AUGUSTA, Maine — Aroostook State Park, Maine’s first state is increasing in size with the purchase of a 145.6-acre parcel located next to park lands, according to a press release from the Department of Conservation Tuesday.
The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL), under the Maine Department of Conservation, purchased the parcel — appraised at $115,000 — with $60,000 split between Land for Maine’s Future funds and federal Recreational Trails Program funds, plus a generous $55,000 donation of value from the parcel’s Massachusetts owner, Nancy Askin, according to BPL officials.
The purchase, which is being completed this year, will increase the park’s size by 25 percent and provide multiple, high-value recreational An announcement celebration will take place this weekend at Aroostook State Park, located just outside of Presque Isle, followed by a guided fall foliage hike, BPL officials said.
The land purchase is expected to provide the park with hiking on scenic trails; protection of an existing trail used for cross-country skiing that extends into the park; and more lands for hunting.
As the state’s first state park, Aroostook State Park was established in 1938, three years after the Maine Legislature formed the Maine State Park Commission, through a donation of 100 acres made by local businessmen, the press release said.
The park currently has 904 acres (expanded from 758 acres) and is one of 12 state parks with campgrounds, and one of 33 state parks over all. As of August, some 9,668 people have visited park in 2010, and there has been a significant 23 percent increase in the number of camping overnights, 2,786 last year compared to 3,438 this year.
The park offers a broad array of recreational activities: from camping, both at campground and remote sites; hiking on Quaggy Jo Mountain; hunting; fishing on Echo Lake, known as a popular brook trout fishery; and a variety of winter activities. Park staffers hold numerous events throughout the year which draw many visitors, including a winter family fun day, featuring sledding, cross-country skiing, and skating; a popular birding festival; and other seasonal activities, such as a “haunted” Halloween hike.
A Park Expansion Celebration and press event will be held at 10 a.m., Sunday, Sept. 19, at the state park shelter, Aroostook State Park. Commissioner Townsend is expected to attend, as will local legislators and supporters.
At 10:30 a.m., pre-hike activities will take place, with the guided fall foliage hike to take place at 11 a.m. Hikers should wear sturdy, appropriate footwear, with enclosed toes, and comfortable clothing, preferably worn in layers. Participants should bring cameras, binoculars, snacks and water.
For more information, go to: http://www.parksandlands.com