Maine residents get into state parks free today

Father’s Day this year coincides with the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands’ annual Maine Day, when, rain or shine, all Maine residents are admitted free of charge to all state parks and historic sites.

Vehicles bearing Maine license plates will enter parks free from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today. No rain date will apply.

The open admission does not apply to the Penobscot Narrows Observatory in Prospect, though admission to Fort Knox State Historic Site, one of the most popular historic sites in the state, will be free today.

One special event today is the firing of the historic fort oven at Fort Knox. The 150-year-old oven, once used to feed soldiers garrisoned at the fort, will be used to bake goods available for tasting, with a small donation to benefit the upcoming Civil War re-enactment, “The Battle at Fort Knox,” on July 21-25. The huge, historic brick oven was fired last month for the first time in 112 years.

Park attendance already has been high in comparison to previous seasons, and numerous special events and programs are taking place in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the Maine state parks system.

Seasonal vehicle passes for park day use are available for $70 and individual passes are $35. The passes can be purchased at any state park and also online by going to:

Park visitors also are reminded to get their free Maine State Parks Passport at participating state parks and historic sites and to stamp the appropriate page for each park visited. The new Parks Passport program was unveiled last month as part of the 75th anniversary celebration. Passport holders can win prizes for the number of parks visited.

For more information about Maine state parks, go to:


Geocachers can hunt high and low at Sunday River

Geocaching — treasure hunting with a technological twist — is coming to Sunday River.

“Geocaching is an activity that easily involves the whole family,” said Dana Bullen, general manager for Sunday River. “It gets people outdoors and involved in physical activity while encouraging them to work together.”

Starting Friday, guests at Sunday River are invited to rent GPS units to use in locating up to a dozen hidden geocache boxes with prizes. The geocache points are hidden along the resort’s 12-mile network of designated hiking terrain spanning eight mountain peaks.

To find their prizes, guests can choose to hike to each point or use the Chondola for higher elevations.

Geocache equipment may be rented at Sunday River Sports in the South Ridge Lodge and is $15 for full day. Sunday River Sports is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

For more information on geocaching at Sunday River and other summer activities, visit or call (800) 543-2754.


Saddleback offers discount to more honor roll students

Saddleback Maine is expanding the ski resort’s PEAK (Promoting Education and Activity for Kids) program to students who achieve the honor roll in all of New England.

Maine honor roll students can purchase a PEAK pass for just $59. Honor roll students in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont are now eligible to purchase a season pass for $99.

Any student in New England up through grade 12 who makes the honor roll at the end of the first marking period is eligible to receive a discounted Saddleback season pass. Ideal proof is a list from the school showing all honor roll students. Other acceptable proof is a report card or a letter from the school principal or superintendent.

Passes are available for purchase online, or by calling (866) 918-2225. Proof of honor roll status for the first marking period of fall 2010 must be furnished before the pass is issued.

Saddleback is also offering pre-season discounts for all skiers and snowboarders online until July 4.


Kayakers invited to camp on island in midcoast

Are you an experienced sea kayaker who enjoys camping? Always wanted to try stowing your gear and paddling to an island for an overnight?

On July 9 and 10 you can learn what to pack, how to pack and leave-no-trace practices by spending two nights on a midcoast island on a trip sponsored by the Knubble Bay Committee of the Appalachian Mountain Club.

You should be an intermediate sea kayaker with camping gear that can fit in your hatches. The trip is limited to six participants.

The cost is $80 for AM members, $90 for non-members, and three meals are provided. Interested kayakers should call leader Mary McCann-Baker, a Registered Maine Guide, at 399-8534 or e-mail [email protected]