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315,000 Campers Visited Maine State Park Campgrounds This Year

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Maine state park campgrounds 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 enjoy outdoor activities in the first summer of the COVID-19 pandemic, Maine’s state park campgrounds experienced an increase of eight percent in visitors over 2019 to set a record of 270,794. The campgrounds in 2021 drew an additional 34,638 people.

Park campgrounds were operating close to capacity during the summer months of July and August, according to Rex Turner, outdoor recreation planner for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

“Significant growth in camping in the shoulder seasons is largely responsible for driving up overall camping use figures. In the primary season, we are really running full bore,” Turner said.

“We don’t have a lot of unused space. And campsites at 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 camping use across the board.

“And it’s not like before the pandemic there was a trickle of use,” he added. “It was growing then. But the pandemic sort of threw fuel on the fire.”

The shoulder seasons for state park campgrounds last from mid-May to June and from September until mid-October. Most campgrounds are closed in the winter, but a few provide first-come, first-served winter camping.

Turner also said that weather could have an impact on the camping season every year. In 2021, even with Maine having the rainiest July in over a century, campground attendance remained strong.

State park campgrounds will begin taking reservations in February as the online reservation system goes live. Turner shared that the bureau’s staff is expecting an increase in demand to reserve campsites in 2022.

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Modern Campground

Modern Campground

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