JOHN HOLYOKE

It’s time to think about getting outdoors

Posted Feb. 24, 2012, at 2:31 p.m.

Mainers don’t need much of an excuse to go outside and play. To Maine kids, a tree branch is a sword. A puddle is an ocean. A muddy path is a license to get dirty. Really, what else do you need?

In truth, not much. Luckily for all of us, a lot of organizations are giving us plenty of well-planned excuses to get outside in the next few weeks.

As you may have heard, the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend is scheduled for March 2-4, and events are planned across the state.

The Maine Department of Conservation has announced that the celebration will be observed at four state parks.

In a press release, Will Harris, the Bureau of Parks and Lands director, said the DOC has been encouraging winter use of state parks for years.

“This one special weekend is another opportunity for Maine residents and visitors to have lots of fun and connect with nature during a special time of year,” Harris said. “We are very pleased to take part in the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend and our park staff is looking forward to this statewide event.”

Park events on tap: At Androscoggin Riverlands State Park in Turner, a snowshoe hike and winter wildlife walk will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 3.

At Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal, visitors are invited to hike or ski to Pineland Farms along a new trail, 2-4 p.m. March 2. On March 3, another hike or snowshoe excursion will begin at 10 a.m. And on March 4, the Bradbury Blizzard Snowshoe Race will be staged at 11 a.m.

Over at Mount Blue State Park in Weld, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 3-4. A guided snowshoeing trek with BPL outdoor recreation planner Rex Turner will take place at 10 a.m March 4.

And at Wolfe’s Neck State Park in Freeport, “Wabanaki Legends,” a short walk on White Pines Trail, will take place at 2 p.m. March 3. A winter steamer dig will take place at 2 p.m. March 4, and visitors are invited to try their hand at digging steamer clams.

Outside of the state parks, the folks at Acadia National Park, the Friends of Acadia and the Mount Desert Island YMCA are also observing the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend.

On March 3, a winter bird walk by car caravan will be held from 9 a.m. to noon. The group will travel to several birding spots in the park. On March 4, a winter ecology hike will take place from 1 to 3 p.m.

For meeting spots and more information on the Acadia-based events, call Terry Begley at 288-3340 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or send email to Terry@friendsofacadia.org.

Cabin Fever Reliever on tap

If the predicted snowstorm puts you back into a winter funk this weekend, you may want to head over to the Brewer Auditorium and visit with a few like-minded outdoors enthusiasts.

As I’ve previously mentioned, the Cabin Fever Reliever outdoor show is taking place 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, and exhibitors would love to chat with you.

Admission is free, some snacks will be available for sale, and a wide array of outdoor activities will be featured.

For the second year in a row, BDN Outdoors will have a booth at the show, and I’ll be there along with BDN senior editor Aimee Thibodeau and “One-Minute Hike” star Aislinn Sarnacki.

Stop by and chat with us. Tell me where the fish are biting. Tell Aislinn (where) to take a hike. And tell Aimee how great Aislinn and I are — she’s our boss, a good word to her would go a long way.

Or just stop by and say “Hi.” We’d love to see you.

John Holyoke may be reached at jholyoke@bangordailynews.com or 990-8214. Check out his blog at outthere.bangordailynews.com.

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