Lamoine State Park is a public recreation area located on Mount Blue in the town of Weld, Franklin County, Maine. The state park’s 1,400 acres (560ha) include forested mountains and glacial lakes. It is managed by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. In 1934, workers with the Works Progress Administration began developing what would become one of America’s most popular state parks, beginning with an initial 700-acre purchase for $1 million. Development continued during the WPA era under the direction of landscape architect Alfredo De Vido.
Workers also planted trees and built fireplaces as part of their work with the federal government. After its creation, the Civilian Conservation Corps added additional acreage to the park through land purchases and donations. Additional development occurred after the CCC disbanded, adding facilities such as roads, bathhouses, campgrounds, picnic areas, and shelters. A new campground opened in 2016. The park has more than 30 miles (48km) of trails open year round. There are over 200 campsites divided into tent sites or RV sites that have access to hot showers and flush toilets. Other amenities include swimming beach, playgrounds, playing fields, boat launch, and picnicking facilities.
The park hosts numerous events including the annual Mt. Blue Festival, Christmas Luminary Event, Pioneer Day Events, the Annual Ski Races, and many other festivals and races throughout the year. The park includes two major ski runs, Skyline Trail and Sunset Ridge Trail, which offer vertical drops of 600 feet (180m) and 500 feet (150m), respectively. On both routes there are intermediate and beginner slopes, along with extensive backcountry terrain suitable for advanced skiers/boarders. The Skyline Trailhead provides access to the Mountain Madness trail system, which features three loops of moderately difficult downhill single track totaling about 40 miles (64km).
At the bottom of the hill, skiers can either take a left turn onto Sunrise Road, a right turn onto Long Trail, or continue straight down Forest Street to the base of the mountain where the shuttle bus picks up again. From the parking lot at the top of the hill, it is possible to make a quick descent via the sidehill shortcut, saving approximately 3,000 feet (910m) of elevation change. The Sunset Ridge Trailhead provides similar options for accessing the Mountain Madness system, but instead of descending to the valley floor, this route leads across the face of the ridge before dropping off the edge of the summit plateau. This loop covers 21 miles (34km) of mostly easy to moderate terrain, though there are some steeper sections, particularly toward the middle and end.
The park has long been used for summer vacationing by residents of the Lewiston/Auburn area, with picnics, fireworks, barbecues and volleyball games taking place around the large central pond. The park was closed to the public from June 22 – Labor Day between 11:00 am and 5:00 pm due to budget cuts and reopened September 12, 2013. Due to inclement weather conditions, the park will be closed for camping October 15 – April 14. Amenities include swimming beach, playgrounds, playing fields, boat launch, picnic tables and shelters, and access to the 7,300-acre (2,900ha) Androscoggin State Forest just outside park boundaries. Campsites range from the very simple, consisting of a cleared area of ground with a tent pad and light weight shelter, to fully equipped RVs.
60 electric hookups and 10 non-electric hookups are available, with water and sewer connections also being available at certain locations. Modern restrooms and shower houses with hot water are provided at all campgrounds. Picnic tables and charcoal grills are common site amenities found at most campgrounds. Bike trails and bridle paths exist in parts of the park, connecting with the surrounding state forest lands. Ice fishing takes place in the smaller ponds immediately surrounding the main lake. Hunting is permitted in season in an area of the park known as the “Blueberry Patch”, bounded by Baxter Road to the north, Weld Road to the east, Bemis Highway to the south, and Tumbledown Road to the west.
The park contains several small ponds, some of which freeze completely each winter, providing a habitat for ice fishermen. No motorized boats of any kind may be operated on any pond within the park. Canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and paddleboats are available to rent. Approximately 2,500 acres (10km2) of uplands and 6,000 acres (24km2) of lowlands are included in the park. Most of the former is mature hardwood forests, mainly maple and oak, with occasional stands of hemlock. Some of the latter consists of marshy wetlands, while others are rocky hillsides covered with shrubs like mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) and huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.). An 8.5-mile (13.7km) section of the Appalachian Trail runs through the park, passing close to the southernmost pond.
The park has four distinct ecological zones: montane meadow, subalpine fir zone, alpine tundra, and windblown sedge barren. Elevations range from 640 feet (200m) atop Bald Peak to 390 feet (120m) at the lowest point in the park, 350 feet (110m) of which rises directly above sea level. The bedrock exposed in the park is Devonian granite, with pegmatite intrusions identified in places, notably along Hell Creek, which flows northeastward through the park, picking up speed as it approaches the Dead River. Metamorphosed rock, gneiss, schist, and quartzite are present around the margins of some of the larger ponds. The park averages nearly 900 inches (22ft; 6.6m) of rainfall per annum, falling almost entirely in springtime, and thus the vegetation is largely seasonal.
Trees grow rapidly in the wetland areas, sending up to 50 foot (15 m) high in less than five years, whereas the dry ridges and slopes average 20 feet (6.1 m) in height. One notable feature of the park is the presence of old-growth bald pines, no longer seen anywhere else in western New England. Another unique tree in the park is the swamp pink, varying shades of which can be seen throughout the forest. The park has 57 miles (92km) of trails open to hikers, cyclists, and horses, 37 miles (60km) of which are maintained by the CCC and WPA.
The park offers opportunities for:
- ice fishing
- mountain biking
- horseback riding
- cross country skiing
Popular winter activities, conducted primarily in the northern portion of the park near the ranger station include:
- cross-country skiing
Common game species include:
- ruffed grouse
- eastern gray squirrels
- wild turkey
- white-tailed deer
- black bears
- red foxes
- river otters
- cottontail rabbits
- red-shouldered hawks