There are 94 days left before you need to lace up your Bean boots. Unless Maine sets a new first snowfall record — in that case, it’s a mere 45.

There are 1,630,657 registered vehicles on Maine roads and 372,255 unenrolled voters in Maine homes.

There are roughly 35,000 to 40,000 bears in our woods and roughly 9,000 kids headed off to school in Lewiston-Auburn over the next week. (Kids, avoid the bears!)

It’s a numbersome world out there.

As summer winds down and one of the last pre-fall weekends gets underway, we decided to take a look at some of the numbers all around us for insight (does it look like tourism is up this year?) and intrigue (just how many prison letters does Mark LaFlamme get each year?).


According to the Maine Turnpike Authority, preliminary figures show 56,817,687 transactions (people paying tolls and driving through E-ZPass), system-wide, as of Aug. 18.

That’s up 2.4% over the same period last year, said spokeswoman Erin Courtney.

At just the York toll plaza, there have been approximately 9.9 million transactions so far, up 1.8%.

Here’s to hoping they’ve been visitors spending heartily.


Swimmers and sunbathers have been heartily heading to Range Pond.

Day use there is up 20.9% through the end of July in preliminary figures, according to the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.

That’s 92,888 people so far this year versus 76,821 last. And you wondered why your neighbor put his towel so close to yours?

Across Maine’s 42 state parks, standouts for visitor growth include Lake St. George (up 61.2%) and Cobscook Bay (up 46.4%).

Damariscotta Lake has seen the biggest decline, 19.5%.

Overall day use visits statewide are up 4.7%.


Also up: The number of breweries in Maine.

There are currently 152 large and small licensed breweries here, according to the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations.

While some of those 152 may be in the early stages of launching, that compares to 33 active breweries in 2011 and 79 in 2016.

Russell Voss, one of the owners of the NU Brewery, which opened in New Gloucester in June, said they saw room in the Maine beer scene for an American light lager.

“No other breweries are really doing that, whereas 80% of the world consumes light lager,” he said. “We wanted to have a craft light lager and give people the option, especially those that aren’t really IPA drinkers that want to be part of the craft scene.”

They currently have 11 of their own brews on tap.

With the number of breweries doubling every few years, is Maine feeling a bit crowded?

Not one bit, he says.

“California has over 1,000 breweries, half of them in the San Diego area,” Voss said. “I think that marketplace gets crowded. Maine, for the amount of beer that we’re producing and the amount of tourists that we have throughout the year, we’re still not even close to what we should be producing. And craft beer is still the smallest segment in Maine in comparison to out-of-state beer and national brand beer that’s sold.”


From beer to deer: Wondered about the health of Maine’s wildlife?

Maine has an estimated deer population of 260,000 to 290,000, according to Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife spokesman Mark Latti.

“Deer in northern Maine faced two back-to-back severe winters, and may be on a bit of a downward trend in northern Maine but stable statewide,” he said.

Turkeys number between 60,000 and 70,000 and have been “relatively stable, even after a poor nesting season due to the wet spring,” Latti said.

Meanwhile, bear numbers have been slowly rising and moose, estimated at 63,000 to 77,000, have been rising in northern Maine.


There are only five Portland Sea Dog’s home games left for the regular season, counting today, 82 days until the Portland Red Claws’ home opener and 14 days until the New England Patriots take the field for their first home game of the regular season, against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

How are the Pats looking this year?

Pretty darn good, according to Sun Journal sportswriter Wil Kramlich.

“With Tom Brady and Bill Belichick still leading the charge, the Patriots look ready for another Super Bowl run,” Kramlich said. “Rob Gronkowski has retired (for now), but Brady still has some offensive weapons in his arsenal, including Julian Edelman and first-round rookie draft pick N’Keal Harry — not to mention former first-round tight end Ben Watson has returned to the team after years of playing for other franchises.

“The defense that shutdown the Rams in last year’s Super Bowl should once again be solid. That title defense begins at home against the Steelers — the only other NFL franchise with six Super Bowl trophies.”

Ooh, feel that chill? Was it excitement or the coming snow?


According to Hunter Tubbs, an intern at the National Weather Service in Gray, the earliest snowfall on record in Maine as measured in Portland was 1.7 inches on Oct. 10, 1979.

The average date by which Portland’s seen an inch of snow is Nov. 27, still 94 days off yet.

Over at Sunday River Resort in Newry, which tries to be the first to open for skiing in Maine, they laugh — laugh! — at Nov. 27.

They aim for on or around Halloween, according to spokeswoman Karolyn Castaldo, though last year skiers hit the slopes on Oct. 19, its second-earliest opening ever.

“We had a couple inches of natural snow, and temperatures were consistent for us to make snow on our T2 trail,” she said. “Typically, we need to have at least sustained night temperatures around freezing or lower to be able to make snow that early.”


Before the snow flies, before the Patriots’ cleat up, kids are headed back to school.

Very preliminary numbers — they can change as families move in and out of district or register students late — say 5,450 students are headed to PreK-12 in Lewiston and 3,522 to Auburn, according to school officials.

For comparison, last October, Lewiston counted 5,581 students and Auburn 3,596.


From registered students to registered voters: In May of this year, Maine had 347,281 Democrats, 43,507 Green Independents, 287,045 Republicans and 372,255 unenrolled voters, according to the Maine Secretary of State’s Office.

Since November 2016, the last presidential election, there are 8,929 more Democrats, 1,062 fewer Green Independents, 1,725 more Republicans and 12,332 fewer unenrolled people. (Libertarians were recognized by the state as a qualified party in 2016 but not in 2019.)

Only 436 days to go until the next presidential election, which, wow, sounds like such a long campaign season ahead when you look at it that way.

Let’s take our mind off of it by hopping on a moped.


The Secretary of State’s Office doesn’t just count voters, it also counts cars.

In 2018, there were 4,474 mopeds registered in Maine, 499 county sheriff vehicles, 2,124 antique motorcycles, 997 vehicles for hire and 823,002 passenger cars.

In the past 10 years, the total number of vehicles registered here has grown 5.3%.


So, to wrap up this numbers journey, just how many prisoner letters does reporter and columnist Mark LaFlamme receive each year?

About 30. And good news, pen pals, he reads 100% of them!

“All of them are educational and most of them are entertaining, as well,” LaFlamme said. “I try to respond to every piece of mail I get. I get a lot of bounce backs when inmates move from one facility to another.”

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