State parks set visitation attendance record
AUGUSTA – Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Amanda Beal and the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands announced an 8 percent increase in final attendance for Maine State Parks in 2021 compared to the previous all-time attendance record in 2020. In 2021, Maine State Parks welcomed more than 3.3 million visitors, compared to 3 million in 2020. In addition, three of the last four years have reported record-breaking visitation across Maine’s 12 State Park campgrounds and 48 State Parks and Historic Sites collectively.
By November Maine State Parks had already surpassed the 2020 record. Beginning with a tremendous turnout for annual First Day Hikes and regular visitation for winter park use, including hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, record-breaking camping, and day-use visitation continued straight through summer and fall.
“It is great to see more people than ever enjoying our trails, campgrounds, beaches, and ponds. Our beautiful State Parks are go-to destinations for Maine residents and visitors as they look to find accessible and welcoming outdoor recreation opportunities,” said Beal, who greatly enjoys hiking in Maine’s State Parks, having first summited Bradbury Mountain at age 5. “On pace with increased park visitation are the number of compliments for our State Park staff, which is well-deserved as they have worked diligently over the course of this busy year to ensure an enjoyable experience for visitors!”
“Many of us have realized that the safest, healthiest, and most enjoyable place to be in the pandemic is outside,” said BPL Director Andy Cutko. “In 2021 we welcomed back many out-of-staters who didn’t visit Maine in 2020, and we saw continued strong visitation from Mainers of all ages. I’m proud to say my family contributed to the camping numbers for multiple State Parks, and I’m thankful to our staff and volunteer campground hosts for running our operations so smoothly.”
In 2021, best practices and key learning from 2020 ensured BPL staff were prepared to protect the health of coworkers and park visitors. COVID-19 sparked park amenity curtailments and temporary closures during the 2020 season. BPL continues to adapt its plans as new health advisories are issued.
Camper Alert: Maine State Park camping reservations open Feb. 1. State Park camping reservation details are as follows:
Maine State Park campgrounds Feb. 4 9 a.m. (storm date if Maine State Government is closed is Feb. 7).
Book camping reservations online at https://www.CampWithME.com or reach the camping reservation call center by dialing 800-332-1501 from Maine or 207-624-9950. Seasonal reservation call center hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, excluding holidays.
Group campsite and picnic shelter reservations for all parks is Feb. 1 at 9 a.m.
Note that group and shelter reservations are by phone only and should be made directly with the individual parks. Find park phone lines, instructions, and fees on BPL’s Group Camping webpage and the Group Shelters webpage.