October 2022 Newsletter from the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands

View as a webpage  /  Share

Bureau of Parks and Lands

October 2022

In this Issue:

Director's Note: A Community of Conservation Generates Success

Group photo of the conservation partners gathered to celebrate AMC's Pleasant River Headwaters Project.

Conservation partners gather to celebrate AMC’s Pleasant River Headwaters Project.

One of the pillars of Governor Mills’ 2020 Maine Won’t Wait Climate Action Plan is an ambitious goal: conserve 30% of Maine by 2030. While the Bureau of Parks and Lands plays a key role in reaching that goal, our partners across the conservation community do some of the heaviest lifting, and they do it together and exceptionally well. Last week, on two consecutive days, I enjoyed ceremonies (in real life, not just Zoom!) commemorating nearly 60,000 acres of newly conserved land in Maine. On September 21, I attended a celebration recognizing the conservation of the 26,584-acre Pleasant River Headwaters Forest by the Appalachian Mountain Club. The celebration, held at the Bureau’s Katahdin Ironworks State Historic Site, was attended by numerous conservation partners and staff of Senator King, Senator Collins, and Representative Golden. On September 22, I provided remarks at a ceremony commemorating the Forest Society of Maine’s conservation of 21,300 acres in Grafton Township and 8,175 acres in Coburn Gore.

Andy Cutko, Director of the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, speaking at a Forest Society of Maine event.

Andy Cutko speaking at Forest Society of Maine event.

These landscape-scale conservation projects have many components, and collectively they check all the priority boxes: securing working forests and jobs for Maine’s economy, conserving biodiversity through forever wild tracts, providing recreational access through motorized and non-motorized trails, and protecting landscapes resilient to climate change. While the AMC and FSM were the lead groups on these projects, numerous other conservation groups and agencies were involved in funding or supporting these efforts, including Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and many others. Thanks to all for the opportunity to celebrate success!

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

Tumbledown Mountain Trail Improvements by the Maine Conservation Corps Trail Crew and Volunteers

MCC Trail Crew and Volunteers with some of many trail improvements that include check steps and a rock bar.

MCC Trail Crew is shown in the arrow-shaped photo taking a break on a set of stone steps. Bottom row: Kera Green, Heidi Eberhardt, and Eli Fay. Top row: Owen Biglin and Srader Cassada. Not pictured is Sarah Payne, also a crew member. Top photo is of a rock bar. Photo to the left is a set of stone steps. Photo to the right is a set of check steps. In left circle are Tumbledown Mt. Ranger Michelle Darling and MCC Environmental Steward Aeriel Oncita who organized a crew of volunteers, pictured in the right circle, to do much needed trail work on Tumbledown Mountain.

Tumbledown Mountain photo showing pond near summit.

A Maine Conservation Corps Field Team trail crew worked hard this summer to improve the Brook Trail on Tumbledown Public Lands. They built a 22-step rock stairway, two large check steps, three large rock bars that direct water off the trail to prevent erosion, added 17 steppingstones, cleared several blowdowns (trees felled by strong winds), and covered and closed numerous social trails to decrease erosion and help keep hikers on the official trails.

Working in hitches of nine days on and five days off, trail crews camp out near their project trails during their work assignment and get to see and greet hikers, observe wildlife, and take in glorious sunsets, amazing star-filled skies, as well as deal with whatever Mother Nature throws their way as far as weather.

“We witnessed a mink throwing itself off a cliff only to catch itself on a tree below and early in the field season, we saw a moose which was very exciting for the crew,” recalled Crew Leader Eli Fay. “We appreciated the hikers making sure that their dogs were leashed and under control as many dogs were not used to seeing people in hard hats at work on the trail and were nervous about the new experience. And we give a big thank you to the volunteers who came out on August 20 to work on Tumbledown Mt. trails. It was much-needed work that would not have been accomplished without their help.”

Twenty energetic volunteers hiked and picked up trash along the 1.8-mile Brook Trail, a 1,200-foot elevation gain with all their tools and gear, to get to their main objective, the Pond Link Trail. There they cleared approximately 0.14 miles of overgrowth within three hours under the leadership of Aeriel Oncita, MCC Environmental Steward, and Michelle Darling, Tumbledown Mt. Ranger.

"We were very happy with the great turnout, the energetic camaraderie of the volunteers, and all they accomplished on this project," exclaimed Aeriel Oncita. "Everyone at the event had a special connection to Tumbledown and you could tell that they were excited to be there and give back to the trails. We hosted a cookout right after the trail work as a thank you for their service and to celebrate all they accomplished."

All that follow in the footsteps of these volunteers, MCC Trail Crew, and staff will have a better trail experience thanks to their work. Kudos on a job well done!

~ Jocelyn Hubbell, Interpretive Specialist, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands
Trail work photos courtesy of Aeriel Oncita and Eli Fay.

Boating Reminder - All Floats Will Be Out by Nov. 9

Boat launch site at Seboeis Lake, Maine.

Fall ushers in the end of boating season and the annual removal of floats at our boat launch sites. Staff will begin removing floats in Northern and Central Maine on October 13th and plan to complete the removal of all floats by November 9th.

~ Heather Seiders, Outdoor Recreation Planner, Boating Division, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands

Ranger Academy Compliance & Enforcement Graduates

Class of 2022 Ranger Academy - Enforcement

The complete class, from left to right, are Trevor O’Leary (Allagash Wilderness Waterway), Alfred Schaeffer (Range Pond State Park), Joshua Slawek (Mt. Blue State Park), Tyrone Stinson (Sebago Lake State Park), Michelle Darling (Tumbledown Mountain), Scott Bevins (Rangeley Lake State Park), Caitlin Maguire (Penobscot River Corridor), Jennifer Birkemose (Grafton Notch State Park), Benjamin Gould (Bradbury Mountain State Park), John Burgess (Eagle Island State Historic Site), Casey Smedberg (Ferry Beach State Park), Kevin Miller (Camden Hills State Park), Joshua Kenney (Fort Point State Park), Ed Palys (Allagash Wilderness waterway), Erin McGinty (Two Lights State Park), Richard Earle (Crescent Beach State Park), Mackenzie Bundt (Pineland Corridor – Bradbury Mountain State Park), Dylan Van Savage (Popham Beach State Park), and Sean Ball (Peaks-Kenny State Park).

Nineteen Park Rangers and Park Managers successfully completed Ranger Academy Compliance and Enforcement. This nine-day training included sessions in Verbal Judo, Incident Command, Ethics, Domestic Violence and Abuse Awareness, Cultural and Transgender Diversity Awareness, Partnering with Law Enforcement and Emergency Medical Services, Issuance of Summons, Interview Techniques, Traffic Control and Flagger Safety, Self-Defense, and Chemical Agent Techniques.

Female graduates of the 2022 Ranger Academy: Compliance and Enforcement.

The 2022 class had more female participants than any previous Compliance and Enforcement Academy. Pictured left to right are
Jennifer Birkemose (Grafton Notch State Park), Michelle Darling (Tumbledown Mountain), Caitlin Maguire (Penobscot River Corridor), Casey Smedberg (Ferry Beach State Park), Erin McGinty (Two Lights State Park), and Mackenzie Bundt (Pineland Corridor – Bradbury Mountain State Park).

~ Gary Best, State Park Southern Region Manager, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.

Fall Foliage Viewing Tips

Autumn colors at Mount Blue State Park.

Maine's deciduous trees (the broad-leaf trees) are starting to show their fall colors! Autumn enthusiasts can visit the state’s official foliage website at mainefoliage.com to sign up to receive weekly reports by email, and can share their photos from throughout the state as the progression of color begins. Our Facebook page will include statewide events taking place throughout the foliage season, and our Instagram account (@mainefoliage) will also feature colorful fall shots. For more information about fall activities and events in Maine, go to www.visitmaine.com. For suggested locations to recreate while taking in the autumn splendor, go to the Bureau of Parks and Lands Fall Foliage Hikes, Rides, and Paddles page.

Defending the Dark Screenings in Maine

Starry sky above a forest. Image from the Defending the Dark film by Tara Tara Roberts Zabriskie.

MOHF Maine Lottery scratch ticket with bee hive graphics.

Light pollution has devastating effects on migrating birds, native plants, and pollinators. Dark sky conservation benefits wildlife and their habitats, reduces health and safety risks to humans, saves energy and reduces lighting costs, and improves the ability of both professional and amateur astronomers to view the night sky. 

Defending the Dark was made by conservation filmmaker Tara Roberts Zabriskie in partnership with Dark Sky Maine, Mountains of Stars, and the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands who are all dedicated to educating the public about light pollution by connecting them with the night sky. The film was funded in part by the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund (MOHF) which helps fund critical wildlife and conservation projects throughout Maine and gets its revenue through the Maine State Lottery scratch-off ticket. Ask for the Money Comb ticket next time you purchase a Maine lottery ticket and you'll be supporting conservation projects throughout Maine while trying your luck!

Defending the Dark screenings are on tour in Maine during October. All showings include an introduction by Dark Sky Maine President Nancy Hathaway followed by Q&A with the filmmaker. Some shows are followed by talks with astronomers and a Stellarium Star Show with John Meader, Northern Stars Planetarium.

Screening Dates & Locations in Maine:

  • October 5 at 7:30 p.m. - Maine Beer Shed, 394 Main St., Kingfield
  • October 7 at 6:30 p.m. - Patagonia, 100 Main St., Freeport
    Co-sponsored by the Natural Resources Defense Council and features a talk by astronomer Rob Burgess of Southern Maine Astronomers.
  • October 8 at 6:30 p.m. - Walker Elementary School, 33 Main St., Liberty
    The film will be followed by a Night Sky Tour, if weather is cooperative, if not, an indoor virtual Night Sky Tour using Stellarium software will be offered.
  • October 9 at 4:00 p.m. - Blue Hill Public Library, Parker Point Rd., Blue Hill
  • October 12 at 6:00 p.m. - Boreal Theatre, Suite C 215 Penobscot Avenue, Millinocket. The film will be followed by a virtual Night Sky Tour using Stellarium software.
  • October 13 at 7:00 p.m. - Versant Power Astronomy Center, Jordan Planetarium, University of Maine Orono. Donation suggested.
  • October 14 at 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. - Lakeside Theatre, 2493 Main St., Rangeley. Each followed by a virtual Night Sky Tour using Stellarium software. Tickets at the door are $5.
  • October 15 at 6:30 p.m. - Moosehead Cultural Heritage Center, Crafts Community Hall, 6 Lakeview St. Greenville. Tickets at the door are $7. FMI: (207) 695-2909

FMI and updates about the screening locations visit Dark Sky Maine.

Moons Over Bradbury on Sept 30 & International Observe the Moon Night on October 1

Full moon above trees.

Friday, September 30 at 6:30 p.m. - Bradbury Mt. State Park, Pownal

  • Join local amateur astronomer James Shields as we celebrate "International Observe the Moon Night" one evening early by looking at moons* from Bradbury Mt. State Park. In between moon views, we will explore the constellations and other objects in the sky. Meet at 6:30 p.m. at Bradbury Mt. State Park in the field near the beginning of the Northern Loop Trail. Bring if you have them: binoculars, a headlamp or flashlight with a red-covered lens, and a folding chair or pad. This program is for adults, and children 12 years and older who must be accompanied by an adult. Read all the program details and the weather notice. *Yes, moons plural... James has more than the Moon to show you! Multiple telescopes will be on hand for the viewing.

Saturday, October 1 at 7:00 p.m. - Online

  • Join Moon enthusiasts from around the world on Saturday, October 1 at 7 p.m. ET / 23:00 UTC at NASA Live to catch up on NASA lunar exploration and science from the past year, discover what’s on the horizon, and explore how participants from around the world celebrate International Observe the Moon Night.
  • View live streams of the moon from around the world, download resources, and get all the details about NASA's International Observe the Moon Night.
  • Get outside and take a look at the moon firsthand. Download a lunar map courtesy of NASA

Top of page

The Maine Snowmobile Show is October 21-23!

Poster for the 2022 Maine Snowmobile Show showing sled riders in a forest, and photos of event booths.

Get ready to ride! The Maine Snowmobile Show is on October 21, 22, and 23 at the Augusta Civic Center. It is renowned as the place to meet up with fellow riders, connect with snowmobile clubs, see the latest gear,  get recommendations about where to ride, and chat with ORV professionals. 

Stop by our booth to chat and learn about the trail systems in Maine, the grants available to clubs and municipalities, trail grooming training opportunities, and about trail signing guidelines.

The Maine Snowmobile Show is presented by the Maine Snowmobile Association. Admission is $8. Event hours are Friday 3-8 PM, Saturday 9 AM to 8 PM, and Sunday 9 AM to 3 PM. Parking is free. For more information call (207) 622-6983.

~ Joe Higgins, Snowmobile Program Supervisor, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands

Top of page

Fall Festival Held at Ferry Beach State Park - A Fun Time Had by All!

Photo montage of visitors enjoying the Fall Festival at Ferry Beach State Park on September 25.

Photos from top and left to right: Two visitors from Germany enjoy warm, soft pretzels from the food truck, a boy with his leaf crown and a Fall Foliage Fun Pack, two children checking the bowling pins to see which invasive speicies they had "knocked out" with their shots, a family and park staff, a youth bowling to knock out invasive species, and a few of the invasive species bowling pins made by the park staff.

Big smiles were on the faces of all who attended Ferry Beach State Park's first-ever Fall Festival. Activities included pumpkin carving and painting, guided kayak tours of Long Pond, nature programs and nature center tours, a scavenger hunt, "Knockout Invasive Species" haybale bowling, pumpkin ring toss, and a fall-themed food truck whose vendor provided the most delicious spiced cider and warm, soft pretzels. Two visitors from Germany gave a resounding, "Sehr gut!" (very good!) to the vendor after their first bite of the pretzels, and echoed the praise of other attendees about the wonderful activities, and to Mother Nature for providing such a glorious day to explore the park beach, trails, and pond.

Ferry Beach State Park Manager, Casey Smedberg, extends "A big thank you to all the volunteers and Bureau staff who came together from other parks to help run the activities and make the day a success." When asked by attendees if the event will be back in 2023, she replied, much to the glee of the children in earshot, "Next year will be event better! We hope to make the Fall Festival an annual tradition at the park."

~ Jocelyn Hubbell, Interpretive Specialist, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands

Girl Scouts Love State Parks 2022 was a Success!

Photo montage of Girl Scouts of Maine enjoying Maine State Parks during the nationwide event, Girl Scouts Love State Parks.

Girl Scouts visited Maine State Parks throughout the state to learn about and play in natural locations as part of the annual nationwide Girl Scouts Love State Parks event.

The photo montage above shows just some of the many adventures the Girl Scouts of Maine had on Sunday, September 11. To see more adventures and shots from the special programs offered on September 10, watch this Girl Scouts Love State Parks 2022 video short. 

Thank you to all the Girl Scouts and their leaders for loving and learning about Maine State Parks. 

~ Photos and film courtesy of the Girl Scouts of Maine. 

Megunticook 10K/50K Race 2022 Photos

Runners during the Megunticook 10K/50K race in Camden Hills State Park.

There is hardly a more beautiful place to run and put one's legs and heart to the test than during the annual Megunticook race. This "Brutal. Beautiful." race was held on Saturday, September 10 with 10K and 50K options at Camden Hills State Park.

The Wicked Tough 10 is a 10K race that tests even the most accomplished runner. Its big brother, the Megunticook 50, is a 50K that is equally formidable and traverses over 90% of the trails in the park. Both afford a great and intimate taste of this unique area of the country.

Rising 1385 feet above sea level, Mount Megunticook is the second highest mountain (by 175’) along the Atlantic Coast and offers stunning views of Penobscot Bay and out to the open ocean. Both races are among the most challenging in their category but offer the opportunity to experience this unique area in a very special way.  

Learn more about the Megunticook 50 and the Wicked Tough 10, and get ready for 2023, at megunticook50.com

~ Photos courtesy of the Megunticook 50 organizers.

Mount Blue Camper's Poem

Mount Blue from Webb Lake. Mount Blue State Park, Maine.

Camping at Mount Blue

Here I am once again camping at Mount Blue
It's something that I really enjoy to do.
Once all the lugging and setup is done,
Then it is the time to have fun.

Enjoying camp stove food, and visiting with friends,
Oh, how I wish these days would never ever end.
Hikes on trails, bike rides, and swimming at the beach,
The fun is always within easy reach.

Campfires and playing games at night,
The glow of smiles and laughter in the fire's light
Not to mention the taste of S'mores, toasted "just right."
All after the collaborative big to do
Of chopping vegetables for "Hobo Stew."

With no deeds to do and no promises to keep
And the best kind of a peaceful night's sleep
Under the stars, out in the fresh air,
To me, little else can compare.

Except just maybe
A peaceful day reading a good book,
Here in Mother Nature's quiet little nook.
Some long-standing traditions are very hard to beat
To best this one would be an incredible feat.

Yes I love it, it's more than true
Oh, how I enjoy it here, here at Mount Blue.
And it just would never be the same without sharing it
Without all of you.

~ Poem by Mount Blue camper Timothy S. Cowing contributed by Bruce Farnham, Mount Blue State Park Manager.


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