Maine’s state, county and local parks, its extensive public land units and wildlife management areas and its National Forest, National Park units and National Wildlife refuges deserve a lot of special attention on National Public Lands Day. Organized by the National Environmental Education Foundation, Sept. 30 is promoted as an occasion for service projects by individuals and civic, outdoor and church groups across the country.

All Mainers recognize that these lands are the very essence of Maine as a great place to live, work and play, as well as for visitors to know as “Vacationland.” Without ongoing access to and maintenance of these special places, Maine would not be what it is today, and cannot be what we wish for it tomorrow.

Tight government budgets often mean skimping on needed maintenance and repair projects. Public roads near the areas are often garlanded with litter at the end of a tourist season. Most of the units have chores to be done that can be handled by people with enthusiasm and minimal construction or other special skills.

As former administrators of some of Maine’s best public lands, we applaud the initiative by the National Environmental Education Foundation to promote National Public Lands Day. We urge all Press Herald readers to think of a small project that a nearby unit could use. Call the managers there and ask what they need. They will welcome the inquiry.

Then look at a map and take a trip. Express your support by visiting a place you’ve not seen yet. Post an Instagram or Snapchat photo for your friends.

We also invite managers of city, county and state public land units to make National Public Lands Day known to groups that would be interested in assisting, whether on Sept. 30 or any time at all.

Richard E. Barringer

former commissioner, Maine Department of Conservation


Richard B. Anderson

former commissioner, Maine Department of Conservation


Lloyd Irland

former director, Maine Bureau of Public Lands