Governor Mills Surveys Accessibility Upgrades at Popham Beach State Park

August 25, 2022

Upgrades funded by Governor’s Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan

Gov. Mills with Rep. Hepler, Sen. Vitelli, Phippsburg resident Deb Stockwell, and DACF staff, including Commissioner Amanda Beal and Bureau of Parks and Lands Director Andy Cutko

Phippsburg, MAINE — Governor Janet Mills visited Popham Beach State Park today to survey a new upgrade that improves accessibility to the beach for people with disabilities. The new mobility pathway, which makes Popham Beach more accessible to people in wheelchairs, was created using funding through the Governor’s Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan.

“I want every person to have access to Maine’s beautiful state parks, and with state parks more popular than ever before, it’s the perfect time to make these upgrades,” said Governor Mills. “This new mobility pathway, funded by my Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan and brought to fruition by members of the Phippsburg community, will help ensure all people can enjoy our parks for generations to come.”

“This pathway is impactful – and so needed. For some visitors, the pathway is life-changing,” said Allison Hepler, State Representative for District 53. “I think one of the things I love most about this project is seeing the happiness it brings to people.”

In 2021, Maine’s 48 parks and historic sites – which are operated and maintained by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) – welcomed more than 3.3 million visitors, who are estimated to have generated more than $100 million in revenue for Maine’s economy.

The new mobility pathway at Popham Beach State Park

Despite the popularity of the parks, it has been more than fifteen years since they have seen any meaningful investment, which has forced DACF to defer much-needed maintenance on roads, trail systems, and other vital infrastructure that make the parks accessible and enjoyable for Maine people and visitors.

“The pathway provides a smooth and even surface designed to assist wheelchair users and others with physical disabilities so they have greater access to the beach,” said Amanda Beal, Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. “We greatly appreciate the opportunity to make improvements to State Parks with funds allocated to implement the Governor’s Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, as well as the strong community support that helped us to bring this project to fruition.”

“We are thrilled with this new beach path,” said Andy Cutko, Director of the Bureau of Parks and Lands. “Popham Beach State Park had more than 60,000 visitors in July alone, and we want everyone to be able to experience one of Maine’s most scenic State Parks.”

Gov. Mills meets lifeguards at Popham Beach State Park

The Governor’s Job Plan dedicates $50 million to improve infrastructure at State Parks across Maine to make them more enjoyable and accessible for Maine people and visitors. While at Popham Beach State Park, officials with the DACF’s Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL) also briefed the Governor on the new shark sighting and visitor notification protocols that have been implemented at coastal state parks.