A scenic outlook at Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal, seen in 2015. The park is one of the sites where the state is offering a “fee holiday” for Maine residents. Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Gov. Paul LePage has signed a financial order that grants Maine residents free day use of most state parks and historic sites beginning Saturday and running through Labor Day.

The governor, in an announcement Thursday, said he took the action to recognize public support for Maine State Parks, which have collectively seen record attendance.

“Maine State Parks and Historic Sites have experienced record-breaking attendance in recent years,” LePage said in a statement. “Our park staff have worked very hard to enhance the visitor experience with new offerings, year-round events and educational programs for all ages. Public support has never been higher. This is our way of saying thank you to the Maine people.”

In 2016, 2.6 million people visited state parks and historic sites, the highest number recorded dating back to 1990. Last year, there were 2.45 million visitors, which represented the second-highest yearly total.

John Bott, spokesman for Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, said the state has added programming at the parks and has done a better job communicating with the public about what the state has to offer.

The fee for entrance into state parks in Maine ranges from $3-$6 for an adult. The fee for children between the ages of 5-11 is $1 everywhere. Children under the age of 5 can get in for free.

Day use is defined as 9 a.m. until closing, which is sunset at most locations. The fee holiday does not apply to overnight camping, which is offered at many parks.

Julie Rabinowitz, the governor’s spokeswoman, couldn’t provide an estimate on the potential revenue the state stands to lose.

“Day-use state park visitation by local residents is highly weather dependent, and since this is a short window of about three weeks and approaching back to school, it would be hard to specify an amount,” she said in an email. “However, the governor wanted to make sure that the fee holiday occurred with enough time so that Maine families with school-age children could take advantage of it before they go back to class.”

These locations are included: Androscoggin Riverlands, Aroostook, Birch Point, Bradbury Mountain, Camden Hills, Cobscook Bay, Colburn House, Colonial Pemaquid, Crescent Beach, Damariscotta Lake, Eagle Island, Ferry Beach, Fort Edgecomb, Fort Kent, Fort McClary, Fort Point, Fort Popham, Fort Pownall, Fort O’Brien, Grafton Notch, Holbrook Island, Lamoine, Lake St. George, Lily Bay, Moose Point, Mt. Blue, Owls Head Light, Peaks-Kenny, Popham Beach, Quoddy Head, Range Pond, Rangeley Lake, Reid, Roque Bluffs, Two Lights, Sebago Lake, Shackford Head, Swan Lake, Vaughan Woods, Warren Island and Wolfe’s Neck Woods.

Free admission, however, does not apply at these locations: Acadia National Park, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, Baxter State Park, Peacock Beach, the Maine Wildlife Park, Scarborough Beach State Park, Swan Island, Fort Knox Historic Site, the Penobscot River Corridor or the Penobscot Narrows Observatory in Prospect and Songo Locks.

Regular park fees will be reinstated on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

More information about Maine State Parks and Historic Sites is available online at: http://www.parksandlands.com.

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: PPHEricRussell

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.