February 2, 2024

State parks see slight decline in use in 2023, camping reservations now open

AUGUSTA – Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL) Director Andy Cutko has announced a slight decline in visitation to Maine State Parks during 2023, with 2.93 million visitors spending time at the bureau's 48 state parks and historic sites (2.64 million day-use visitors and 291,000 campers).

Reservations for the 2024 camping season at Sebago Lake
State Park opened Thursday at www.CampWithMe.com
or by calling 800-332-1501. FILE PHOTO 
While visitation fell below the record-breaking years of 2022 and 2021, with 3.28 million and 3.3 million visits, the slight 2023 decrease was attributed to poor weather. Maine State Parks welcomed 319,000 campers in 2022 and 315K in 2021. Despite this decrease, BPL anticipates a continued upward trend in visitation.

"The parks are such an amazing value, and we thrive because of the talented staff who welcome millions of outdoors enthusiasts who love and care for these treasured places," Cutko said. "Another and lesser-known contributor to our success are the many partnerships that continue to emerge, such as our work with L.L. Bean, which provides loaned equipment stored in "Beach Boxes," Maine Cancer Foundation and Impact Melanoma sunscreen dispensers, collaboration with Trail Monster on bike, snowshoe, and running races, and the Portland Museum of Art "Art on the Trail" installations."

The Bureau of Parks and Lands says that it is using $50 million in Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan funding to upgrade Maine State Parks this year. Projects already completed include improved roads at Sebago Lake, Peaks-Kenney, Camden Hills, Rangeley Lake, and Lily Bay State Park, a renovated bridge at Reid State Park, and numerous equipment purchases. Ongoing architecture and design work includes park entrance stations, washrooms and plumbing improvements, campsite redesigns, and much more.

The Maine State Park Camping Reservation Center officially opened Thursday, Feb. 1 for making 2024 camping reservations.

Starting at 9 a.m. Feb. 1, reservations for Lily Bay State Park and Sebago Lake State Park are available.

The BPL Campground Reservation Center accepts phone and online reservations for all 12 Maine State Park campgrounds.

To book an online reservation, go to www.CampWithME.com or reach the camping reservation call center by calling 800-332-1501 from a Maine 207 area code, or call 207-624-9950. Seasonal reservation call center hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday, excluding holidays. <

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