State parks announce ‘Take it Outside’ events

Photo by Aislinn Sarnacki. Camden Hills State park is transformed into a winter wonderland on Dec. 23, 2011.

A schedule of fun-filled winter events was announced by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands today. For the fourth year running, BPL will host affordable, day-long “Take It Outside” events in January and February at snowy state parks throughout Maine.

In the depth of winter, it can sometimes be a task to bundle up and prepare yourself (and your family) for a day outdoors, but you shouldn’t miss out on the benefits of breathing in the crisp winter air. Maine’s natural beauty doesn’t disappear or even fade under the snow. So the BPL is just giving Maine residents an extra push to get them out the door.

Two major ice-fishing derbies will be held, as well as three winter fun days during which people can try cross-country skiing, sliding and snow shoeing and enjoy dog sled rides. Admission for each event is $1.50 for ages 12-64. All others get in for free.

These days are packed with opportunities to be active and try something new. For those who don’t own equipment for winter outdoor activities, rentals will be free for the day.

“There’s nothing better to break up cabin fever than a fun day outside, and we know that lots of children and families look forward to these special events,” said Will Harris, director of BPL, in a prepared statement.

Last year, about 4,000 people “took it outside” to attend six separate BPL winter events.

Event schedule

Sunday, Jan. 15: Youth Ice Fishing Derby, 8 a.m.-3 p.m., at Lake St. George State Park in Liberty. Learn how to ice fish, all equipment, including bait, provided. All registered children receive prizes. And if there is snow, dog sled rides will be running from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. for a $3 donation. Hot lunch is included, and a warming hut will be available. More than 600 people attended last year’s event, and more than 100 children registered for the derby. Park Manager Leland Griffin predicted that they will have plenty of ice on the lake for the derby, which will be stocked with brook trout beforehand. For information, call 589-4255.

Saturday, Jan. 21: Winter Family Fun Day, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at Cobscook Bay State Park, Edmunds Township. The day-long event features cross-country skiing, sliding, snowshoeing, ice skating, snowmobile tote rides, birdhouse building and nature walks. Hot lunch is included. For information, call 726-4412.

Saturday, Feb. 4: Winter Family Fun Day, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at Mount Blue State Park in Weld. The day-long event will feature ice skating, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sliding, hay rides, nature interpretive walks and bonfires. A warming hut will be available, and hot lunch is included. For information, 585-2261.

Saturday, Feb. 18: Kids Ice Fishing Derby, 8 a.m.-noon, at Range Ponds State Park in Poland Spring. This event is part of the Sebago Lake Rotary Derbyfest and Statewide Derby. The first 500 children registered get free ice fishing equipment, compliments of Kittery Trading Post. For information and registration, visit

Saturday, Feb. 25: Winter Family Fun Day, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at Aroostook State Park in Presque Isle. The day-long event features cross country skiing, sliding, snowshoeing, ice skating, snowmobile tote rides and guided nature interpretive walks. Hot lunch is included. For information, call 768-8341.

The fun-packed events are made possible by numerous community volunteers, businesses and organizations. Major sponsors are Hannaford, L.L. Bean, Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, Poland Spring Water, Wicked Joe Coffee, Maine Winter Sports Center and Kittery Trading Post.

For information about Maine state parks, visit


Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at