Rules for Public Lands

SUMMARY: These rules give the definition of "Public Lands" and explain the Bureau's policy governing public use on camping, fires, litter, disturbances, altering of property, abandoned property, storage of property, closed areas, vehicular use, firearms, preserves, and enforcement and penalty.

1.1 Definitions

"Public Lands" shall include the Public Reserved Lands of the State and all other lands under the jurisdiction, and control of the former Bureau of Public Lands. "Bureau" shall mean the Bureau of Parks and Lands within the Department of Conservation.

1.2 Camping

No person shall camp, stay overnight or maintain any tent, camper, shelter, trailer or other camping unit on any public lands for more than fourteen days in any 45 day period, without the prior written permission of the Bureau.

1.3 Fires

Unless ground is snow covered no person shall build or maintain an open fire including charcoal on public lands except (i) at a campsite duly authorized and designated for open fires or (ii) where a permit has been obtained for such fire from the Maine Bureau of Forestry. For visitor safety and resource protection, open fires must be attended. Campstoves fueled with sterno, propane, kerosene, etc. are allowed in any safe location. Charcoal fires, off the ground, attended and used in proper cooking containers, which will not leave a disposable residue or ash on the ground, are permitted on structurally improved leased lots. On islands in tidal areas, all fires shall be built below the mean high tide line.

1.4 Litter

In accordance with State law that prohibits littering, trash which cannot be burned in accordance with Section 1.3 Fires, must be carried out. Plastic and other tarps such as shelters shall be removed.

1.5 Disturbances

All persons camping on public lands will conduct themselves in a manner which does not impair the reasonable use and enjoyment of public lands by others. In consideration of other visitors and wildlife, pets in campsites must be kept leashed, and shall not be left unattended; outside of campsites, pets must be kept under control. To maintain reasonable quiet, the use of chain saws, generators, and other power equipment is prohibited within and around campsites.

1.6 Property

No person shall deface, paint, damage or mutilate any structure, natural feature, tree or marker, on any public lands. Dead and down wood only may be used for campfires. No living trees shall be cut without the Bureau's prior written permission.

1.7 Abandoned Property

Any boat, tent, shelter or other personal property (or structure or fixture) which is left unattended on any public land for more than three consecutive days without prior written authorization from the Bureau shall be deemed to have been abandoned, and the Bureau may take custody of such property and dispose of the same in accordance with the law. For purposes of this regulation, personal property shall be deemed to be "unattended" unless it is actually personally used.

1.8 Closed Areas

During periods determined by the Bureau to be critical for forest fire danger or other condition, any portion of the public lands may be closed to the public at the discretion of the Bureau and no person shall enter or remain in said closed area except agents of the Bureau, law enforcement personnel in the line of duty and others authorized by the Bureau in writing. In making a determination to close any portion of the public lands because of a forest fire danger, the Bureau will consult with the Bureau of Forestry.

1.10 Enforcement

These regulations may be enforced by any law enforcement officer. These regulations shall constitute written authorization to the appropriate agencies of the State and its political subdivisions to enforce the provisions of Title 12, M.R.S.A.  556

1.11 Authorized Storage

Storage of private property on public lands is authorized only by special use permit issued by the Bureau. Unauthorized stored property shall be confiscated or destroyed.

Permits for storage will be subject to an annual fee (based upon the estimated cost of disposing such property). Permittees will be liable for the removal of their property upon request of the Bureau. Failure to remove such property within thirty (30) days of notice will result in the forfeit of said property and payment of a $50 penalty.

1.12 Firearms

Except for persons holding a valid Maine concealed weapons permit, loaded firearms are not permitted in campsites, on marked hiking trails, or at boat launches and picnic sites, and should not be discharged within 300 feet of such areas.

1.13 Vehicular Use

Vehicles shall use only designated public access roads. Parked vehicles shall not block any road (including closed side roads).

Off-road travel by wheeled vehicles of any sort is prohibited. Except as specified by the Bureau, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are not permitted on public lands.

Snowmobiles are permitted to traverse public lands, but may not travel on plowed roads, marked cross-country ski trails, and other areas so designated.

1.14 Preserves

To preserve Critical Areas, Forest Preserves, Cultural Resources and other designated sites for educational and scientific purposes, such areas and objects are to be left undisturbed