state park have surpassed record numbers for the second year in a row this year with 315,000 campers, a report said. This is a twelve percent increase over last year, preliminary state figures show.
In 2020, when a lot of people opted to enjoyactivities in the first summer of the COVID-19 , Maine’s state park experienced an increase of eight percent in visitors over 2019 to set a record of 270,794. The in 2021 drew an additional 34,638 people.
Parkwere operating close to capacity during the summer months of July and August, according to Rex Turner, planner for the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
“Significant growth inin the shoulder seasons is largely responsible for driving up overall use figures. In the primary season, we are really running full bore,” Turner said.
“We don’t have a lot of unused space. Andat the public lands (which are on a first-come, first-served basis), while we don’t have numbers for them, also are seeing a lot of use across the board.
“And it’s not like before thethere was a trickle of use,” he added. “It was growing then. But the sort of threw fuel on the fire.”
The shoulder seasons for state parklast from mid-May to June and from September until mid-October. Most are closed in the winter, but a few provide first-come, first-served winter .
Turner also said that weather could have an impact on theseason every year. In 2021, even with having the rainiest July in over a century, attendance remained strong.
State parkwill begin taking in February as the online system goes live. Turner shared that the bureau’s staff is expecting an increase in demand to reserve in 2022.