AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands has released a new map focusing on state-owned land reserved for public use.
The map, titled “Your Maine Lands: Recreational Map & Guide to Public Reserved Lands,” is a comprehensive guide to the more than 500,000 acres of such land in Maine. The map highlights the parcels by tourism region, provides a description of each land unit, and indicates the recreational activities available for each area.
The Your Maine Lands map is available free upon request and is available through the bureau’s website.
“We have so many special places in Maine besides our 48 state parks and historic sites,” said Will Harris, director of the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. “We want to help Maine folks find their own special places to experience, to go camping, hiking, fishing and hunting, and in general to have a great time and create wonderful memories. We think our new map will help everyone do just that.”
Compared with state parks, Maine’s public reserved lands are remote, unstaffed lands managed for variety of resource values, including recreation, wildlife and timber harvesting. BPL owns more than 500,000 acres of public lands, organized into 29 units ranging in size from 500 to more than 43,000 acres and many other smaller scattered lots. These lands are available for recreation and offer unique, backcountry experiences.
In January 2008, the Governor’s Task Force Regarding the Management of Public Lands and Publicly Held Easements reported that more information was need about these special areas of the state. The task force specifically recommended that creating “better signage and comprehensive maps of existing public lands, trails, and trail networks … would be very helpful for users and economically beneficial at both the local and state levels.”
“Your Maine Lands: Reflections of a Maine Guide,” a series of essays written by Tom Hanrahan, Master Maine Guide, was published in October 2008 by the Maine Department of Conservation.
Funded through a grant from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, the Your Maine Lands map is an outgrowth of the MDOC book project. The map and recreation guide was designed and produced by the Center for Community GIS of Farmington and features four-season photos taken on Maine’s public reserved lands.
Many of these public reserved lands offer outstanding landscapes and vistas, such as the Bigelow Preserve, which includes the entire Bigelow range, and provide remarkable hiking and camping opportunities, such as the Cutler Coast in Washington County overlooking the Bay of Fundy. Some areas, such as the more than 41,000 acres of the Seboomook Lake area, offer excellent hunting, fishing and boating.
A number of the units also have unique habitats, such as the alpine landscape at Mount Abram, the Great Heath peat bog, and the wild Atlantic salmon run of the Machias River Corridor.
Anyone interested in obtaining the free map can contact the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands by phone at 287-3821 or mail at Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, 22 State House Station, 18 Elkins Lane (AMHI Campus), Augusta 04333-0022.
The map also is available online in a PDF format at: http://maine.gov/doc/YML_map_page.html.
For more information about Maine state parks and lands, go to: http://www.parksandlands.com.