The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, under the Maine Department of Conservation, has announced the publication of its new map focusing on Maine’s public reserved lands.

The new map, titled “Your Maine Lands: Recreational Map & Guide to Public Reserved Lands,” is a comprehensive guide to the more than 500,000 acres of public reserved lands in Maine. The map highlights the various public reserved land units by Maine tourism region, provides a description of each unit, and indicates the recreational activities available for each area.

The Your Maine Lands map is available free on request and is available online through the bureau’s website, according to Maine Department of Conservation officials.

“As I have visited these extraordinary places, I have seen first hand the impact they have on the local and state economy,” MDOC Commissioner Eliza Townsend said. “This map continues our efforts to better inform Maine people about the special places they own so that they can discover and enjoy them to the fullest extent possible.”

“We have so many special places in Maine besides our 48 state parks and historic sites,” Will Harris, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands director, said. “We want to help Maine folks find their own special places to experience, to go camping, hiking, fishing and hunting, and in general to have a great time and create wonderful memories. We think our new map will help everyone do just that.”

“As a member of the governor’s public lands task force, I am pleased to see the Maine Department of Conservation letting Maine people know what they own and what they can do on these lands,” Don Marean of Limington, former state representative, said. “These beautiful places offer experiences you can’t find in other states.”

In comparison to state parks, Maine’s public reserved lands are remote, unstaffed lands managed for variety of resource values, including recreation, wildlife, and timber harvesting. BPL owns more than 500,000 acres of public lands, organized into 29 units ranging in size from 500 to more than 43,000 acres and many other smaller scattered lots. These lands are available for recreation and offer unique, back-country experiences.

In January 2008, the Governor’s Task Force Regarding the Management of Public Lands and Publicly-Held Easements reported that more information was needed about these special areas of the state. The task force specifically recommended that creating “better signage and comprehensive maps of existing public lands, trails, and trail networks that fully characterize outdoor opportunities irrespective of state agency boundaries would be very helpful for users and economically beneficial at both the local and state levels.”

“Your Maine Lands: Reflections of a Maine Guide,” a series of essays written by Tom Hanrahan, Master Maine Guide, was published in October 2008 by MDOC. This book has brought considerable attention to the beauty and accessibility of these lands to Maine people.

Funded through a grant from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, the YML map is an outgrowth of the MDOC book project. The map and recreation guide was designed and produced by the Center for Community GIS of Farmington and features four-season photos taken on Maine’s public reserved lands.

Many of these public reserved lands offer outstanding landscapes and vistas, such as the Bigelow Preserve, which includes the entire Bigelow range, and provide remarkable hiking and camping opportunities, such as the Cutler Coast in Washington County overlooking the Bay of Fundy. Some areas, such as the more than 41,000 acres of the Seboomook Lake area, offer excellent hunting, fishing and boating. A number of the units also have unique habitats, such as the alpine landscape at Mount Abram, the Great Heath peat bog, and the wild Atlantic salmon run of the Machias River Corridor.

Anyone interested in obtaining the free map can contact the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands at:

Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, 22 State House Station, 18 Elkins Lane (AMHI Campus), Augusta, ME 04333-0022; or call 207-287-3821.

The YML map also is available on line in a PDF format at: http://maine.gov/doc/YML_map_page.html.

For more information, go online to: parksandlands.com.

VillageSoup sports staff can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at sports@villagesoup.com.