As COVID-19 upended people’s regular schedules, it served to bolster attendance at state parks to more than 3 million for the first time.
The state recorded 3,670,112 visitors to state park properties for either day use or camping in 2020.
Camping visits increased by 8% over the year before.
“We fully anticipate 2021 being equal to or greater than 2020’s performance,” says Maine Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry spokesperson Jim Britt.
Britt says he expects last year’s new visitors will plan return trips, and that many longtime campers will try to reserve their favorite spots as early in the season as possible.
“Just judging by the end result for 2020 being a record breaker, with a shortened season, with limited capacity restrictions in some of our parks. I think folks are really hungry to get back to the state parks and make sure that their vacation and their campsites are there for them when they need them,” he says.
The state plans to start taking reservations for one popular camping site, Sebago Lake State Park, starting on Feb. 1. Reservations for other sites open Feb. 5.
“It’ll be an interesting day that day to see how many reservations come in compared to last year — I think it’ll create a great benchmark for the year,” Britt says.
Day-use visitation was up 3% over 2019.