AUGUSTA, Maine — Did the COVID-19 pandemic motivate you to pursue more of Maine's outdoor opportunities? If so, you're not alone.
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s (DACF) Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL) has compiled its year-end Maine State Park visitation statistics and, as expected, 2020 activity broke all records for recreation visits, which includes day-use and camping.
Despite pandemic-related spring closures and season-long capacity limitations, a total of 3,067,112 people visited Maine State Parks in 2020.
The BPL welcomed 2,786,750 day-use visitors, up 74,532 (3%) from 2019; and 280,362 camping visitors, up 21,871 (8%) from 2019.
2018 edged out 2019 as the second-highest year for recreation visits, followed by 2016 and 2017.
“Everyone wants and needs to get outside, and Maine State Parks are some the best destinations to relax and reinvigorate,” Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands Director Andy Cutko said. “In particular, with various travel limitations in place, it was great to see so many Maine families discovering our State Parks for the first time. The whole BPL team and I extend a huge and warm thank you to everybody who arrived at the parks prepared with face coverings and hand sanitizer and all the other requisite supplies for getting outside safely during the pandemic.”
"Our biggest concern going into 2020’s peak-season in our State Parks was the risk of COVID-19 exposure for our staff and our visitors," DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal added. "Fortunately, because of our team's preparedness and professionalism, we made strategic designs, and we stayed healthy while creating safe experiences for the more than three million people who came to visit. It is quite an achievement, and one we intend to repeat in 2021."
The Maine State Park camping reservation call center opens for 2021 reservations on Monday, Feb. 1. State Park camping reservation details are as follows:
- Sebago Lake State Park ONLY - Monday, February 1, 2021, 9 a.m., (storm date if Maine State Government is closed – Tuesday, February 2, 2021)
- ALL Maine State Park Campgrounds - Friday, February 5, 2021, 9 a.m., (storm date if Maine State Government is closed – Monday, February 8, 2021)
Book camping reservations online here or reach the camping reservation call center by dialing (800) 332-1501 from a Maine (207) area code; 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 Shelter Reservations for ALL Parks, Monday, February 1, 2021, 9 a.m. – Note that group and shelter reservations are by PHONE ONLY. Individual park phone numbers can easily be found on the BPL's Group Camping webpage.