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Maine’s tourism industry could see a 40 percent drop in revenue this year, according to analysis by University of Maine researchers. This is largely because visitors from other states and countries are foregoing visits to the Pine Tree state due to the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions that have come with it.
Mainers can’t make up all that lost revenue, but we do still live in vacationland. So, if you have the chance and the resources, this is the perfect summer to explore your home state — while following distancing and mask-wearing requirements, of course. There is plenty to explore here in Maine.
If you love a walk on the beach, consider Lamoine State Park or Roque Bluffs State Park. And, you can’t beat the ocean-front camping at Cobscook Bay State Park. Campsites at Maine state parks can be reserved online at www.campwithme.com.
More of a lake person? Moosehead Lake is Maine’s largest lake. It’s a perfect spot for boating, kayaking, even swimming. Lily Bay State Park offers dozens of campsites, as well as a boat launch and walking trails. If indoor accommodations are more your style, numerous inns and restaurants in Greenville and Rockwood will keep you well fed and rested.
Hundreds of other lakes and ponds spread across Maine are also worth a visit. Pair a paddle across Donnell Pond or Tunk Lake with a hike up Black Mountain in Hancock County. You can paddle and fish all day in Rangeley Lake and Grand Lake, which bookend Maine in the west and east.
Have you visited Maine’s new national monument? New highway and road signs will guide you to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, where you can mountain bike the loop road, hike up Barnard Mountain for great views of Mount Katahdin or paddle the famed East Branch of the Penobscot River. You can even visit Lunksoos Camps, where Donn Fendler emerged from more than a week of being lost on Mount Katahdin.
The nearby Penobscot River Trails offer a biker’s paradise of more than 15 miles of trails.
Day trips are a great way to escape from the stress of work and coronavirus. But, if you can, Maine’s many hotels, inns, cottages, sporting camps and campgrounds could surely use your support this summer. Enhanced cleaning and distancing protocols ensure you can spend time in a rustic camp, glamping tent, posh hotel room or other accommodation, many of which will ensure you can also have meals delivered to your door.
If you’re new to the outdoors or want to try a new activity, L.L. Bean has resumed its outdoor discovery programs, which range from kayaking courses to lessons in shotguns or archery to four days of hiking and camping in Baxter State Park.
However and wherever you choose to explore Maine, be sure to maintain a distance of at least six feet between yourself and others outside your group, wear a mask and wash or sanitize your hands frequently.
There’s no doubt about it, in many different ways this is not a normal Maine summer. Though new challenges exist and so much has changed, opportunities to explore the state and support the local economy remain.