Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands March 2023 Newsletter

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Bureau of Parks and Lands

March 2023

In this Issue:

Director's Note: Forest Carbon in Context

Andy Cutko standing at the base of a huge tree in an old growth Oregon forest.

Old forests store lots of carbon and have many other values. The photo is from Oregon, but I bet it got your attention!

Scientists increasingly recognize the importance of forests in mitigating climate change, and I’ve followed with interest the recent debates about carbon and forest management. On one side of the debate, advocates of old, unmanaged forests point out that old forests store more carbon than younger forests (true). On the other side, proponents of younger, managed forests argue that mid-aged forests (30-70 years old) capture carbon at a higher rate (also true!). Like too many discussions these days, this debate is becoming polarized, and it’s often presented as an either/or choice – should all forests be managed, or should they all be left to grow old? More importantly, this singular focus on forest carbon can obscure the fundamental values we appreciate about forests. They provide wildlife habitat and places to hike and hunt, renewable wood to feed our stoves and build our houses, and jobs for outdoor guides, loggers, and mills. Forests also refresh our air, our water, and our minds. (As I walk through the woods in the spring, I often marvel at the return of warblers from far-flung places south of the equator. I don’t recall wondering how many carbon equivalents are sequestered by that familiar old hemlock by the stream.)

It’s always been clear to me that we need both managed and unmanaged forests. Roughly 15% of Maine’s Public Reserved Lands are Ecological Reserves, like Big Spencer Mountain and Gero Island, and are set aside for biodiversity, research, and yes, carbon storage. The Bureau also carefully harvests about 10,000 acres each year, retaining old trees for wildlife while producing lumber and pulpwood, providing jobs, and creating space for younger trees to grow and capture carbon. It’s reasonable to discuss whether we’ve reached the right balance, but I hope we don’t lose track of the many reasons that forests of all types are important.

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

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Outstanding Employees

Each year the Bureau of Parks and Lands recognizes an employee and a manager for his or her outstanding effort. 

Photo of Joe Anderson, Stewardship Specialist for the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.

Congratulations to Joe Anderson, our 2022 Employee of the Year, and Matt McGuire, our 2022 Manager of the Year. 

Joe, our Stewardship Specialist, has done an outstanding job of monitoring landscape-scale conservation easements, pioneering the use of drones and remote imagery to detect changes in the landscape.

Photo of Matt McGuire, Assistant Regional Manager for the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.

Matt, our Southern Maine State Park Assistant Manager, has supported our busiest State Parks through a variety of hands-on operational assistance, emergency management, and administrative functions.

Other BPL staff nominated for special recognition include Reservations Manager Abby Andreasen, ATV Program Manager Brian Bronson, Submerged Lands Senior Planner Karen Foust, Maine Conservation Corps Director Sara Knowles, and Director of Real Property David Rodrigues. Tremendous thanks to all for your work in 2022 and beyond!

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

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Welcome Nick McDougal

Photo of Nick McDougal, Forester in the Western Region Public Lands, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.

The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands is pleased to welcome Nick McDougal as a Forester within the Western Region Public Lands. In this role Nick will join a team that ensures sustainable forest management on Maine's Public Reserved Lands.

Nick grew up in central Vermont, with family ties and frequent visits to coastal and western Maine. He attended the University of Vermont while working as a state park attendant with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, where he developed an appreciation for the stewardship of multi-use public lands. After graduating with B.S. in Forestry, he spent eight years with Southern Maine Forestry Services working in the management of private and publicly owned forestland in southern Maine with objectives including sustainable timber production and wildlife habitat and water quality enhancement.

Nick is interested in hunting and fishing, silviculture, GIS technology, and wildlife of all varieties. He is excited to join the team managing the western region’s Public Lands, and to apply his interests and experience towards forest management that sustains the full range of values the resource has to offer.

~ Tim Post, Western Region Public Lands Manager

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

Wooded campsite showing kettle and hotdogs on a grill with a dome tent in the background.

Beginning March 1, 2023, 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.

Winter Camping Ends March 15

Winter camping image taken from inside a yellow dome tent looking out the tent door at the snow and woods.

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.

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Teens from Old Orchard Beach High School Outdoor Club Experience Winter Camping at Megunticook Cabin in Camden Hills State Park

Old Orchard Beach High School Outing Club at the Megunticook Cabin, Camden Hills State Park, Maine.

L to R: Olivia Nicol (chaperone), Ethan MacWilliam, Gavin Needham, Evan Schneider, Alex Lavigne, Casey Zecchinelli, Madison Shaw, Natalie Skovran (Outing Club co-advisor) at the Megunticook Cabin.

Montage of RSU-23 Outing Club at Camden Hills State Park: learning about winter camping, on trail, night hike, around the table.

Clockwise from top left: Outing Club getting winter camping tips from Rex Turner, BPL Outdoor Recreation Planner; Outing Club using sleds to haul supplies to the cabin; around a table inside the cabin; on a night hike.

The Old Orchard Beach High School Outing Club picked a terrific weekend to camp at the Megunticook Cabin at Camden Hills State Park. Several inches of fresh snow had fallen the night before and the park was holding a Winter Family Fun Day.  As part of the event, they were greeted by BPL's Rex Turner for winter camping tips and Jocelyn Hubbell for snow science and snow sculpture fun. Wildlife biologist Sarah Spencer and educator Laura Craver-Rogers, both of ME Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, were on hand with a Mammals of Maine display and offered several tracking hikes throughout the day. Park staff offered free use of gear from the Ski & Snowshoe Trailer which hauls xc-skis, snowshoes, and sleds to the parks each winter. A warming fire, hot cocoa and hearty snacks were also available to all visitors.

The teens were so much fun to meet and chat with... I wanted to tag along on their adventure - the almost 2-mile trek to the cabin, listen to the guitar, cook over the wood stove, and venture out at night to listen for barred owls and see the expansive night sky with Orion and so many stars overhead. 

The Outing Club shared their photos with us and I hope after they have time to reflect they might share their memories and thoughts about the adventure too... maybe an inspired poem, or a new guitar tune? And, we hope to see them out in the State Parks again soon!

~ Jocelyn Hubbell, Interpretive Specialist

Photo credit: all photos, except the teens with Rex Turner, courtesy of the Outing Club.

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Ski & Snowshoe Trailers Continue to Visit State Parks

Ski and Snowshoe Trailer with doors open ready for visitors to gear up.

Whether you want to try out a new sport or leave your gear at home, the Ski and Snowshoe Trailers offer winter fun for everyone. Equipment from the trailer is free, on loan during your visit between 10 AM and 3 PM with paid park admission. View the full winter schedule as a 1-page PDF.  Get condition updates before you visit - just text to subscribe to the park alerts of your choice.

March 4-5:

March 11-12:

March 18-19 and March 25-26:

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Stay Safe Out There!

Man and young girl setting and ice fishing trap.

With the ever-changing weather we've had this winter it makes it hard to predict the conditions you'll find on any outdoor adventure. And, it is more important than ever to plan ahead, be prepared, and make wise decisions when you are out on the trail. Below are resources that will help you be prepared and stay safe out there.

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Take a Friend Snowmobiling

Two snowmobile riders exploring the JoMary Trailsy.

The Go Snowmobiling/Take a Friend Snowmobiling campaign is an annual program 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.

Two snowmobile riders exploring 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

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Apply Now to Work in Maine's Most Beautiful Locations this Summer

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.

Apply now to secure the best summer job you've ever had!

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.

APPLY NOW- View the job descriptions, listed by park location, and apply. Check back often for updated listings. Contact the Park Manager for a complete list of anticipated job openings. 

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Reid State Park is Closed to All Visitors

Griffith Head bridge at Reid showing storm damage and the rebuilding progress.

Left to right: Photos show the Griffith Head bridge during the storm and the rebuilding in progress.

The Griffith Head bridge is being rebuilt after recent storm damage and the park entry booth is being upgraded. The improvements to Reid and other State Parks are supported by funding through the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan.

Reid State Park will remain closed until the construction is complete. Text REID to 888-514-7527 to get an alert when the park reopens.

Reid State Park entry booth before and during new construction.

Left to right: Reid entry booth before work and ready for new construction.

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Introduction to the Ash Protection Collaboration Across Wabanakik Training Series - March 6, 1-2 PM, Online

Introduction to the Ash Protection Collaboration Across Wabanakik Training Series flyer.

Sign up for this online introductory session by clicking on the image above or the link below and you will be sent a Zoom link to attend..

Ash trees throughout the region are under severe threat due to the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). In response to the growing interest in protecting the future of ash trees, John Daigle and his team of graduate researchers working together as the Ash Protection Collaboration Across Wabanakik (APCAW), are organizing a multi-part training series in 2023. This series will share information about how to care for ash in ways informed by current research and Wabanaki priorities, and will cover everything from ash inventorying, to seed collection and storage, to fostering ash regeneration.

On March 6th from 1-2 pm over Zoom, APCAW is holding a kickoff event called Introduction to the Ash Protection Collaboration across Wabanakik Training Program to welcome attendees into the series, introduce key organizers and point people for information, and present the schedule of programs for the coming year. We will also show and share the website as a landing pad for all program and ash-related information and hold a Q&A.

Sign up to here and you will be sent a Zoom link to attend.

~ Courtesy posting of a University of Maine bulletin

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Looking for Emerald Ash Borer? Watch for Woodpecker Activity

Image showing the tunnels Emerald Ash Borers make under the bark of Ash trees.

Bright specks on stems of ash provide a tip that woodpeckers have been searching for food. In some cases, those specks also reveal activity by the invasive emerald ash borer. Dark chips of bark littering the snow are another sign that woodpeckers have been foraging for food just beneath the bark of trees. These signs are visible at highway speed, on a snowshoe trek, swooshing down slopes, snowmobiling and even sitting down for a meal at your local Chinese restaurant (It happened!).
Let us know if you see evidence of woodpeckers dining on emerald ash borer.

#NISAW #WatchYourAsh #InvasiveSpecies

A pile of ash tree bark on snow at base of an Ash tree.

A pile of ash tree bark on snow can be a tip-off to the presence of emerald ash borer. Light patches of bark and the bark pile result from woodpeckers foraging for emerald ash borer. Image Credit: Patrican, CC BY-SA, via Wikimedia Commons.

~ Courtesy reprint of a Maine Forest Service bulletin

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Knock Out Browntail - Now is the Time to Look for Webs

Knock Out Browntail image showing a Browntail moth winter web.


  1. Recognize webs during the winter season when they are easiest to see.
  2. Remove winter webs with hand snips or an extendable pole pruner before April. Destroy webs by soaking them in soapy water or burn them safely and legally.
  3. Recruit professional help to treat or remove webs you can’t reach in areas of high human use such as your dooryard.
  4. Reach Out and let your neighbors and town officials know if you find browntail caterpillars or webs in your neighborhood.

#NISAW #KnockOutBTM #InvasiveSpecies

Three Browntail moth winter webs: two clipped and compared to ruler; one on tree.

Browntail moth winter webs.

~ Courtesy reprint of a Maine Forest Service bulletin

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Recommended Read: Prospects Mining Maine for Riches - A Novel Robert W. Spencer*

Book cover of Prospects, Mining Maine for Riches by Robert W. Spencer.

Many know of the quarries along the coast that supplied fine granite for city monuments and museums from New York to Chicago. But few know of the countless small pegmatite mines that dotted the country landscape across Maine. Set during the boom and bust mining years of the late 1800s, Robert Spencer’s book, Prospects, Mining Maine for Riches, follows Clarence Potter’s footsteps chasing fortune for himself and his family mining mica, feldspar, and tourmaline in the foothills of western Maine. Spencer gives a glimpse into rural Maine life at the time and readers will find familiar names and places throughout the book.

To learn more about this fascinating history, including a virtual tour of Maine geology, visit the online educational resources by the Maine Geological Survey.

Look for the summertime weekly gold panning demonstrations at Mount Blue State Park and learn how you can try your hand at it in Coos Canyon.

There are even opportunities to try your own hand at prospecting at Lord Hill and Deer Hill Mineral Collecting Areas, part of the White Mountain National Forest in Stoneham and Stow.

~ Joseph Anderson, Stewardship Specialist

*Newsletter Editor's Note - This book review is a repeat our 2/2023 issue with a correction of the author's first name. Our sincere apologies to our readers and the author.

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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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