June 20, 2018
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First Time Campers Program offers free weekend camping to 44 Maine families

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
Pat Foley (right) and Ranger Sandie Sabaka take the cover off of one of the sleeping pads as they set up camp at Camden Hills State Park on Friday, July 9, 2010. Foley, her daughter, great granddaughter and her friend were among the people who won free first time camping opportunities from the state.


AUGUSTA — The Bureau of Parks and Lands is reminding folks that their First Time Campers raffle program for Maine residents who want to try their hand at camping is still accepting entries.

Now in its fourth year, the First Time Campers program will randomly select 44 lucky Maine families to win a free weekend of camping this summer at one of 11 Maine state park campgrounds, according to a press release from the Department of Conservation.

The raffle is open only to Maine families who have never before gone camping. Each selected family will get the free use of camping equipment, receive gifts from sponsors and be supported throughout the weekend by park staff.

So far, more than 300 families have applied to take part in the raffle. The number of selected families has been increased over the years from 32 in 2008 to 44 for this year. One of those families also will be the grand-prize recipient of a $1,000 gift certificate from the program’s major sponsor, L.L.Bean.

The program, part of BPL’s “Take It Outside” initiative, is designed to encourage Maine families to experience the fun and  rewards of camping at Maine state park campgrounds. This year, the program is sponsored by L.L.Bean, Kittery Trading Post, Coleman,

Hannaford, Oakhurst Dairy, Wicked Joe Coffee and Poland Springs.

Raffle applications are available on line and at Maine state parks. They will be accepted until May 31. The recipient families will be chosen in a random drawing held Friday, June 3, with the families notified the week of June 6. There will be four weekends of camping from which the winners may choose, from July 15-16 to Aug. 5-6.

The state park campgrounds include: Bradbury Mountain, Pownal; Rangeley Lake, Rangeley; Aroostook, Presque Isle; Camden Hills, Camden; Sebago Lake, Naples; Mt. Blue, Weld; Cobscook Bay, Edmunds Township; Lamoine, Ellsworth; Peaks-Kenny, Dover-Foxcroft; Lily Bay, Beaver Cove; and Lake St. George, Liberty.

Each family will receive camping equipment they can use for the weekend, and four sleeping bags which they can keep. They also receive gift certificates and some food items for the weekend from program sponsors.

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