Contacts: Jeanne Curran, (207) 287-3156
Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands Offers Winter Family Fun Days
(January 6, 2012)
AUGUSTA, Maine – Hot off the success of its “First Day Hikes” held on New Year’s Day, the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands once again is offering an array of winter family fun activities at Maine state parks.
Five fun, affordable day-long events will be held in January and February at some of Maine’s most beautiful outdoor locales as a way to encourage kids and families to explore what the state has to offer in the wintertime.
Two major ice-fishing derbies will be held, as will three winter fun days during which families can try out such activities as cross-country skiing, sliding, snow shoeing and dog sled rides.
“This is our fourth year offering our winter ‘Take It Outside’ events, and they are becoming increasingly popular,” said Will Harris, director of the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL), under the Maine Department of Conservation. “There’s nothing better to break up cabin fever than a fun day outside, and we know that lots of children and families look forward to these special events.”
“Take It Outside” is an initiative first begun in 2008 and carried on by BPL to encourage Maine families to get outdoors for recreation, relaxation and health. In the past four years, BPL has held numerous events during each season at Maine state parks and historic sites. Last year, about 4,000 visitors enjoyed six separate winter events. Equipment is provided to allow families to try out various activities.
The events are sponsored by a number of Maine businesses and organizations, with Hannaford, L.L.Bean, Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, Poland Spring Water, Wicked Joe Coffee, Maine Winter Sports Center, and Kittery Trading Post as major sponsors. Numerous community volunteers also take part to make sure the winter events take place.
“Our sponsors and volunteers continue to help us make these Winter Family Fun Days happen,” Harris said. “We are very grateful for all their support, and we couldn’t offer these activities without them. They truly show how much they care about Maine state parks.”
This year’s series again starts with the very popular Youth Ice Fishing Derby on Sunday, Jan. 15, at Lake St. George State Park, now in its fourth year. More than 600 people attended last year’s event, and more than 100 children registered for the derby. The derby is a great time for children and families to get outside and learn how to ice fish, as all equipment is provided, according to Park Manager Leland Griffin.
“It’s a growing community event, and people really look forward to it,” Griffin said. “I’ve already had phone calls about it.”
Griffin predicted that “we’ll have plenty of ice” on the lake for the derby. He said he himself already has been ice fishing on Lake St. George and ‘we caught eight brook trout and four salmon.” As it has been in previous years, the lake will be stocked with brook trout before the derby, the park manager said.
A complete list of winter events, activities and sponsors follows:
Youth Ice Fishing Derby, 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 15, Lake St. George State Park, Liberty; learn how to ice fish, all equipment, including bait, provided, all registered children receive prizes; dog sled rides if there is snow, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., $3 donation; other sponsors include Corner Restaurant, Peavey's General Store, Liberty Sports, B&B Septic, Mountain Valley Sports, Toby's, Hilltop Store, Morrill Store, B&M Market, Belfast Variety, Liberty Graphics, Art’s Old Man Birdhouses, Dead River Oil, Odd Fellows, Mason, VFW, The Outdoor Sportsman, 10-4 Store, Hussey’s General Store, and Jerry Robbins; hot lunch included, warming hut available; $1.50 for adults and youth, ages 12-64; all others free; for more information, call (207) 589-4255.
Winter Family Fun Day, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 21, Cobscook Bay State Park, Edmunds Township; Cross-country skiing, sliding, snowshoeing, ice skating, snowmobile tote rides, birdhouse building, and nature walks; other sponsors include Moosehorn Wildlife Refuge and Washington County Community College; hot lunch included; $1.50 for adults, ages 12-64; kids and seniors free; for more information, call (207) 726-4412.
Winter Family Fun Day, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 4, Mount Blue State Park, Weld; Ice skating on the most beautiful outdoor rink in Maine; cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sliding, hay rides, nature interpretive walks, bonfires, warming hut; other sponsors include Northern Lights, Hearth & Sports, Franklin Savings Bank, Weld General Store and Skoolhouse Variety; hot lunch included; $1.50 for adults and youth, ages 12-64; all others free; for more information, call (207) 585-2261.
Kids Ice Fishing Derby, 8 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Feb. 18, Range Ponds State Park, Poland Spring; Part of the Sebago Lake Rotary Derbyfest and Statewide Derby. Free ice fishing equipment for the first 500 youngsters who register, compliments of Kittery Trading Post. Windham Rotary volunteers are providing organizational support. For more information on the event and registration, go to: http://www.icefishingderby.com/
Winter Family Fun Day, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 25, Aroostook State Park, Presque Isle; Cross country skiing, sliding, snowshoeing, ice skating, snowmobile tote rides, guided nature interpretive walks; other sponsors include Graves Super Market, Katahdin Trust Co., Haines Manufacturing Inc., Cary Medical Center, Northern Maine Development Commission, TD Bank, Maine National Guard; hot lunch included; $1.50 for adults, ages 12-64; kids and seniors free; for more information, call (207) 768-8341.
For more information about Maine state parks, go to: www.parksandlands.com