State parks taking 2010 camping reservations

Posted Jan. 20, 2010, at 9:46 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s state parks are ready to take reservations for their campgrounds in 2010.

On Tuesday, Baxter State Park opened its books for the 2010 reservation season, according to a press release. The park began the reservation season with a limited “opening day” reservations program permitting campers to make a maximum of two reservations for any period during the May 15-Oct. 15 camping season.

Sixty-two Maine residents and 10 nonresidents lined up for reservations early Tuesday morning, and by early afternoon, park staff had made 86 reservations.

More than 98 percent of the park’s 2010 summer capacity remained available for reservation Wednesday. The park now begins its standard rolling reservation system with lean-tos, tent sites, and cabins becoming available for reservation 120 days before the reservation date.

Reservations at other Maine state park campgrounds may be made starting at 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 1.

The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands’ reservation system will be open for Sebago Lake State Park campground reservations only on Feb. 1 and for all other state park campgrounds at 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 8, according to BPL.

The BPL is using a brand-new reservation system to improve customer service. Online reservation-start days also are being split for the first time, with reservations being taken for the popular Sebago Lake campsites only on Monday, Feb. 1, through Feb. 7 to reduce wait times.

The reservation processing traditionally opens the first Monday in February for the camping season, which extends this year from May 24 through Sept. 12. People still can camp at state parks that are open before and after those dates, at an off-season rate, but no reservations are taken. Call parks directly for specific opening and closing dates during the off-seasons. People also may camp on Maine public reserve lands with no reservations required.

As of opening reservation day, there will be no fee increase for sites at the state park campgrounds. Fees, however, do vary from campground to campground, with the highest fees for nonresidents who want sites with water and electricity hookups.

The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, under the Maine Department of Conservation, manages 48 state parks and historic sites, including 12 state park campgrounds. Camping at state parks, known for beautiful sites and affordable fees, has been increasing. Last year, camping overnights increased by 1 percent over 2008 despite unusually rainy weather.

Campers may make reservations at Maine state campgrounds online at www.CampWithMe.com; by calling in-state at 800-332-1501 or out-of-state 207-624-9950; by mailing reservations to Bureau of Parks and Lands, ATTN.: Reservations, 22 SHS, Augusta 04333, postmarked after Feb. 1; or by dropping off completed reservations at the Augusta office.

Information and how to reserve spots in Baxter State Park or a parking spot for a day hike of Mount Katahdin may be found at www.baxterstateparkauthority.com or call the reservation office, 723-5140.

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