AUGUSTA – Maine’s state parks see more than 2 million visitors each year. Seventy percent of those visitors are Mainers.

“Our parks are really used and loved by Mainers,” said Patrick McGowan, Department of Conservation commissioner. “Mainers take a lot of ownership in them, and they are really a summer respite.

“The Department of Conservation manages these parks but the people of Maine own these parks.”

The DOC and Bureau of Parks and Land is thanking Maine’s residents for their continued support of the state parks with Maine Residents Day. Residents will be admitted free to all state parks and historic sites Saturday, Aug. 26.

Residents Day was started three years ago. Park attendance had been down for a few years, and the governor wanted to boost the numbers by offering a free day, McGowan said. “And the numbers are better in Acadia and Baxter,” he added.

Economically, state parks generate $1 million in revenue for local businesses.

“But they are also places people go to find solace, get exercise, take their children and get away from the hot cities,” McGowan said. “Maine residents have been priced out of buying the historic camp on a Maine lake. The parks are their access to toes in the water. We love to be able to provide that to the Maine people.”

There are 47 state parks and historic sites, from West Quoddy Head in the east to the New Hampshire border in Grafton Notch.

“Range Pond outside Auburn is a beautiful park with a sandy beach,” McGowan said. “It’s a nice day park.

“Rangeley Lake State Park is a beautiful place and a bigger park. At Mt. Blue State Park, we’re seeing the numbers go up all the time. It’s a wonderful place to hike up, and there is a mountaintop pool,” he added. “There are some real beauties.”

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