CAPE ELIZABETH, ME – FEBRUARY 22: A visitor to Kettle Cove State Park takes in the view on a cloudy afternoon Tuesday, February 22, 2022. (Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer)

CAPE ELIZABETH — The Maine Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry held a public listening meeting regarding the potential redevelopment project at Kettle Cove State Park in late June.

“No decision has been made, so that is important to recognize,” said Senior Planner at Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry, Bureau of Parks and Lands, Jim Vogel. “We are just in a consideration phase; there may well be nothing. At this point, nothing has been committed.”

Kettle Cove State Park is adjacent to Crescent Beach State Park off Kettle Cove Road. The park offers coastal views and a walking trail around the cove.  

For many years, residents and tourists have used the park for family beach use, kayaking and canoeing, as a boat launch for commercial fishermen, walking, and biking.  

The purpose of the meeting was to collect input from recreational and commercial park users, hear from the public, and inform the bureau about improvements. The session helped initiate the process for the potential redevelopment of Kettle Cove State Park to serve a wider range of uses.

Current issues with the park include the unimproved commercial boat launch. Although it is available in the vicinity, the boat launch is not open for recreational boaters. It does not comply with the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides federal funding for the park. The bureau’s vision is to redevelop the park.


The key three components are the currently developed footprint, meeting the working waterfront and recreational needs, and continuing to provide day-use shore access.

“We are exploring alternatives to parking on Crescent Beach by cartop boat launchers,” said Vogel. “They can do that now by driving down to the town constructed gravel launch, and they are allowed to go certain distances onto Crescent Beach and state park property, but we would like to limit that it is not environmentally desirable and something that has been allowed. We have limited it in recent years from what I understand it from the park staff, but potentially doing something at Kettle Cove and giving an alternative to that so folks wouldn’t need to launch cartop boats from the beach.

“Another thing to point out is that a large portion of folks at Kettle Cove are using it to walk into Crescent Beach rather than driving and paying a fee, and so we are exploring ways that you can limit that unpaid access to Crescent Beach. The current launch at Kettle Cove, which is signed as commercial use only, is not in compliance with our federal funding to help pay for the park. Under that federal funding agreement, all of the parks need to be open to the general public, and that launch is not; therefore, it is not in compliance.”

During the meeting, residents in the area expressed concern about traffic to the area and increased use at Kettle Cove. The commercial fisherman expressed concerns about whether or how well they can share a launch ramp. During the meeting, Vogel let residents know there is no plan to make the park bigger. Other residents had positive comments and expressed that they see value in having a commercial launch available at the cove. 

Governor Janet Mills recently announced $50 million in funding for park infrastructure as part of the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan to help make the parks more accessible and enjoyable for residents and tourists. 

“These investments are going to lead to a much more enjoyable experience in our parks, and it’s going to bolster the recovery of Maine’s tourism and outdoor recreation sectors from the pandemic,” said Mills in her statement to upgrade state parks across Maine. “The improvements the department plans to make include things like repairing restrooms and shower facilities at campgrounds, expanding Wi-Fi, and renovating visitor centers and renovating overnight shelters. The improvements include structural upgrades like repairing bridges and roads, redesigning park entrance stations, making ADA accommodations, and modernizing equipment at park headquarters.

“They also include environmental and public safety upgrades, like fixing boat launches, refurbishing playgrounds, making sure they’re safe, restoring masonry on historic sites, upgrading septic systems, and mitigating erosion on recreational trails.”


Comments are not available on this story.