Students to Participate in Maine State Park Passport Program, Visit All Maine State Parks in 2018

February 7, 2018

For more information, contact: John Bott at 207-287-3156

AUGUSTA- Students from Mount View Middle School in Thorndike, Maine visited the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) to begin their quest to visit all Maine State Parks in 2018 as part of the Maine State Park Passport Program. Eleven seventh grade “cohorts” received official park passports and maps from Commissioner Walt Whitcomb. They plan to visit all Maine State Parks as part of the new “I Know ME” program sponsored by The Game Loft in Belfast.

“We are very pleased that these students will include Maine State Park Passports as part of their journey to visit all 16 counties and learn about what makes Maine special,” said Commissioner Walt Whitcomb. “Their educational experience also includes learning Maine history, consuming locally grown foods and experiencing what it means to be an involved Maine citizen.”

“The I Know ME program focuses on learning about the state and learning about oneself,” said The Game Loft co-Director Ray Estabrook. “We believe that if you know who you are and you know where you are from, you can find where you are going. The I Know ME program has received generous funding from the Emmanuel and Pauline Lerner Foundation.”

“Maine residents have an amazing resource in our state park system,” said The Game Loft co-Director Patricia Estabrook. “As people who have visited all 48 state parks we believe that these treasures teach us about our heritage and enrich our lives. Everyone should consider participating in the state park passport program.”

The Park Passport Program – challenges participants to visit all 48 Maine State parks and Historic Sites, have a passport book stamped and earn prizes. It has been one of the most successful promotions that the DACF’s Bureau of Parks and Lands has initiated. Since the program’s inception in 2010, families, individuals, schools and tourists have contributed to over 200,000 park passports in circulation.

The booklet is a great resource to learn about Maine’s state parks and historic sites. Using the passport is fun and easy. Visit any Maine state park or historic site from May 15 through September. Find the brown passport station and unlock the padlock using the secret code (The combination is the park’s establishment date, you can find it on the passport page). Stamp your passport.

Passport holders receive an award for every 8 stamps they collect. The more stamps collected, the better the award. The passport program was expanded to include 8 geocache’s. There is one geocache at a state park in each of the 8 tourism regions. Passports can be obtained for $1 at all Maine State Parks.

Passport Program details are available at: http://www.maine.gov/dacf/parks/discoverhistoryexplorenature/activities/passportprogram.shtml

The Game Loft is an award winning 4-H out of school time program that for the past 20 years has been serving the educational, emotional, and social needs of youth in Waldo County. The Game Loft is a free program open to all youth, 50 weeks a year, between the ages of 6-18 who are in school or are home-schooled. Currently the program serves 200+ regularly attending members in Belfast and at Mount. View Middle School in Thorndike. The Game Loft’s primary program, offered to all participants, provides friends, food, and safety. Highly trained staff mentor youth and create a safe and welcoming atmosphere. A USDA-approved menu of lunch and snacks is provided daily.

I Know ME is a program of relationships and broadening horizons. The Game Loft will guide at least ten youth per year for the next six years in a program to learn about the state of Maine and to engage with Maine’s history, geography, economics, people, promise, and challenges. The young people in the program will be studying all facets of Maine through trips and other after-school adventures.

For information is available at: http://www.thegameloft.org/31-announcing-i-know-me#rt-head-anchor

Supporting documents

Mount View Middle School Cohorts with their new Maine State Park Passports

Patricia and Ray Estabrook present their completed Passport to Commissioner Whitcomb (Center)