, there is a growing concern in Maine and around the world about declines in insect abundance and diversity, especially the beneficial pollinators that play fundamental roles for crops, wildflowers, trees, and ecosystems. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Maine Entomological Society, and others have been working with Maine Audubon to document the status and trends of Maine’s native insects, and BPL’s May newsletter highlighted an innovative ‘pollinator garden’ project at several State Parks. We know each insect species is influenced by its own unique set natural and human-caused factors, including climate change, food source abundance, land use, predators, and chemicals in the environment. Let’s hope that growing awareness of the importance of insects, both harmful and helpful, can move shift that balance to a more favorable equilibrium.

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

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Economic Development and Outdoor Recreation through Investment in State Parks

Governor Janet Mills signing LD 700 -An Act To Promote Economic Development and Outdoor Recreation through Investment in State Parks.

In the closing days of Maine’s 130th Legislature, Governor Mills signed LD 700 -- An Act To Promote Economic Development and Outdoor Recreation through Investment in State Parks. This bill may have flown under the radar in a hectic legislative session. However, LD 700 will be a game-changer for Maine’s State Parks. Currently, all user fees from State Parks go into Maine’s General Fund. LD 700 will cap that return to the General Fund at $5.5 million, and all revenue in excess of $5.5 million will go into a dedicated account used exclusively for critical maintenance and improvements to State Parks. That dedicated revenue may also match grants from federal Land and Water Conservation Funds. LD 700 will take effect after 2025, when funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) are set to expire. LD 700 had many champions in the legislature, including bi-partisan support from the Appropriations and Financial Affairs (AFA) and Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (ACF) Committees. Bill sponsor Maggie O’Neil and co-sponsors Tom Skolfield and Michelle Dunphy, along with Jessica Fay, were particularly instrumental in bringing LD 700 to the finish line. In addition, numerous conservation groups and citizens provided supportive testimony for LD 700. Thanks to the many strong voices for State Parks!

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

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Meet Jordan Parks - Allagash Wilderness Waterway Visiting Artist 2022

Jordan Parks, 2022 Allagash Wilderness Waterway Visiting Artist, hanging a print in her studio. Photo by Lauryn Hottinger.

Jordan Parks hanging a woodcut print to dry in her studio. Photos by Lauryn Hottinger.

Jordan Parks working on an art piece in her studio. Photo by Lauryn Hottinger.

Jordan Parks has a deep passion for creating art that she describes as inseparable from her being. For as long as she can remember, art has been a form of expression for Jordan. But it was not until middle school, at ten years of age, when she received an award for her painting of a bird of paradise, that she realized she had artistic talent. This encouragement set Jordan on her path of pursuing art as not only a personal passion, but as a calling and a career. She set her sights on art school. Photography was her intended major, but her love of drawing and a class in print making led her to working in woodcuts.

All of Jordan’s work is influenced by the human relationship with the natural world and to each other. Her focus is on cultivating interactive outdoor exhibitions that encourage people to engage with their surroundings, find a sense of adventure, and discover art along the way. She asks them to let go of their preconceptions about art and themselves… to freely feel what bubbles up within them as they interact with her art.

Jordan Parks printmaking. Photo by Lauryn Hottinger.

Sustainability is important to Jordan and has become the foundation of her art. Early in her career she began asking where all the art materials she was using came from… what materials form the canvas and the paints? What impact do the materials have on the environment? How could she become a sustainable materials artist? Through this reflection upon art, and who she wanted to be as an artist, Jordan became a sustainable materials artist who constantly ponders, “What impact are we leaving as we move through this world?”

Solarsit - a sun print artwork by Jordan Parks. Photo courtesy of Jordan Parks.

Much of Jordan’s work has been engaging communities with Maine’s coastal landscape, a passion which stemmed from her experiences as an environmental and outdoor educator. Another watery world - the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, will be the new artistic inspiration for Jordan during two weeks in August, when she will be the AWW Visiting Artist based out of the Lock Dam Cabin. Jordan’s art will be featured during her stay through an open studio session and an evening program – dates and locations to be announced in our July newsletter. In the meantime, learn more about Jordan and her artwork at www.jordankendallparks.com

~ Jocelyn Hubbell, Interpretive Specialist

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Maine Residents' Day is June 19

Boardwalk pathway through a wet woodland.

All Maine residents receive free day-use admission to Maine State Parks and Historic Sites* from 9:00 a.m. to closing on Maine Residents' Day, June 19, 2022.

*Please Note:

  • No rain date available; day-use only.
  • Free admission does not apply to: Acadia National Park, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, Baxter State Park, Peacock Beach, the Maine Wildlife Park, Scarborough Beach State Park, Swan Island, the Penobscot River Corridor, or the Penobscot Narrows Observatory in Prospect, though admission to Fort Knox Historic Site will be free that day.

Where will your adventure lead?

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Maine State Parks are Hiring - 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, Reid State Park.

Seasonal openings include:

Apply - View all the available jobs at Maine State Parks and apply now!

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

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June Programs - Night Hike & Star Tour, Edible Medicinals, and Daily Programs at Wolfe's Neck Woods are Back!

Bradbury Mt. State Park - Pownal

The Night Hike and Star Tour will also be offered, weather permitting, on July 22 and August 19. All details may be found on our event finder.

Holbrook Island Sanctuary State Park - Brooksville

Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park - Freeport

Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park offers daily programs at 2:00 during the summer, unless otherwise noted on their monthly program calendar - available at the links below and at the park.

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University of Maine Workshop on Brown Ash and the Cultural Importance to Wabanaki Tribes: a Highlight of the Public Lands Staff Spring Training Sessions

BPL Public Lands staff attending a UMaine field session on Brown Ash. Photo courtesy of the University of Maine.

Tyler Everett, UMaine Ph.D. student and citizen member of the Mi’kmaq Nation, teaching BPL Public Lands staff about brown ash.

A devastating threat is bearing down on New England’s oldest documented artistic tradition.

Emerald ash borer, an insect native to Asia, has barreled through ash stands in at least 35 states and three Canadian provinces since it was first documented in Michigan and Ontario in 2002. Brown ash (Fraxinus nigra), the species Wabanaki basket-tree harvesters target, is especially susceptible to the invasive insect that has already decimated millions of North American ash trees, and recently arrived in Maine.

In response, staff at the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands reached out to the University of Maine for guidance. John Daigle, a citizen member of the Penobscot Nation and professor in the School of Forest Resources at UMaine, and a team of graduate students hosted a workshop for more than 35 agency staff on May 4. 

The workshop featured work UMaine researchers have conducted over the past decade with Tribal Nations in Maine, New York and Michigan, and agencies including the U.S. Forest Service, Animal, Plant, Health, Inspection Service (APHIS), and Maine Forest Service.

Daigle and Ph.D. students Emily Francis and Tyler Everett, who is a citizen member of the Mi’kmaq Nation, shared ongoing research and strategies that may enable Maine’s three native ash species — white, green and black/brown — to co-exist with the emerald ash borer in Maine’s forest landscape.

Francis talked about future seed collection efforts and her survey work with Maine forest landowners about awareness and management of emerald ash borer. Everett discussed his work surveying foresters and loggers and his efforts to create a detailed ash tree inventory system to help implement timely management strategies for the pest. Maine Forest Service staff demonstrated inventory methods of ash trees that are critical for monitoring emerald ash borer’s spread, and management strategies for the invasive insect.

Members of the Wabanaki Youth in Science program, as well as Passamaquoddy and Mi’kmaq forestry staff, basket tree harvesters, and basket makers shared the ecological and continued cultural significance of brown ash to Wabanaki tribes in Maine and other tribes in the Northeast. Richard Silliboy, a master basket maker and current vice chief of Mi’kmaq Nation, explained the strong cultural ties to this species for the Wabanaki, including the creation story for the confederacy which revolves around the basket, or brown ash tree. Continue reading.

~ Photo and article courtesy of the University of Maine.

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Park Alerts - Subscribe Now - Reid State Park Added to System

Two children playing in the surf on the beach at Reid State Park. Ellen Wood photo.

Children playing in the surf at Reid State Park. Photo by Ellen Wood.

Keep up to date on park conditions by subscribing to the alert for the locations that interest you. It is as easy as sending a text message.

Visit our Safety Page to learn about seasonal state-wide conditions, closures, and safety information about bears, browntail moth, ticks and other insects, and water safety.

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Reminder - Tumbledown Mt. is Closed to All Camping

Maine Forest Service Ranger documenting camping damage on Tumbledown Mt.

Damage and litter led to camping prohibition on Tumbledown Mountain.

All camping areas on Tumbledown Mountain are  closed. Park Rangers and Maine Forest Service Rangers will be on patrol and on the lookout for illegal camping and illegal fire activity on the mountain. Read more and learn about nearby camping alternatives.

Trash left by visitors, spilling out of trash bags torn by wildlife.

Please help keep all Public Lands, State Parks, and Historic Sites you visit beautiful for everyone by taking your litter with you. Not only does litter ruin the experience for the next visitor, it can pollute waterways and harm wildlife. Wildlife that become habituated to looking for garbage can become dangerous. Taking your trash with you, or depositing it in an authorized bin, is the simplest way to keep Maine's iconic places safe and beautiful for everyone.

Thank you!

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Kennebec Highlands Public Land - 813 Additional Acres Acquired

Vienna Mt., Kennebec Highlands Public Land.

Vienna Mt., Kennebec Highlands Public Land.

813 acres of highland wild blueberry fields, wildlife habitat, and recreational lands in the towns of Vienna and New Sharon have been permanently protected for outdoor recreation. The newly acquired lands represent the largest inholding within the Kennebec Highlands Public Land. The acquisition builds on the more than 20 years the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's (DACF) Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL) has worked with 7 Lakes Alliance (formerly Belgrade Region Conservation Alliance) to conserve 6,800 acres across this significant landscape.

Map showing project parcels, Vienna Mt and York Hill, the new additions to Kennebec Highlands Public Land.

The newly acquired lands include forests, open wetlands, streams, and Vienna Mountain summit – which provides a 360-degree view of the Highlands region and beyond. Since the inception of the BPL and 7 Lakes Alliance partnership, the acquisition of the Vienna Mountain lands has been a top priority.

Situated in the middle of Kennebec County and within 15 miles of Augusta, Waterville, Skowhegan, and Farmington, visitors to the Kennebec Highlands are drawn to miles of hiking, biking, snowmobile, ATV trails, and secluded woods and ponds for hunting and fishing.

"We are pleased to have the opportunity to conserve lands with such value to the public," said DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal. "From more than 200 acres of productive wild blueberry barrens to important wildlife habitat and access for numerous types of recreational activities, there is something for everyone here."

"With remote ponds and miles of trails, the Kennebec Highlands is one of central Maine's best-kept secrets," said BPL Director Andy Cutko. "Now, with the addition of a scenic hilltop and hundreds of acres of beautiful fields and forests, the Highlands is an even bigger public asset to the region."

"Conservation of these lands protects the very heart of the Kennebec Highlands, envisioned and supported by community partners for a quarter-century," said Laura Rose Day, President and CEO of 7 Lakes Alliance. "We are grateful and excited to work with many partners to realize the benefits of this significant investment in these lands and waters for all."

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the Land for Maine's Future Program (LMF) were essential to the state's ability to acquire Kennebec Highlands Public Reserve.

"The Program has a 20-year history of supporting acquisitions in the Kennebec Highlands; this acquisition marks our fourth investment in the area," said LMF Director Sarah Demers. "Since 1987, over 610,000 acres of Maine land has been preserved in all sixteen counties with significant financial assistance from the people of Maine through the LMF.

"With this most recent acquisition, the LWCF has helped to acquire five parcels in the Kennebec Highlands, the first in 1976," said Douglas Beck, Director of the Grants and Community Recreation Program. "For over fifty-seven years, LWCF has helped local communities and state agencies acquire and develop over 680 parks and outdoor recreation areas for the benefit of the people of Maine and our guests from away."

The Kennebec Highlands project partners enthusiastically support the LWCF and the LMF. 

In the coming months, BPL will develop a plan for how best to manage these critical new lands, including creating new trails and connecting the existing trail system through the new parcels, managing the blueberry fields and coordinating public picking, and developing new access points for public recreation and resource management. Poor road conditions presently limit vehicular access to the new Vienna Mountain lands. Work to begin road and parking improvements is slated for Summer 2022. Learn more about Kennebec Highlands at www.maine.gov/kennebechighlands.

~ Reprint from a Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Press Release

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2022 ATV Season Updates & Registration Information

ATV and helmet.

ATV season is just around the corner! Maine's ATV trails do not open until May 15 at the earliest, with many clubs not opening trails until early June. Always check with the local ATV club to learn when trails will be open.

Two major changes for the 2022 season include an

  • increase in registration fees to help improve and better maintain ATV trails, and an
  • ATV size restriction to prevent future trail damage. As Maine's ATV trails continue to get busier, continuing to improve and maintain trails is critical for the future of the sport. We are looking forward to another great season of cruising Maine's 6,000 miles of trails.

ATV Registration Fees

Over two-thirds of all registration funds, including all of the new fee increase, goes towards trail creation and maintenance

ATV Registration fees increased effective May 1, 2022 to help increase funding for trail maintenance and building new trails. Fees also support volunteer ATV clubs who provide critical work maintaining the trail systems, and private landowners who allow trail access.

  • Residents = $70* Prior to registration, sales or use taxes are due.
  • Nonresidents = Season: $115*; 7-Day: $100*
  • Antique ATV (Residents + Nonresidents) = $45

*Plus agent fee.


New Law: ATV Size Restriction

Effective October 18, 2021

Oversized ATV: is a new category of an ATV that is wider than 65 inches or that weighs more than 2,000 pounds according to the original manufacturer’s specifications and cannot be registered with the State of Maine (except in certain situations described below).

  • Exception: Registration of an oversized ATV is allowed for Maine residents only who previously registered that oversized ATV before January 1, 2022. An oversized ATV that is allowed under this law to be registered by its current Maine-resident owner may be transferred to a new (Maine resident) owner who may also register that ATV.

Where Registered Oversized ATVs May Operate: A legally registered oversized ATV may operate on land where they have permission from the landowner or lessee, on frozen waters of the state, and portions of state approved ATV trails which do not limit the use of oversized ATVs. Additionally, written permission of the landowner or lessee is required for use of an ATV on cropland or pastureland or in an orchard.

Where Unregistered ATVs (Including Oversized ATVs) May Operate: Unregistered ATVs, whether oversized or not, are allowed to be operated only on land the operator owns or leases. Exception: If written permission is obtained from the landowner or lessee and that person is engaged solely in a business activity (other than a business activity involving recreational use of the oversized ATV) oversized unregistered ATVs may be operated on that land

ATV dealers are required to notify purchasers of oversized ATVs (new and used) of this law. ATV registration agents are required to notify ATV owners and provide education on oversized ATVs at the time of registration. Learn more.

View all of the updated and new laws in the 2021-2022 Maine ATV & Snowmobile Law Book.


Register your ATV

ATV registrations are valid from July 1 through June 30. 

Maine residents may renew an ATV registration onlineNew registrations must be done through a registration agent such as a town office or the MDIFW main office in Augusta.

Nonresidents may register or renew an ATV registration online.

New registrations only - Beginning May 1 of each year, registrations will be valid from the date of issue through June 30 of the following year.

~ Courtesy copy of a Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife bulletin

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Help Map Maine's Amphibians and Reptiles

Painted turtle photo by Trevor Parsons.

With over 33,000 square miles of Maine to survey, and 34 species of reptiles and amphibians, accurate species mapping is a challenge! To help cover this vast area, Maine’s wildlife biologists rely on community members to share their observations, including you!

Observations are shared through the Maine Amphibian and Reptile Atlas Project (MARAP), one of the longest running citizen science projects in New England. With each submission we gain a more complete biogeographic picture of the state’s reptiles and amphibians.

You can help!

Whether or not you have participated in MARAP before, 2022 is a very exciting time to get involved! Data submitted this year and next will be the last to be included in the third edition of Maine Amphibians and Reptiles, scheduled for publication by University of Maine Press in 2024. Learn more about goals for this important season in our latest blog.

Participation is open to citizen scientists of all ages and experience levels, there is no minimum number of observations required, and our new online submission form makes contributing to the project faster and easier than ever!

Any time you spot a salamander, frog, turtle, or snake in Maine, take a photo and submit it with the following information:

  • Number of individuals
  • Species (don't worry if you are unsure, MDIFW biologists will review every record)
  • Date
  • Your contact info
  • Location- Use a street address or use the map feature to add a GPS location.

That’s all there is to it! You can upload your data using the online form when you have a connection at your computer, or download the app ahead of time to use it offline in the field.

Uploading your observations through the popular iNaturalist website or app is also a great way to share data with MARAP. This might be a good option for those who are still learning to identify species because the app provides assistance with identification of your photos.

Not an ID expert? No problem!

You don’t have to be an expert at identifying reptiles and amphibians before you begin. Getting out there to survey will help you improve those skills along the way! If you’d rather get a head start, visit our website to become familiar with each species.

~ Courtesy copy of a Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife bulletin. Painted turtle photo by Trevor Persons.

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Wicked Maine Outdoor Fest - June 25

Wicked Maine Outdoor Festival banner for June 25, 2022.

Join other outdoor enthusiasts from across Maine and away at this experiential and educational celebration of all that the Maine outdoors has to offer. Located at the popular Cumberland Fairgrounds, The Wicked Maine Outdoor Fest will showcase businesses, brands, vendors, and experiences whose focus is to help people enjoy and experience the great outdoors. Get all the details at the website and on Facebook. Join in the fun in support of the Girl Scouts of Maine.

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America's State Parks Photo Contest is Underway!

America's State Parks photo contest banner.

Share your love of Maine State Parks by submitting your best photo to the America's State Parks Photo Contest.

  • Photo entries will be accepted through Friday, July 15, 2022
  • Five submission categories: Activities, Family & Friends, Camping, Wildlife, and Scenic & Seasons
  • Judging period: July 16-August, 31, 2022
  • Winner will be announced at the National Association of State Park Directors Virtual Conference: September 6-9, 2022.
  • One grand prize winner and one winner from each category will be selected by the panel of judges.
  • Prizes: 
    • Grand Prize (1) - One (1) grand prize consisting of $5,000 from Black Folks Camp Too and one (1) Apex Club annual membership. The approximate aggregate value of the grand prize is five thousand and thirty dollars. ($5,030).
    • Category Prize (5) - One (1) $500 REI gift card from ReserveAmerica, and one (1) Apex Club annual membership. The approximate aggregate value of the category prize is five hundred and thirty dollars ($530).
  • Photo Contest Rules
  • Enter Now!

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Read past issues of the newsletter.

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

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