STARKS — Local alpaca farmers have presented an application to the town’s planning board that may lead to visitors camping among the South American mammals. It will be “a little different than your average, run-of-the-mill campground,” said Kendall Hanna.

Hanna and his partner Marie Ring are co-owners of Sandy River Alpacas and Sandy River Outdoor Weddings and Events. The couple hosts events like weddings and concerts on the 40-acre property that sits on the Sandy River, with 1,600 feet of water frontage and a private beach. If the town OKs the application, they will soon accommodate overnight guests looking to relax in the Maine wilderness — and 13 alpacas, similar to llamas, are expected to be part of the draw.

Ring and Hanna have been raising alpacas since 2010.

“(The alpacas) are absolutely involved, they’re a big attraction as we’ve found out,” Hanna said. “People really love the alpacas.”

The proposed wilderness campsite will be set up for glamping, an upscale form of camping that usually involves woodsy accommodations with amenities like kitchens and bathrooms.

“Some people like to camp but don’t like the headache of having to pack and take care of the equipment,” Hanna explained.


The campsite is likely to feature a community gathering area, four bathrooms, two showers, and a basketball court.

And, of course, alpacas.

“We’re working on training them to be around people,” Hanna said. “We want to have it set up so people can get photos or walk one of them.”

The Starks Planning Board will meet at the Sandy River site on Wednesday evening to get the lay of the land. A public hearing on the campsite application will be held at the Starks Community Center in the near future, according to board chair Gwen Hilton.

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