Contacts: Jeanne Curran, (207) 287-3156
Maine Department of Conservation: Maine State Park Passes Make Great Holiday Gifts
(November 30, 2011)
AUGUSTA, Maine – Savvy holiday shoppers know that one of the best family gifts to give this year isn’t found in any store or mall, but rather through the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and the Maine Department of Conservation.
Maine state park passes, both vehicle and individual passes, are popular, convenient and very affordable gifts to give to family and friends. Because they are good all season long, they offer lots of opportunities for day-use fun and adventure in some of Maine’s most beautiful places.
“Maine state park passes are easy to get and easy to give, and best of all, they offer all kinds of outdoor experiences that can become special memories,” said Will Harris, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL) director.
And a unique phenomenon is taking place in terms of gift purchases, according to Charlene Daniels, BPL reservation supervisor who oversees park pass sales.
“Traditionally, once families get a park pass, they want it again,” Daniels said. “I see them coming back again and again. People really appreciate a Maine state park pass, because it’s a year-long gift.”
The Maine Department of Conservation (MDOC) also reminds gift-givers of the department’s publications, five books, including “Forest Trees of Maine” by the Maine Forest Service, and “A Guide to the Geology of Baxter State Park and Katahdin,” available through the Maine Geological Survey.
So far this year, more than 2.3 million people have visited Maine’s 48 state parks and historic sites, and more park passes have been sold in the past two years than in the history of the 76-year-old park system, Daniels said. More than 11,200 passes have been sold each year, she said.
2012 Maine state park passes already are on sale, and “they’re right up to par” in sales, Daniels said.
BPL offers two types of seasonal passes for day use at all of Maine’s state parks and historic sites: a vehicle park pass, costing $70, that permits entrance to all occupants of a 1-ton/17-passenger vehicle; and an individual park pass, costing $35, that allows access only to the pass holder.
The seasonal passes allow unlimited day use at Maine state parks and historic sites, but don’t apply to Baxter State Park, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, Penobscot River Corridor, Penobscot Narrows Observatory, Maine Wildlife Park, Peacock Beach or Scarborough Beach.
BPL offers four different ways to buy park passes, the reservations supervisor said, but the two easiest ways for Christmas gifts are to buy the passes on line through BPL’s updated and secure online system and to call the BPL reservation supervisor at 207-287-2209. The other methods are to buy park passes at staffed state parks and with the check-off on the Maine tax form.
There are a number of advantages to purchasing Maine state park passes on line, Daniels pointed out. Park passes can be purchased easily, conveniently and securely at any time of day and during any season, using a credit card. The payment service is secured through the use of the CyberTrust-certified Maine.gov payment engine. There is a seven-day processing period, so there is still plenty of time to make a holiday gift purchase, Daniels said.
Beginning Feb. 1 through Sept. 7, 2012, customers can contact the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands Reservations Call Center, call: In Maine, 800-332-1501; Outside of Maine: (207) 624-9950; TTY: 1-888-577-6690
For the online park pass system, go to: http://www.mainestateparkpass.com
MDOC continues to offer its unique publications showcasing Maine. The Maine Geological Survey’s latest book, “A Guide to the Geology of Baxter State Park and Katahdin,” by Douglas W. Rankin and Dabney W. Caldwell, includes new information about Baxter State Park based on the latest understanding of plate tectonics and continental glaciation. The book costs $10, and ordering instructions can be found on line at:http://www.maine.gov/doc/nrimc/mgs/baxter.htm
“Natural Landscapes of Maine: A Guide to Natural Communities and Ecosystems,” by Susan Gawler and Andrew Cutko, published by the Natural Areas Program, describes the wide variety of Maine’s landscape, dividing it into 104 natural communities. The landscape book is on holiday special until Jan. 15 and costs $15, including sales tax, shipping, and handling. Ordering information can be found at: http://www.maine.gov/doc/nrimc/mnap/
A top-seller on Maine non-fiction book lists is “Forest Trees of Maine: Centennial Edition,” a spiral-bound, backpack-friendly guide to Maine’s 78 tree species. The book is $15 including tax and mailing. More information is available at: http://www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/pubs/ftm/ftm_centennial.html
Other publications from the MDOC include:
Maine's Fossil Record: The Paleozoic by Lisa Churchill-Dickson – available for: Hardcover, $40 plus $2 sales tax; or soft cover, $30 plus $1.50 sales tax, includes shipping; a comprehensive treatise and reference on Maine's bedrock fossils.
For more information about Maine state parks and historic sites, go to: http://www.parksandlands.com
For more information, go to: http://www.maine.gov/doc