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The State of State Parks in Maine

By Li Yu Chan, Gordon Padelford and Theo Papademetriou

Executive Summary

The State of State Parks in Maine is the first chapter in The State of Maine’s Environment 2010, a report produced by the Environmental Policy Group in the Environmental Studies Program at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.  This is the sixth State of Maine’s Environment report published since 2004.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Maine’s state park system.  Maine’s 49 state parks are primarily managed for the enjoyment of their annual 2 million visitors.  State parks have grown to conserve over 400,000 acres of wildlife habitats, scenic places and historical sites.  Eighty percent of Maine residents have a state park within 15 miles from their homes.  State parks in Maine conserve a representative range of habitats found in Maine, but they conserve relatively less compared to other types of conservation lands.  Maine state parks cover the most total acreage, but the least percentage of state land area when compared to the other New England states.  Maine state parks are underfunded especially in capital repairs with more than $30 million needed. Three potential areas to improve the state park system are related to visitation, conservation, and capital repairs. We recommend that the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands conduct a statewide survey to determine what people want to see in their park system, create a habitat passport program and make maps available online and as hardcopies to increase awareness of state parks, increase funding for capital repairs, and continue to partner with Maine businesses to expand the First Time Camper program.  Maine state parks have the potential to be exceptional public spaces for Mainers and visitors, but it will require increased awareness, funding, and political will.  

Introduction

State parks are areas of land and water set aside at a state level for public use and enjoyment.  In Maine there are 49 state parks which range from small coastal beaches, to historic forts and forested ridgelines.  The state park system under the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands (MBPL) has authority over 48 state parks whereas Baxter State Park is governed by its own authority.

The Beginnings of the State Park Movement

State parks in America first appeared in the 19th century.  The first was Yosemite Valley State Park in California in 1864 (Landrum 2004).  Early parks were created as a result of efforts to preserve wild and scenic places.  A consciousness had grown among the American people about the impacts of urbanization and development on the landscape.  This was sparked by the westward advance of the pioneers (Landrum 2004).  Public interest in the preservation of sites of historical importance also grew in the 19th century.  In 1850, Hasbrouck House, George Washington's military headquarters in New York, was acquired and opened for public visitation, followed by Mount Vernon in 1858.  By the 20th century, natural and historical preservation were popular movements.  The historical parallel in the growth of the two movements is a reason why historic sites and land-based conservation are managed together in some states, including Maine (Landrum 2004).  These movements' efforts were furthered by organizations such as the National Conferences on State Parks and by President Theodore Roosevelt's New Deal programs.  Roosevelt created the Emergency Conservation Work Program and Civilian Conservation Corps to relieve unemployment during the Great Depression by building infrastructure in parks.   After the Great Depression and World War II, public attitude about preservation shifted from passive/casual appreciation of scenic beauty to a more active enjoyment through outdoor recreation (Landrum 2004).  This shift built momentum for the establishment of more state parks that focused on providing recreational opportunities.   

The Beginning of State Parks in Maine

The push for state parks in Maine came after similar initiatives in other states such as New York and Connecticut, which both had state parks systems as early as 1921  (Tilden 1962).  Maine most likely lagged behind other states in terms of state park adoption because of its low population density, abundant forests, and a tradition of private landownership.  State parks were created in part as a response to the urbanization of Southern Maine that was seen as unnatural and unhealthy at the time (Couture, Trueworthy, and Raye 1952).  Maine created its first state park when the former Governor Percival Baxter, bequeathed Mt.  Katahdin and surrounding land to the state in 1931 on the condition that it be preserved as “forever wild” (Austin 2008).   As governor, Baxter had tried and failed to get the state legislature to purchase the land, but the legislature was unreceptive to his ambitious idea.  Because Baxter State Park was established in a unique way, it is distinct from other state parks in Maine in both its characteristics and management. 

Four years later, in 1935, the Maine legislature created the State Park Commission, which would become the authority governing all future state parks, with the exception of Baxter State Park (Couture, Trueworthy, and Raye 1952).  This is the date being celebrated during the 75th anniversary of the state parks system in Maine in 2010.  The first area put under the Commission’s authority was Aroostook County State Park in 1938.  Maine state parks would also grow to be a key feature in Maine’s quality of place, and become a destination for out of state tourists. 

Figure 1.1 Total number of parks increase over time (MDOC 2010).

From Then to Now

Currently, there are 49 state parks across Maine.  Since the creation of State Park Commission, the management of state parks transferred to the Department of Parks and Recreation in 1972, and was further consolidated into the Department of Conservation in 1974 as the Bureau of Parks and Recreation.  Currently, state parks are managed by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands as a result of a further merger in 1997 between the Bureau of Public Lands and the Bureau of Parks and Recreation. 

The types of public lands under the jurisdiction of the MBPL are categorized by use.   Use can differ significantly; activities range from multiple-use (e.g.  timber harvesting) to preservation.  MBPL designates the land as a state park or public land unit, and the state also holds lands under conservation easements (legal rights to prevent future development of land).  Most public land in Maine is comprised of public land units which are managed for multiple uses (including recreation, timber, and conservation).  State parks are more well-known than other forms of public lands; although they comprise only a small fraction of the total acreage managed by the MBPL and are much more restrictive with rules regarding use (activities permitted, harvest of wood, and overall management). 

State parks are strictly reserved for recreation and conservation.  Extractive uses such as timber harvesting are prohibited except for in-park use such as campfires.   The mission of state parks in the system of public lands has been outlined in the Integrated Resource Policy as “primarily for public recreation or conservation purposes” (MDOC 2000).   This frames Maine state parks as a public good, providing space where people are encouraged to come and recreate.  In addition, they are a public service, protecting wildlife and ecosystem services (this is primarily on a small scale however, such as providing essential habitat for endangered plant or animal species).  Most state parks are relatively small (the median size is 170 acres) with the exception of Baxter State Park and the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.  Baxter State Park is the largest state park; almost 75% of total state park land in Maine is within Baxter’s limits.   It is managed autonomously by the Baxter State Park Authority, which is headquartered in Millinocket.   The Allagash Wilderness Waterway is also noteworthy because of its size and wilderness characteristics associated with the river not found in other smaller Maine state parks.   

Goals and Objectives

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Maine's state park system.  Despite its importance to the past, present and future of Maine, relatively little has been written about this system.  While many reports have been released talking about certain aspects of Maine state parks, such as recreation or economic impacts, we have been unable to find a comprehensive overview.  This report examines the state of recreation, funding, and conservation aspects of state parks. 

Methods

To assess the state of state parks in Maine, we conducted spatial, quantitative and qualitative analyses.  We assembled background information by surveying print and online literature on state parks in Maine and interviewing individuals in the Maine Department of Conservation (MDOC), MBPL, and an environmental non-profit organization. Our focus was on the MBPL state parks because of its uniqueness and because much has already been written about it. We gathered quantitative data from MDOC reports and promotional materials.  We used these data to analyze the status and trends in park growth, popularity, recreational opportunities and funding challenges.  We found that most publicly available information about state parks contained gaps and inconsistencies. 

Perhaps the most surprising part of our research was that a significant amount of time was spent identifying the number of state parks and creating a map with their locations.   After analysis of Geographical Information System (GIS) data on conservation lands available from the Maine Office of GIS, The Maine State Parks 75th Anniversary Passport, the MBPL online park finder tool, and interviews with park officials (Director of Realty and Engineering, Director of Bureau of Parks and Lands Will Harris, and Commissioner of the Department of Conservation Eliza Townsend), we were able to identify this list of the 49 Maine state parks. 

Table 1.1 List of all Maine state parks (Harris and Townsend 2010; MDOC 2010).  Prior to this report, no cumulative up-to-date list of state parks in Maine was publicly accessible. 

State Parks in Maine
1. Allagash Wilderness Waterway 26. Katahdin Iron Works
2. Androscoggin Riverlands State Park 27. Lake St. George State Park
3. Aroostook State Park 28. Lamoine State Park
4. Baxter State Park 29. Lily Bay State Park
5. Birch Point State Park 30. Mackworth Island State Park Trail
6. Bradbury Mountain State Park 31. Moose Point State Park
7. Camden Hills State Park 32. Mount Blue State Park
8. Cobscook Bay State Park 33. Mount Kineo State Park
9. Colburn House state Historic Site 34. Owls Head State Park
10. Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site 35. Peaks-Kenny State Park
11. Crescent Beach State Park 36. Penobscot River Corridor
12. Damariscotta Lake State Park 37. Popham Beach State Park
13. Eagle Island State Historic Site 38. Quoddy Head State Park
14. Ferry Beach State Park 39. Range Ponds State Park
15. Fort Baldwin State Historic Site 40. Rangeley Lakes State Park
16. Fort Edgecomb State Historic Site 41. Reid State Park
17. Fort Halifax State Historic Site 42. Roque Bluffs State Park
18. Fort Kent State Historic Site 43. Sebago Lake State Park
19. Fort Knox State Historic Site 44. Shackford Head State Park
20. Fort McClary State Historic Site 45. Swan Lake State Park
21. Fort O'Brien State Historic Site 46. Two Lights State Park
22. Fort Point State Park 47. Vaughan Woods Memorial State Park
23. Fort Popham State Historic Site 48. Warren Island State Park
24. Grafton Notch State Park 49. Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park
25. Holbrook Island Sanctuary

In some of our quantitative analysis on park size, we excluded outliers such as Baxter State Park and the Allagash Wilderness Waterway because their greater size distorted our results.  Because Baxter State Park is separately managed outside from the larger state park system, we could not obtain visitation data from the Bureau of Parks and Lands as we did with the other parks.  These visitation figures are a combination of numbers counted in staffed parks in peak season and numbers estimated in unstaffed parks and during off season. 

To analyze the state of recreational opportunities in state parks, we examined the range and availability of these opportunities.  We wanted to explain whether Maine state parks provide easy access and use for all age groups, people of all ability levels, and areas of the state and cater to present and future needs both of residents and visitors.  We also explained whether their use degrades the character and legacy of park land or waters.  Data provided in the Maine State Parks 75th Anniversary Passport were combined with information collected from the Baxter State Park Authority website (http://www.baxterstateparkauthority.com/) to aggregate the amenities and recreational opportunities available at all state parks. 

We used ArcGIS 9.3 to visually represent spatial data.  We created a map of state parks by extracting their land parcels based on location from the conserved land shapefile.  We then calculated the total acreage of each state park using these data.  We cross referenced this data from Natural Resource Areas in State Parks, State Historic Sites and Other Park and Recreational Parcels Managed by the Bureau of Parks and Lands  (MDOC 1998) and by directly contacting individual state park offices.  If we could not verify park acreage externally, we retained the value obtained from the shapefile.  We used land cover data from United States Geological Survey’s Gap Analysis Program to calculate the diversity and extent of habitats within state parks and compared these to Maine.  We compared Maine and other New England state parks by total acreage and as percent of the entire state using these data.

Laws and Institutions    

Most laws relating to state parks in Maine are state-level statutes.  State legislation details either economic (land acquisition, funding, etc) or management (jurisdiction, purposes, goals, etc) issues.  Rather than setting out goals and agendas for state parks, Maine laws create a framework to enable state agencies to carry out their work.  Within this framework, the Baxter State Park is legally separate from the Bureau of Parks and Lands and under the jurisdiction of the Baxter State Park Authority.  Acts in MRS Title 12 Part 2 Chapter 220 are the result of the consolidation of the Bureau of Public Lands and the Bureau of Parks and Recreation into the Bureau of Parks and Lands. 

The most relevant federal law is the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act which assists in acquisition of lands.

Table 1.2 Various laws and institutions relating to state parks in Maine.

Law Year Description Location
Land and Water Conservation Fund 1965 Used by the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management to procure lands. USC Title 16 Chapter 1 Subchapter LXIX § 4601-4
Baxter State Park: Purpose 1971 Outlines the general purpose of Baxter State Park to be kept for the people of Maine as wilderness MRS Title 12 Part 2 Chapter 211 Subchapter 3 § 900
Land for Maine’s Future Fund 1987 Established the Land for Maine’s Future Fund, detailing the acquisition and application of funds. MRS Title 5 Part 15 Chapter 353 § 6203
Designated Lands 1993 Outlines designated lands that cannot be reduced or altered including the types of land under the care, custody, control and management of the Bureau of Parks and Lands MRS Title 12 Part 2 Chapter 202-d § 598a
Acquire interests in land; eminent domain 1997 Establishes the rights to acquire land with the purposes of holding and managing this land. MRS Title 12 Part 2 Chapter 220 Subchapter2 §1812
Parks and Historic Sites Administer Certain Funds 1997 Mandates some of the funds administered by the Bureau of Parks and Lands relating to state parks and historic sites MRS Title 12 Part 2 Chapter 220
Subchapter 2 § 1825
Allagash Wilderness Waterway: Declaration of Policy 1997 Sets forth the goals and prospective characteristics of the waterway MRS Title 12 Part 2 Chapter 220 Subchapter 6 §1871
General Powers and Duties of the Bureau [of Parks and Lands] 1997 Defines the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Parks and Lands over state parks, permitting entrance in cooperative agreements as well as creation rules necessary to carry out its duties. MRS Title 12 Part 2 Chapter 220 Subchapter 1 § 1803
Parks and Historic Sites Reporting 1997 Outlines reporting duties of the Bureau of Parks and Lands to the Governor including needs assessments, status of resources, acquisition of parks and outdoor recreation plans MRS Title 12 Part 2 Chapter 220 Subchapter 2 § 1817

Stakeholders

Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands

The MBPL, the primary governing body for state parks in Maine, acts under Maine’s Department of Conservation and oversees the use and management of all public lands in Maine.  It’s mission statement is to “[protect] and [manage] the natural and cultural resources under its care in order to offer a wide range of recreational and educational opportunities and provide environmental and economic benefits for present and future generations” (MBPL 2010c).  MBPL is responsible for making all financial, social, and political decisions regarding state parks. 

Baxter State Park Authority

The Baxter State Park Authority was created by the Maine State Legislature to oversee Governor Percival Baxter's gift of Mt. Katahdin and the surrounding land to the people and control all decisions about the park.  The Baxter State Park Authority operates outside the MBPL state parks system.  Nevertheless, Baxter State Park is the largest and arguably most iconic state park in Maine.  Baxter State Park provides unique habitat conservation and recreational opportunities.  In addition, the park serves as a potential model for large-scale and multiple-use state parks. 

The People of Maine

State parks were created for the use and appreciation of the citizens of Maine.  The parks play a valuable role in providing low-cost recreational, education and spiritual opportunities throughout the year (Baldacci 2010).  About two-thirds of visitors to the parks are from Maine, and many of them form special connections to specific parks and visit them repeatedly (Harris and Townsend 2010).

Friends of State Parks Groups

Friends of state parks groups are local and citizen-based volunteer groups whose missions are to ensure the preservation of the state parks system, individual parks or historic sites.  These groups support state parks through fund-raising activities, volunteer labor, and their local knowledge.  They are also important because they are a vocal constituency and provide a citizen input in the management of state parks.  There are estimated to be almost a dozen such friends groups in Maine. 

Environmental, Historical and Recreational Non-Profits

Local, state and national non-profit organizations are crucial supporters of Maine state parks.  Although they pursue their own organizational missions, these organizations promote overlapping goals such as environmental preservation and quality outdoor recreation.  For example, the Natural Resource Council of Maine has helped state parks campaign for greater funding and assisted in promoting public awareness about state parks.  Historical preservation groups, notably the Maine Historical Society, support the preservation of historic sites in Maine.  Recreational groups such as Sportsmen Alliance of Maine, Maine Snowmobile Association, Maine Recreation and Park Association and the Appalachian Mountain Club advocate for increased recreational opportunities and access. 

Local Governments

While state parks offer valuable services to the public at large, nearby communities may have different sentiments depending on local impacts of these parks.  Proximity to state parks may bring economic benefits from tourism but also may cause disruption in the day-to-day lives of residents.  In areas with a strong tax base, acquisition of land for state parks is likely to be appreciated for reducing development pressures.  In areas with a weaker tax base, acquisition of land for state parks decreases the local municipality's tax roll and, thus, may face local opposition (Tatko 2010).

Tourism Industry

The scenery and recreational opportunities of Maine state parks attract roughly 2 million tourists from in and out of state annually.  Service industries close to state parks benefit from their location and visitors inject money into the local economy.  In 2005, visitors to state parks in Maine spent an estimated $60.3 million on goods and services (Morris, Roper, and Allen 2006). 

State of State Parks

Basic Overview

Administrative Structure of the State Park System

The management of the state parks systems is divided into three regions: north, south, and the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.  The institutional culture at MDOC and the MBPL is one based on the experience, integrity, and decision-making skills of its employees (Picher 2010).  The daily operating decisions of individual parks are made at the park level and occasionally at the regional level, but major decisions are managed by the MBPL in Augusta (Harris and Townsend 2010). 

Basic Facts

The state parks system contains 12 historic sites, 34 parks, and 2 river corridors.  The median size of state parks in Maine is 170 acres.  The parks are distributed throughout the state from the southern to northern border.


Figure 1.2 This map displays the 49 Maine state parks, major roads, and a hillshade to give context (Maine Office of GIS 4/30/2010).  State parks are concentrated in southern Maine and along the coast.

Figure 1.3 Total state parks in various size categories (Maine Office of GIS 4/30/2010).  Maine state parks are mostly small.  More than 50% of the parks are less than 2000 acres. 

Visitation

Over the past decade, an average of 2.3 million people have visited Maine’s state parks each year.  Visitation numbers fluctuate year to year due to a number of factors including weather, facility closures and upgrades, and economic climate.  In the past three years, there has been an increase in visitation due to public outreach programs such as the Maine State Parks 75th Anniversary Passport, Take it Outside, and First Time Camper programs (Harris and Townsend 2010).   This year, over 2.5 million visits have been recorded, the highest visitation figures since 2001 (MBPL 2010b).  The most common activities these visitors engage in are nature watching, picnicking, swimming and photography.  In a survey conducted at state parks, more than 95% of visitors rated their visit as good or excellent (Morris, Roper, and Allen 2006).  Of these visitors, nearly 60% are Maine residents and roughly 40% are from out-of-state (Morris, Roper, and Allen 2006).  The majority of visitors to historic sites are from out of state.  Historically, there was a noticeable correlation between the number of parks and day use between 1967and 1982 indicating a positive relationship between number parks and visitation figures.  In the last 15 years, visitation rates have been relatively flat.

Figure 1.4 Day use data displaying fluctuation in relation to total number of parks over time (MBPL 2010b).

Figure 1.5 Number of visitors from 1995 until 2010 in state parks and historic sites (MBPL 2010b).

Recreation

­­­­This section examines recreational opportunity as a function of geographic accessibility and the quantity and range of recreational amenities provided by state parks. 

Geographic Accessibility of State Parks

Maine is a large and relatively low population density state compared to the rest of New England.  Maine’s population is concentrated along the southern coastal and central portions of the state, while the vast majority of remaining relatively undeveloped land lies further north and inland.

Every county in Maine has at least one state park.  The average number of acres of state park per county, excluding Baxter State Park, is 4,300.  The average number of state park acres per capita by county is 0.14.  Distance can be defined as road miles, straight-line distance, and cognitive (perceived) distance (Nyaupane, Graefe, and Burns 2003).  In this report, distance refers to straight-line distance.  It should be noted that MBPL public land units, municipal parks, and private lands that provide public access were ignored.  Most Mainers live nearby a state park: 28% live within 5 miles, 62% live within 10 miles, and 80% live within 15 miles.  Figure 1.6 overlays a 15 mile buffer surrounding every state park on top of population data, which was used to calculate these percentages. 


Figure 1.6 Eighty percent of Maine’s population is located within 15 miles of a state park. This map displays 15 mile buffers around Maine state parks overlain on population density (people/sq mile) (Maine Office of GIS 4/30/2010; MEGIS 2007).

Day use is often defined as a maximum of 50-60 miles of travel (Picher 2010).  This definition has changed over time.  In Maine’s 1952 report about recreation on public land, daily use was defined as up to 15 miles, with weekend recreation being estimated at between 25 and 50 miles (Couture, Trueworthy, and Raye 1952).  The distinction between weekday and weekend day use seems to have been lost since then.  All Mainers have a state park within day use distance from their house if the 60 mile definition is used.  The MDOC website's park finder includes options for “single-tank trips” and distance willing to drive (any distance between 25 and 100 miles can be selected) (MDOC 2009). 

Increased proximity to a state park can encourage park use because it reduces opportunity costs, such as time and transportation costs.  The elderly tend to prefer closer recreational opportunities (Gobster 1990).  A report presented at the 2005 Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium that examined the distance traveled by visitors to Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington State found that as distance increased, visitors to the park were significantly more likely to engage in viewing activities rather than all forms of active outdoor recreation such as hiking, camping, and mountain biking (Nyaupane, Graefe, and Burns 2003).  Furthermore, as distance increased the visitors were less likely to return to the park (Nyaupane, Graefe, and Burns 2003).  This has two implications for Maine state parks.  First, it may be the case that if state parks are located close to communities, citizens will engage in more active recreational pursuits.  Secondly, repeated use of the park is more likely if the park is nearby.  Thirdly, state parks closer to the elderly may better serve that population’s needs. 

Recreation Amenities

Amenities are useful features and make state parks more accessible and welcoming by improving the visitor recreational experience.  Different features appeal to different visitors, so parks with multiple amenities are likely to attract to a more diverse range of users.  Maine state parks offer a total of 353 amenities in 28 different categories  (MDOC 2010).  On average, a state park offers 7 facility amenities and/or recreational opportunities.  The top ten facilities and opportunities are picnic area (41), wildlife watching (41), fishing (35), hiking (23), group shelter (20), playground (15), canoeing (15), hunting (15), swimming (15), and winter recreation (15).  ATV use (2), Wifi (2), and RV hookup (2) are the least common amenities at state parks.  Table 1.3 has a full list of the different recreational opportunities and facility amenities (data for Baxter was not official, so actual totals may vary by up to 1).  Unfortunately, we did not find temporal data for these amenities and opportunities, but did ascertain that there has been a push in recent years for playgrounds and more winter recreation opportunities such as cross country skiing (Harris and Townsend 2010; Picher 2010). 

Table 1.3 Total amenities available within the state parks system in Maine (MDOC 2010).  In addition to the 28 different amenities and recreation opportunities listed in the Passport, Baxter has a number of additional amenities and opportunities.  These include cabins available for rent, backcountry hiking, and technical climbing.  These three additions are not included in the summary.

Amenity/Opportunity Number Across State Park System
Picnic Area 41
Wildlife Watching 41
Fishing 35
Hiking 23
Group Shelter 20
Playground 15
Canoeing 15
Hunting 15
Swimming 15
Winter Recreation 15
Campground 15
Boat launch- trailer 12
Group Camping 12
Snowmobiling 12
Hot Showers 11
Kayaking 10
RV Dumping Station 7
Walking Trail 8
Cross-country skiing 7
Horse riding 5
Interpretive Trail 6
Food Service 4
Off Road Biking 4
Boat Launch --hand 4
RV Hookup 2
Wifi 2
ATV 2


Recreation Issues and Population Groups

Motorization

One trend in these data is that Maine state parks continue to be places where non-motorized recreation is dominant, as evidenced by the top 10 amenities.  Public reserved lands administered by the MBPL contain the vast majority of snowmobile and ATV trails.  This may be due to the more traditional recreation purpose of Maine state parks, the relatively isolated nature of state parks from the Maine trail system, or the lack of linear space for motorized trail use (ACSA 2007).

Wilderness

With a median size of 170 acres, Maine state parks are mostly small and opportunities for wilderness recreation are limited.  Wilderness travel is possible by water in the Allagash, and by land in Baxter.  In the US, backpacking is the ninth fastest growing activity according to the National Survey on Recreation and the Environment, and the eighth most popular outdoor activity according to the 2006 Outdoor Recreation Participation Study (MBPL 2009).  Most new backcountry opportunities are being created in public land units or through private conservation.  The Governor’s Task Force Regarding the Management of Public Lands and Publicly-held easements found that there is demand for “remote backcountry recreational opportunities away from motor noise” (Governor's Task Force 2008).  It is up for debate whether state parks should include more wilderness opportunities or continue on the current path of providing front-country opportunities (Governor's Task Force 2008).  Providing more wilderness opportunities would require new or existing parks to dramatically increase in size which is unlikely given current budget constraints. 

Children and Youth

Engaging children in the outdoors has been shown to decrease the lack of physical activity in Maine (SCORP 2009).  Besides health benefits, there are numerous other benefits associated with outdoor recreation including increased mental well-being and improvement in school (Louv 2007).  The 2009 Maine State Conservation Outdoor Recreation Plan lists popular activities for 16-24 year olds in Maine such as biking, backpacking, kayaking, rafting, snowmobiling and sledding (MBPL 2009).  Gateway activities such as fishing, running, camping, bicycling, and hiking encourage additional outdoor experiences (Outdoor Foundation 2010).  Maine's state park system offers important opportunities for children and youth to experience the outdoors. 

The Elderly

Maine’s population has the highest median age of any state, which presents unique challenges to the state park system (Callahan 2007).  Older adults (defined as 55 and older) tend to spend more time on foot (as compared to on bikes etc.), going shorter distances than those under 55 (Gobster 1990).  Additionally, they tend to participate more in viewing and learning activities rather than more rigorous physical pursuits (MBPL 2009).  According to one focus group of experts, the top five priorities for serving older residents and tourists were: an indication of the degree of difficulty for trails, mixed and identified way-finding signage, easily maneuverable parking, inexpensive or free park access, and clean bathrooms (SCORP 2009).  Many of Maine's state parks already offer low-impact recreation including wildlife watching (40 parks), canoeing (15), walking trails (7), and interpretive trails (5) that could be easily tailored to the elderly.

Disabled Access

Maine state parks attempt to accommodate all physical ability levels.  At the time of writing disability statistics for 2009 were not available, but according to the 2000 census 20% of Mainers had a disability of some kind (US Census 2000).  There have been a number of reports covering accessibility issues of Maine state parks relative to the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.  The latest report rates the accessibility of 39 state parks and provides a one to three star rating.  These parks averaged two stars, which indicates that they have “limited access” and that “some features are accessible; others features may require assistance” (MBPL 2004). 

Funding

Funding for state parks comes from the state's general appropriations, determined annually by the legislature, and from dedicated funding streams.  Dedicated stream sources are water extraction royalties, loon conservation license plate revenues, general purpose bonds and donations.  The budget for state parks has declined over the last decade.  Converted to 2010 dollars, the 2002 budget was approximately $11.6 million, in 2005, it was $9.7 million and in 2010, it is roughly $8.1 million (Harris and Townsend 2010; Fretwell and Frost 2006; Morris, Roper, and Allen 2006).  This budget is limited to expenses such as operating costs and staff salaries.  Capital funding for equipment and infrastructure maintenance and improvements are allocated separately, but in the last 8 years, MBPL has received no capital budget from the general appropriation (Harris and Townsend 2010).

These budget decreases stem from state financial constraints and a marked decreased in dedicated funding due to a decline in loon plate sales (Harris and Townsend 2010).  The loon plate was an innovative funding strategy that was introduced in 1993, where plate holders pledged upfront and subsequent annual donations to the preservation of state parks.  In the height of its popularity, loon plates brought in $700,000-$900,000 of annual revenue.  When the general chickadee plate and other charity plates were introduced, loon plate sales began to decline.  Currently, loon plate sales generate slightly more than $400,000 a year (Harris and Townsend 2010).

The MBPL depends on bonds issues for capital improvements and land acquisition.  In 2007, a bond including $7.5 million for capital improvements in state parks was approved by the public and was used to repair, upgrade and install facilities that have attracted more visitors to parks.  In six parks where playgrounds were installed, a notable increase in family visitation has been observed and upgrades in facilities such as bathrooms and showers have helped expand usage during the off season (MBPL 2010a).  However, total capital repair needs for 2007 – 2012 are estimated to be $40 million with an additional $10 million biennially for maintenance (MSPO 2006).  The recent bond approval of $500,000 to state parks falls short of what is required.  Over $30 million is still needed for capital repairs of existing infrastructure.   

Table 1.4 Bond ballots related to state parks and state historic sites 1970 – 2010 (MSLLRL 2010; MSPO 2006).  Since 1970, $30.6 million (2010 dollars) has been approved for state park capital requirements. 

Year Ballot Question Result % Yes % No
1972 Bond issue of $3.1 million for state park facilities and airports Failed 50.4 49.6
1973 Bond issue of $3 million for acquisition of real property for state parks Approved 63.1 36.9
1981 Bond issue of $1.5 million for development of state park facilities Failed 48.5 51.4
1991 Bond issue of $5 million for the purchase of outstanding recreational and scenic lands, wildlife habitat conservation and increasing public access Failed 42.9 57.1
1991 Bond issue of $5 million for major renovations and improvements at state parks and for the preservation of historic buildings open to the public Failed 32.6 67.4
1993 Bond issue for water pollution control facilities including $2.25 million for state park amenities Approved 64.5 35.5
1996 Bond issue of $3 million to make capital improvements at state parks and historic sites Approved 59.4 40.6
2007 Bond issue of $35.5 million to invest in land conservation, water access, wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation opportunities, including $7.5 million for state parks and historic sites infrastructure Approved 63.1 36.9
2010 Bond issue of $9.75 million bond issue to invest in land conservation and working waterfront preservation including $0.5 million for state park preservation Approved 59.3 40.7


MBPL also leverages the Land for Maine's Future (LMF) program to acquire land for state parks.  This program was approved in 1987 by citizen ballot and aims to preserve Maine's heritage by securing public access to lands of ecological, recreational and cultural value and is similarly funded by bond issues.  LMF does not propose land purchases but evaluates and funds proposals to conserve land from citizen groups, non-profits, foundations and state agencies.  Under LMF, private funding must match public funds 1:2 to purchase fee-title land and conservation easements.  The MBPL has acquired almost 9,000 acres for state parks through this program, including substantial parcels that helped establish Shackford Head and Androscoggin State Parks (MSPO 2010).  In the past, the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund was a major land acquisition funding source, but severe funding cuts over two decades have blunted its usefulness (Landrum 2004). 

Despite the lack of funding, in 2010 state parks generated more than 40% of their general appropriation through user fees (Harris and Townsend 2010).  This money does not return to MBPL, but to Maine's general fund, local communities and the Bureau of Revenue Services.  In 2005, states parks contributed $1.8 million, $300,000 and $56,000 to these entities respectively (Morris, Roper, and Allen 2006).

With a strained budget, state parks have pursued alternative funding sources such as partnerships with private donors and external grants.  Currently, MBPL works with private companies on specific programs such as the passport program and First Time Campers.  MBPL receives royalties from the Poland Springs water bottling company to balance tensions between budget needs and non-commercialization.  Presently, Poland Springs pays royalties to extract water from an aquifer bordering Range Pond State Park and between 1999 – 2006 contributed $4 million to the maintenance of state parks in Maine (Morris, Roper, and Allen 2006).  Maine-based corporations such as LL Bean, Hannaford and Wicked Joe helped fund the successful Maine State Parks Passport Program.  LL Bean also sponsored prizes for the First Time Camper program.  MBPL leveraged anti-tobacco funds to publish much-needed state park location maps for the public (Harris and Townsend 2010).  This trend of public-private partnership is growing nationally.  For example, Kansas state parks receives direct funding from corporate sponsorship and New Hampshire’s state park system is exploring the possibility of a corporate partnership with Eastern Mountain Sports to promote its state parks in EMS's stores (Ramer 2010). 

Volunteers and friends groups also provide valuable support to the understaffed state park system.  In 2009, volunteers contributed 49,000 hours to state park maintenance (Baldacci 2010).  This volunteer work is limited to ground maintenance activities and not infrastructure (Harris and Townsend 2010).  Some active friends groups organize special events, lead tours, staff gift shops, secure grants and help fund-raise (MSPO 2006). 

Despite its lack of funding, MBPL under MDOC is pursuing innovative communication strategies to increase public awareness about state parks and encourage visitation.  It has implemented promotional and outreach programs such as the State Parks Passport, Take-It-Outside and First Time Campers program to encourage and support individuals and families to visit Maine state parks.  These successful programs have given state parks effective media presence in place of paid advertising.  The MBPL has also utilized the free social media network, Facebook, as a way to reach out and engage the public.  As of November 28, 2010, MDOC's Facebook page is 'liked' by 1,284 other Facebook users.  These users receive immediate updates from the MDOC Facebook page in their personal Facebook homepage.    

New Hampshire Comparison: A Self-Sufficient Funding System?

New Hampshire's state parks system does not depend on state general funds for operations and is self-sufficient.  It does receive general funding from the state for specific capital projects.  The system has several funding sources including one for capital and a dedicated stream from license plates.  It contracts concessions to food service vendors and a ski area which is a large source of revenue.  User fees are comparable to those in other states.  Its day use park fee for adults is $4 for all adult users.  Maine state parks charge $2-4 for resident adults and $3-7 for non-resident adults depending on the state park.  As in Maine, maintenance and staffing remain challenges.  New Hampshire's state park system has a different character, history and vision from Maine's.  In the first half of the 20th century, New Hampshire's Division of Parks and Recreation implemented long-term fiscal planning and commercial ventures.  Their vision states “management is innovative and dynamic, emphasizing outstanding customer service, meeting diverse needs, and developing strong partnerships with other public and private entities” (NHDPR 2010).  Their website is user-friendly, 'click-able' and informative making it very accessible and attractive to visitors whereas MBPL's website could be made more user-friendly. 

Conservation

State parks in Maine are part of a larger system of conservation and serve specific goals in this regard.  Most large-scale conservation in Maine occurs on public land units, conservation easements held by MBPL, and private efforts such as deed restrictions and land trusts.  Conservation in Maine is marginally affected by the lands within state parks because the majority of conservation land is external to state parks (see Fig 1.7).  However, the primary purpose of these public lands is to remain undeveloped and to provide opportunities for nature-based recreation.  Public land units differ significantly from state parks in size, location, and intention.  These public lands are mostly larger in size and quantity, comprising 17.8% of Maine, compared to state parks’ 1.9% (MSPO 2009; Maine Office of GIS 2010).  They are found largely in the north, while state parks are concentrated in the south.  In addition, these lands are unstaffed, undeveloped, and marginally maintained aside from trail work (Picher 2010).


Figure 1.7 State parks make up a relatively small amount of overall conservation land in Maine (Maine Office of GIS 2010).

Conservation in Maine state parks is typically on a small scale with a narrow scope and a unique purpose, with the exception of Baxter State Park.  This focus on the presence of “state registered Critical Areas, essential fish and wildlife breeding and nesting habitat, and National Natural Landmarks” is the only conservation effort found within the parks (MDOC 1998).  Critical Areas are places with considerable importance to wildlife in terms of habitat or resources.  The Natural Resource Areas (NRAS) found within Maine state parks are often small and isolated and include examples of rare habitat.  More than four fifths of Maine is forested and the majority of state parks are located on or near the coast; certain sensitive habitats are concentrated in many state parks because they are biogeographical foci for these sensitive areas.  We were unaware of any study on the habitat surrounding state parks and how certain Critical Areas may fit into the larger ecosystems adjacent to state parks.

Areas of potential importance are surveyed by Bureau staff, interns, and state park and historic site managers, and the findings are recorded by MBPL to help make more informed decisions about state parks (MDOC 1998).  This inventory is incomplete and collecting data is an ongoing process as new acres and parks are added while old surveys are completed.  During the study, only 35 state parks and historic sites surveyed yielded some form of environmental importance; 20 had forested wetlands, 14 contained state registered critical areas, and five with some other form of environmental habitat feature with “relative importance of the area in Maine” (MDOC 1998).  There are only three species-specific categories on the survey: the presence of Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagle, or Osprey nests, which have only been found in three state parks.  The survey identified particular topographical features in 32 state parks and historical sites and bedrock or glacial geological elements were identified in 23 (MDOC 1998). 

A USGS Gap Analysis Program (GAP) survey of Maine was able to identify different habitats within Maine state parks.  GAP analysis derives plant land cover from satellite images and plots differences categorically into GIS mapping.  Effectively mapping the entire land cover of Maine, Gap analysis is an essential tool to examine habitat; however, the methodology of this technique is prone to a certain level of error on the periphery, and defining where certain habitats begin and end can be unclear.  Despite this, the GAP data presents a cumulative assessment of land cover habitat within Maine state parks; illustrating how Maine state parks contain all of the habitats in Maine.  Of Maine’s rare habitats (those comprising less than 10% of total acreage) state parks contain a majority of these habitats with considerable coverage of some of Maine’s most rare habitats such as the alpine tundra and exposed rocks. 


Figure 1.8 The rarest habitats in Maine (categories with less than 10% of total) compared to those in state parks (USGS 2010). 

Although state parks contain “facilities for concentrated public use” they also “contain unusual or important NRAs which experience little public use” (MDOC 1998).  These facilities are permanent and semi-permanent structures built for the convenience of the public such as bathhouses, playgrounds, lookouts, and shelters.  They are built with as little obstruction to the environment as possible (Picher 2010).  Other than development in state parks, the only consumptive practice is timber harvesting “to preserve the maximum practicable extent their natural, recreational and scenic qualities” (§1826 Forest Management 1997). 

State parks should, in theory, provide the public an area to recreate as well as conserve precious habitat for plant and animal species.  In practice, however, state parks serve primarily as a recreational resource with conservation efforts coming secondary, and covered primarily by other land use management strategies practiced by MBPL.

­­­­Discussion

Administrative Structure

Maine’s state park system is embedded in institutional practices that have evolved over time and highly dependent on the knowledge and experience of its staff.  This informal structure allows the system to be responsive to visitors on the ground.  However, it makes it difficult for citizens to understand and navigate the system.  It also means a substantial loss of human capital when staff leaves. 

Recreation

Maine state parks are “dedicated to the visitor's enjoyment”, and were primarily created for recreation rather than conservation (MDOC 2004; Harris and Townsend 2010; Couture, Trueworthy, and Raye 1952).  In the view of the MDOC, Maine state parks should provide facilities and recreational opportunities that cater to present and future needs of both of residents and out-of-state visitors, while not degrading the natural character and legacy of the land or waters. 

Although extensive recreational opportunities currently exist, information about what Mainers want to do in their state parks would assist in planning future development.  A statewide survey would accomplish this, but such a survey has not been conducted since the mid-1980s (Picher 2010).  Such a survey would document what Mainers enjoy doing in their state parks, what they envision the role of state parks to be in the future, and what recreational amenities they would like to see built.  Without a statewide survey it is difficult to assess pent up demand for opportunities and amenities such as snowshoeing trails.  A similar survey of visitors to Maine might also be valuable.  In lieu of such surveys, there are national surveys on recreation trends such as the National Survey on Recreation and the Environment produced by the US Forest Survey, and reports produced by the Outdoor Industry Foundation.  The latest SCORP contains some statewide data about popular outdoor recreation activities obtained from National Survey on Recreation and the Environment specific to Maine (for further information see the 2009-2014 SCORP available on the DOC website).  Other information about how visitors use state parks comes from economic reports such as the Baxter State Park Economic Impact Study done in 2008 and the Economic Contributions of Maine State Parks, produced in 2006.  Additional support for these data is provided by the Maine Office of Tourism in the form of information requests by visitors and residents.  With these data, Maine produces a State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan or SCORP. 

The creation and implementation of SCORPs and its predecessors, are tasked with creating a guide and framework for decisions made about recreation on public lands.  The SCORP is necessary to receive federal Land and Water Conservation Funds administered by the National Park Service, which provided close to $40 million dollars between 1965 and 2009 (MBPL 2009a). The SCORP also fulfills a legal requirement to report to the legislature every five years (see table 1.2).  The SCORP covers all recreation on BPL land, but does not provide specific recommendations for Maine state parks.  Including Maine state parks as part of a larger whole is valuable, but it does not provide direction for recreation in state parks in particular indeed Chapter V, implementation strategy, only mentions state parks once. 

Funding

Funding is one of the state parks system's biggest hurdles.  Maine state parks have inadequate facilities and suffer from lack of maintenance.  The parks are degraded by visitor usage, weather and prolonged neglect.  They require upgraded plumbing systems, roof work, asbestos removal, paving, family friendly amenities, and handicapped accessibility (MSPO 2006).  The lack of capacity to maintain current infrastructure also prevents new state parks from being established.  There are no funds to construct basic infrastructure though there are acquired lands that could be developed into new parks (Harris and Townsend 2010).  Funding problems also threaten Maine state parks' history of low-cost user fees and public access.  States across the US have had to impose higher or diversified and tiered user fees in efforts to increase revenue generation because of budget cuts (Fretwell and Frost 2006). 

State parks provide economic opportunities such as tourism that are based largely on non-extractive use of natural resources and thus, can be considered renewable because they preserve Maine’s natural resources while generating economic activities.  State parks will contribute to the Maine economy year after year. 

A study by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center estimated that in 2005, visitors to Maine state parks spent $60.3 million on goods and services directly related to their visit (Morris, Roper, and Allen 2006).  Including the multiplier effect of this spending, state park visitors supported $95.7 million of economic activity and supported 1,449 full- and part-time jobs (Morris, Roper, and Allen 2006).  That is, for every $1 million spent on state parks, more than $11 million was generated.  The total visitor spending (excluding user fees which return to the general fund do not generate direct economic activity) and the $8.7 million operating budget in total is the state parks' estimated contribution to Maine's GDP. 

Figure 1.9 State parks’ contribution to Maine GDP compared to other service industries (USBEA 2010).


Figure 1.10 State parks’ contribution to Maine GDP compared to other natural resource-based industries (USBEA 2010).

As sprawling development changes the rural character of Maine, changes demographics and places market pressures on land owners, access to private lands, such as large timberland, with traditions of public recreational access may be threatened (Governor's Task Force 2008).  The contribution of state parks to the economy may increase in real value as these outdoor recreational opportunities become scarce and more people turn to state parks for recreation, increasing user-fee revenues.  In addition to visitor-generated economic impacts, state parks contribute to social good in forms that are not economically quantifiable, though of value.  State parks offer relatively equitable access to recreational opportunities that foster the distinct quality of life and culture of Maine.  These opportunities are relatively low-cost and accessible.  As highlighted by the increase in people opting for 'stay-cations' (vacations close to home) during difficult economic times, state parks are important to maintain a high quality of life and connection to nature that all Mainers can enjoy.  State parks also provide social and ecological services by preserving natural, cultural and historical heritage, while protecting wildlife habitat. 

Conservation

Habitat conservation in state parks proportionally covers the same range of habitats found throughout Maine with considerable range of Maine’s rarer habitats.  These are often found near the coast and are infrequently part of the larger idea of conservation as preservation for both plants and animals.  This type of conservation requires larger tracts of land as species migrate and browse terrain, and state parks are simply not capable of this in their current state (except for Baxter State Park).  One way to enhance the habitat-specific conservation found in state parks is to prioritize acquisition of new lands.  The process of acquisition is presently done on a case-by-case basis when opportunities arise; rather, these new land acquisitions should be specified (Harris and Townsend 2010).  Surveying current parks and historic site land is essential, as well as identifying contiguous lands and their potential conservation value to state parks.

When compared to state parks in the rest of New England (New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island), Maine leads in acreage.  However, when compared to the total land in the state, Maine has the lowest percentage of land in state parks.  Massachusetts has nearly as much land in state parks as Maine, resulting in a much higher percentage, and Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island all contain similar percentages of state land devoted to state parks. 


Figure 1.11 State park acreages and percentages for New England states (Maine Office of GIS 2010).

Scenarios

State parks have come far in their 75 years of growth, but their future direction is by no means certain.  Here we provide three possible future scenarios. 

Downhill Funding - Slide Into Obscurity

State parks continue to face budget cuts from general appropriations, loon plate sales, and donations.  Decreased funding diminishes MBPL communication and outreach capacity so state parks lose media presence and public interest.  Maine state parks become obscure units of public land that are difficult to distinguish from other types of public land.  Infrastructure goes into disrepair, and this leads to closures of beaches, historic sites, and other park infrastructure and amenities.  Decreased amenities and less upkeep of parks lead to a decreased quality of visitor experience.  Visitation decreases and the parks become less valued by Mainers and out-of-state tourists.  Contribution of state parks to Maine’s economy decreases.  Further cuts are deemed politically necessary or desirable and essential personnel are laid off.  Attempts at privatization occur at what are seen as potentially more profitable state parks.  State parks become unstaffed units in the public land units system and no longer provide as valuable experiences. 

Surviving Budget Cuts With Free Media

MDOC weathers budget cuts and Maine state parks remain a valuable resource to citizens.  MDOC continues to use free popular online media forms such as Facebook and blogging to engage with the wider public.  Information about events and campaigns is spread virtually, with relatively low cost and effort.  MDOC frequently hosts events in state parks and encourages 'Facebooking' about experiences to ensure that the virtual translates to the real.

To accommodate a greater web presence, MDOC redesigns its website to one that is more interactive, informative and user-friendly, making it easier for those far away to find information about attractions and how to visit Maine state parks.  MDOC also relies on traditional free media such as newspaper and magazine articles to encourage Mainers to experience their state parks.  MBPL also encourages community groups such as youth organizations, senior citizen groups and disabled associations to help and encourage their members to take advantage of all that state parks have to offer.  As a result of these efforts, there is greater awareness of state parks affairs and visitations increase.  Infrastructure, however, continues to fall into disrepair but public support helps MBPL secure more funding for state parks.      

Onward And Upward

State parks are the crown jewels of a growing conservation and recreation network throughout Maine that becomes increasingly utilized and appreciated.  Successful outreach programs increase annual visitation rates, and increased funding from state general appropriations allow state parks to grow and support a greater system of conservation and recreation in Maine.  The MBPL creates a passport type program is created to facilitate discovery of the varied habitats, wildlife, and flora.  An online interactive user friendly map of state parks and other public land units promotes visitation.  The expansion of both state parks and public lands through practical, informed, and strategic acquisition of lands gives MBPL the opportunity to create a cohesive recreational and conservation network, while not degrading Maine’s tradition of private land ownership. 

Conclusions

There are 49 state parks in Maine including 36 parks and 12 historic sites managed by the MBPL and Baxter State Park.  The MBPL state park system serves over 2 million visitors annually.  Over 80% of all Mainers have a state park within 15 miles of their home and are within day use distance of a park. 

The purpose of state parks as described in the Integrated Resource Policy (2000) is for recreation and conservation.  This report found that they are managed primarily for recreation.  Maine state parks have the capacity to serve key demographics such as youth and the elderly.  State parks in Maine offer conservation of unique and rare habitats but do not significantly contribute to the greater scheme of state-wide conservation with the exception of Baxter State Park.  Conservation of large-scale and wildlife habitat is largely the role of public land units, conservation easements, and private land trusts.  State parks are severely underfunded.  MBPL’s ability to increase public outreach efforts is severely constrained and state park infrastructure is falling into disrepair.  The recent bond approval of $500,000 for capital repairs is much needed, but capital requirements remain unmet.  Maine state parks have the potential to be well-utilized and maintained public spaces, but will require increased awareness, funding, and political will.  The new LePage administration and Commissioner of the Department of Conservation, Bill Beardsley, should embrace and build on the 75 year legacy of Maine state parks for the benefit of the current and future generations. 

Recommendations

Policy makers and the public should support increased funding to state parks.  We recognize at the same time that funding sources are constrained with little sign of alleviation and have factored this in our recommendations.  Three potential areas to improve the state park system are related to visitation, conservation, and capital repairs.  Increasing visitation rates and attracting a diversity of users so that Maine’s people and visitors have access to recreational opportunities should be a focus of Maine state parks.  Though in terms of land area state parks represent a small portion of the overall conservation scheme in Maine, they can serve as a gateway for Maine’s citizens to participate in the outdoors, educate themselves through experience and form connections with and an appreciation of Maine’s unique nature and landscape. 

  • Create a passport program to facilitate discovery of the varied habitats, wildlife, and flora, printable online and available at parks
  • Continue to support and expand the First Time Camper program to encourage parents to take their children to Maine state parks
  • Take advantage of low cost avenues of advertising such as social media sites, a more user friendly website, newspaper articles, endorsement by popular figures and a catchy mascot
  • Update website to be more user-friendly and informative
  • Additional amenities such as signage and new opportunities targeted towards young and old demographics to increase visitation rates.  Increased signage displaying the difficulty of trails for the elderly, disabled, and families
  • Create and distribute user friendly maps of state parks detailing what recreation opportunities are available.  A user-friendly online version would also be beneficial
  • Organized volunteer work parties to supplement maintenance efforts of historic, recreational, and conservation infrastructure.  Tap volunteer labor (e.g. internships) for website design and improvements
  • Continue to survey wildlife habitat and numbers on Maine state parks to inform visitors as well as policy-makers
  • Conduct a state wide telephone survey to determine what people wish to see in their park system.  Commission focus groups of key Maine demographics for the next SCORP rather than relying on panels of experts

This report does not fully explore all aspects of the state park system in Maine.  We do hope that this report will contribute to other efforts to document and recognize the importance and value of Maine’s state parks. 

Appendix 

Table 1.5 State park acreage extracted from MEGIS conserved lands shapefile (MEGIS 2010).

Park Acreage
Allagash Wilderness Waterway 24210.3
Androscoggin Riverlands State Park 2582.8
Aroostook State Park 753.4
Baxter State Park 332020.3
Birch Point State Park 98.6
Bradbury Mountain State Park 1812.1
Camden Hills State Park 5986.8
Cobscook Bay State Park 888.0
Colburn House state Historic Site 7.5
Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site 21.3
Crescent Beach State Park 243.2
Damariscotta Lake state Park 19.5
Eagle Island state Historic Site 17.0
Ferry Beach State Park 125.0
Fort Baldwin State Historic Site 45.1
Fort Edgecomb State Historic Site 3.1
Fort Halifax State Historic Site 0.8
Fort Kent State Historic Site 2.9
Fort Knox State Historic Site 128.3
Fort McClary State Historic Site 27.5
Fort O'Brien State Historic Site 2.0
Fort Point State Park 158.5
Fort Popham State Historic Site 3.4
Grafton Notch State Park 7642.4
Holbrook Island Sanctuary 1345.0
Katahdin Iron Works 5.7
Lake St. George State Park 704.7
Lamoine State Park 73.3
Lily Bay State Park 933.1
Mackworth Island State Park Trail 100.0
Moose Point State Park 170.2
Mount Blue State Park 8202.2
Mount Kineo State Park 800.0
Owls Head State Park 12.9
Peaks-Kenny State Park 813.3
Penobscot River Corddidor 2402.6
Popham Beach State Park 582.7
Quoddy Head State Park 1876.8
Range Ponds State Park 844.5
Rangeley Lakes State Park 898.6
Reid State Park 1776.0
Roque Bluffs State Park 274.0
Sebago Lake State Park 1309.2
Shackford Head State Park 98.0
Swan Lake State Park 164.4
Two Lights State Park 45.1
Vaughan Woods Memorial State Park 165.4
Warren Island State Park 70.4
Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park 438.1
Total 400906.0

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