Finish your morning coffee, enjoy that scone, read every article in this week’s edition of Source, then get up from the breakfast table and – if you don’t already have one – go out and buy a State Parks Pass. Actually, no need to go out. Call up the application on your computer.
Here’s why you’ll be glad you did:
No. 1: The pass is good for 48 spectacularly beautiful state parks and historic sites, with just a few exceptions for those that aren’t managed by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. “A whole year of adventure for one or a carload!” as www.maine.gov puts it. Exclamation point warranted.
No. 2: Do the math. At $70 a year for a car (or van – it covers up to 17 people per vehicle) or $35 a year for an individual, they’re a good deal. Day-use fees for Mainers range from $2 to $4.50 per person at each park. Entrance fees are higher for visiting friends and family from out of state, so before long, your pass will earn its keep.
No. 3: “The passes encourage people to visit more often, to become more invested in the parks, to become part of that fabric,” says Gary Best, the enthusiastic assistant regional manager in the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. “They might volunteer or support the parks in other ways. And the parks are for the people.”
No. 4: The happy little jig danced by the ranger at Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth when I pulled into the parking lot last week and flashed my pass. What was so exciting about that? “When you show that pass,” he said, “what you are telling the person at the booth is you are a friend. You are a friend of Maine State Parks.”
— PEGGY GRODINSKY, friend of Maine State Parks