CANAAN, Maine — The 20th anniversary of the Lake George Regional Park is off to a bit of a shaky start.
Jeff McCabe, executive director of the park, said the annual fundraising effort is not what he has come to expect.
“It’s been an interesting year for us,” McCabe said Wednesday. “Usually we’re close to $20,000 [raised], but right now we’re around $13,000.”
McCabe said the money is essential in helping the park operate for the whole year.
“We need this kind of funding to get off the ground for the supplies we need,” said McCabe. “It also pays insurance and all that fun stuff.”
It also helps pay to allow school groups to use the park for free, he said.
“We actually cover a 50-mile radius. People donate from the Bangor area, Waterville, Winslow,” McCabe said. “I’m trying to raise awareness that we need the funding ahead of time. It’s nice when people come in July, but we’d like people to donate a little bit early, too.”
The annual Winter Carnival, this year to be held on Saturday, Feb. 4, typically brings in 1,000 people, said McCabe. He said he hopes it will be a big event once again.
The carnival will feature a chili competition, ice fishing derby and cardboard box sledding for kids.
McCabe said people don’t have to wait for an event to come to the park. It’s open every day, typically from sunup to sundown.
“There’s a lot of people who are ice fishing. We probably have 50 to 100 people on weekends,” he said. “People are walking on the trails and enjoying the hike. A lot of people bring their dogs to run around in the fields.”
Once the park gets about another 5 inches of snow, the trails will be groomed for cross-country skiers, he said.
Aside from everyday expenses, the park also is seeking funding to replace a pickup truck that’s almost 14 years old, said McCabe.
“We need a simple pickup truck — two-wheel drive to haul materials, move trash around and general maintenance,” he said. “We also need to replace a lawn mower. It’s probably 18 years old.”
McCabe said he encourages anyone who enjoys the park to donate.
“We will launch a fundraising campaign to try to encourage new and repeat donors to give $20 and/or 20 hours of volunteer time to help park work on buildings and ground projects,” he said.
“If we could have 1,000 people donate $20, everyone would see a difference pretty quick,” he added.
Entrance to the park costs $4 for people ages 12 or over, $1 for ages 5-11. Families in Skowhegan and Canaan can buy a season pass for $40, while families outside those towns pay $50. The Winter Carnival is free except for the ice fishing derby.
Each year the park has roughly 20,000 visitors, he said. For more information, visit www.lakegeorgepark.org.