STATEWIDE — Camping is in its peak season and more and more campers are heading to Maine’s state parks.
For the first time ever, Maine’s state park attendance topped three million visitors just last year.
Dave Loome, a forest ranger for the Maine Forest Service, said camping season has been incredibly busy this year.
“More and more people are recreating and camping in Maine than ever before, which is great, but what that means is in some popular areas, that pushes people to places where it may not be legal or safe to do so because at times we simply don’t have the capacity for everyone to camp legally,” said Loome.
Loome said he recently has spotted some illicit campsites in the Katahdin region.
“I found 13 illegal campsites just in one morning on one patrol in the Katahdin region of Maine, just near Baxter State Park,” he said.
Loome has some helpful recommendations for campers before they embark on their journey.
“Almost every Mainer has a copy of the Atlas and Gazette, this is the resource we refer most people to,” said Loome.
He said this resource “indicates almost all of the legal campsites in the state.”
Bill Patterson is the deputy director at Maine’s Bureau of Parks and Lands. He said there is one essential aspect before setting out on your camping adventure — planning.
“Planning is the key to safety,” Patterson said. “You want to know what your options are. Everything from knowing where the nearest hospital is to the campsite, to having maps and a compass, to making sure you don’t get lost, to having a checklist of having the right materials, to first aid kit, to the right clothing.”
Those caught camping illegally could receive a summons and have to pay an associated fine.
For more information and how to make camping reservations, click here.