Campers in Maine state parks can choose a cushier option than sleeping on the ground this summer.

Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands intends to rent 10 specialty platform tents at campgrounds across the state through Tentrr, an online company that arranges luxury tented stays on private land.

“We look at this as the next public-private model to get people outdoors,” said Tentrr spokeswoman Baxter Townsend.

The company has no agreement like this with any other states, she said.

The bureau would not release where the sites will be placed, but the intent is to spread them across Maine.

Secluded locations will be tailored for natural scenery, nearby outdoor recreation and local amenities such as breweries, shopping and dining, Townsend said.

The idea is to give inexperienced campers the opportunity for a few nights in the woods. Half of the people who book on Tentrr are first-time campers, according to Townsend.

“We are the gateway drug for camping,” she said.

Tentrr offers private landowners the option to set up a campsite on their property and rent it out through the company’s online portal.

Hosts pay a fee to the company and Tentrr provides and sets up a platform canvas tent, plus a fire ring, cooking stove, chairs, solar shower, bunks and other camping necessities.

Hosts keep 80 percent of the booking fees – $130 a night on average – and can offer extras like home-cooked meals or guided hikes and kayak trips. Prices will be the same for those set up at the state park sites.

The company’s arrangement with Maine state parks will operate the same way. Campers will book online through the Tentrr site, not the state parks reservation system. The sites will be secluded from regular tent and RV camping areas.

“We are not taking spots away from current campgrounds,” Townsend said. “It is like every other Tentrr camp would be except on state park property.” The company plans to have sites prepared and ready to rent by Memorial Day weekend.

Maine State Parks have 12 campgrounds across the state. Per-night prices for residents range from $15 for a basic tent site in Bradbury Mountain in Pownal to $35 a night for an RV spot with water and electric hook-ups at Sebago Lake.

“Tentrr’s  natural camping is a great fit in line with the mission of State Parks in offering a wide range of recreational and educational opportunities, and will speak to individuals and families looking for fun outdoor recreational experiences,” said Melissa Macaluso, assistant to the commissioner for special projects at the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

A partnership with Tentrr means the state could set up the tent sites with minimal up-front cost and reach a broader market outside the state of Maine, Macaluso added.

All profits from the venture will go back to supporting state parks.

Tentrr launched  four years ago and moved into Maine in 2017. Nationwide, the company has more than 500 sites.

Last year, the company, fueled by $8 million in venture capital, attempted a massive expansion, aiming to have 200 sites in Maine by the end of the year.

Tentrr fell short of that projection, but now has 61 sites in the state. Townsend said the company received enormous interest from landowners, but production delays affected the number of camp kits the company could manufacture and install.

Maine sites that were open for the entire season had a 60 percent occupancy rate, Townsend said.

Many of last year’s inquiries will be turned into new sites this year as the company ramps up production again in the state, she added.


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