AUGUSTA, Maine — The beauty of Maine’s fall foliage will be highlighted in the next few weeks with nine fall foliage events — including eight hikes and a river paddle — presented by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and the Maine Forest Service.
This year’s foliage events offer more hikes and programs at more state parks and public lands as part of the 75th anniversary of the Maine state park system, according to Gary Best, assistant regional manager with the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL).
Last year was the first autumn that BPL and MFS joined to present guided foliage hikes, which were “extremely successful,” Best said. Four hikes were held last year, with 180 people attending, including 60 people who took part in the hike at Aroostook State Park, Maine’s first state park, located near Presque Isle, he said.
Best said the fall foliage events were particularly important because they showcase Maine’s beautiful state parks and public lands. The hikes and paddle also will provide information and an education about Maine’s 17 million acres of forest land, as well as provide a boost for nature-based tourism. Most importantly, the events will “get people outside for fun, recreation and health,” the park official said.
New this year is the inclusion of hikes at two public reserve land units, which should give participants an experience of these multi-use, wilderness areas managed by BPL. This year’s series of hikes will range from easy to moderate difficulty, Best said. Having both a park manager, who knows the land, and a district forester, who has an intimate knowledge of trees, lead the hikes is “a wonderful balance” of experience and information, he said.
The paddle will take place at the BPL’s newest park, the Androscoggin Riverlands State Park, north of the Lewiston-Auburn area, Best said. The event, sponsored by the Androscoggin Land Trust, “is going to be a lot of fun,” he predicted.
Hikers should wear sturdy, appropriate footwear, with enclosed toes, and comfortable clothing, preferably worn in layers. Paddlers will need to bring their own boats, life vests, and gear. Participants should bring cameras, binoculars, snacks and water.
The events will take place:
ä 10:30 a.m., Sunday, Sept. 19, Aroostook State Park, Presque Isle;
ä 9 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 25, Deboullie Public Reserve Land, Aroostook County;
ä 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 2, Mt. Blue State Park, Weld;
ä 10 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 3, Sebago Lake State Park, Casco;
ä 10 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 3, Bald Mountain Public Reserve Land, Franklin County;
ä 10 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 3, Bradbury Mountain State Park, Freeport;
ä 10 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 3, Androscoggin Riverlands State Park, Turner;
ä 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 9, Shackford Head State Park, Eastport;
ä 1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 10, Camden Hills State Park, Camden.
For more specific information about the hikes/paddle, including difficulty and meeting places, go to: http://www.parksandlands.com