Parks to remain open on state shutdown day

Posted June 29, 2009, at 8:37 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s state parks and historic sites will remain open and staffed on Monday, July 6, even though it has been designated as the first state shutdown day of the new fiscal year, according to a Department of Conservation press release.

In addition to park managers, rangers, lifeguards and customer service representatives with the Bureau of Parks and Lands, approximately 30 to 40 Maine Forest Service rangers also will be on duty as some of the state employees exempt from the mandatory shutdown days during the summer. Parks employees will observe shut-down days between November and April.

“There are some services that we provide that are critical to the Maine economy,” Commissioner Patrick McGowan said in the release. “We will continue to protect our 17 million acres of forestland and to provide recreational opportunities for all of our more than 2 million visitors to our state parks and historic sites.”

Last month, the Maine Legislature approved a budget plan that scheduled 10 government shutdown days in each of the next two fiscal years, expecting to save about $14 million.

“People should know our parks are open as usual,” Will Harris, Bureau of Parks and Lands director, said in the release. “They should not be concerned about making plans to go the beaches or to stay at our campgrounds.”

A number of state parks have planned activities for the day.

According to the press release, 2.2 million people visit Maine’s state parks and historic sites annually, contributing $25.38 to the economy for every General Fund dollar spent on the parks. The total economic impact from park visits is more than $95 million per year.

For more information, contact Harris at 287-4961, or Bill Williams, Maine Forest Service Forest protection supervisor, at 287-4991.

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