PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Internet access is all that potential outdoor enthusiasts planning a trip to Aroostook State Park will need to check out trail conditions.
The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, which is under the Maine Department of Conservation, has begun offering an online, cross-country ski and trail conditions report for the Presque Isle park.
Those who want current trail conditions can log on to: http://www.maine.gov/doc/parks/parksinfo/winterreports/aroostookwintertrailconditions.html.
“Aroostook is the first park to have this ski conditions reporting service, but we plan to expand the trails report to several more parks in the coming weeks,” said Gary Best, BPL interpretive planner. “We started with Aroostook; we will soon expand to Mount Blue State Park and Sebago Lake State Park.”
Aroostook State Park is the state’s first and northernmost park. It entertains thousands of visitors each year, and in winter has 15 miles of groomed ski trails. Those who don’t ski can try snowshoeing on the park’s 5 miles of snowshoe trail.
Park officials were enthusiastic about the new Web site.
“I think this is a great way to get trail conditions out to the public,” Scott Thompson, the park’s manager, said on Wednesday. “So far, it seems to be working pretty well.”
In the past, Thompson said, people who wanted to know the trail conditions had to call first or just show up at the park. Thompson said visitors from the southern part of the state weren’t always able to use those features.
“If you are heading here from southern Maine, you are probably starting out pretty early for a phone call,” he said. “And you can’t just show up at the park to check out the conditions. The Web site will help us get this information out to everyone in the state.”
Thompson said this additional tool would help fill a void left after a televised local ski report was discontinued. Thompson said a local television station ran a ski report for two years without sponsors, but eventually had to stop doing so.
“The televised ski report was something we really appreciated,” Thompson said. “It was another tool that we used to get the word out locally and we are hoping to get some sponsors and start it back up again.”