Voscar, The Maine Photographer.
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AROOSTOOK STATE PARK
In 1938, interested citizens of Presque Isle donated 100 acres of land to the State with the hope of creating Maine's first state park. This hope became reality is 1939, with the creation of Aroostook State Park. Subsequent donations increased the park to its present size of over 600 acres. Encompassing Quaggy Jo Mountain and Echo Lake, the park provides year-round recreational activities. Rising abruptly from the surrounding farmlands, the most prominent feature of Aroostook State Park is Quaggy Jo Mountain. Uplifted by folding of the earth's crust, weathered and shaped by glaciation through time, Quaggy Jo offers a unique chance to study our geologic past. The underlying limestone formations mark the presence of an ancient sea, and the mountain's outer layer of volcanic rock suggests a later lava flow of an unknown origin. Quaggy Jo is the shortened form of its Indian name "QuaQuaJo". A popular translation for QuaQuaJo is "twin peaked".
The park's natural areas are typical of northern Maine. Its forest consists mainly of a mixture of spruce, fir, beech, and maple along with younger stands of poplar, birch, and other hardwoods. In the park's low swampy areas, dense stands of cedar can be found.
A wide variety of birds and mammals live within the park. While squirrels and chipmunks are most frequently seen, fox, deer, moose and bear also rail the park "home". Birds of all types are found here, too, including hawks, owls and woodpeckers.
A Night at Aroostook State Park
Aroostook State Park is the oldest state park in Maine. It's tucked away in the woods on the outskirts of Presque Isle. Located a short distance off Route 1, this park is nothing short of extraordinary! Whether you want a relaxing time in front of a small fire or a busy time enjoying all that the park has to offer, Aroostook State Park will meet all of your expectations and more.
The key is to get to the park early: there's a lot to do. The park opens at 9 a.m. and closes at sunset. For those camping folks, it is common to drive around the campgrounds to find a spot that is just right for you. There are 30 campsites total: all have their own fire ring and picnic table. There is a fee of $10.70 per day for Maine residents and $19.26 for non-residents. Observe the posted speed limit, though: the wildlife has been known to run across the road without yielding. During this fact-finding drive, you will notice marked hiking trails. These trails are great for any level of adventurer. The north peak trail is 1.25 miles long, and the south trail is .75.
There is a small playground on the right just before you enter the camping area. The swings are comfortable. The best way to enjoy them is to bring friends. By bringing friends, you can have a wonderful conversation or have them push you to save some of your own energy. You will need to save as much energy as possible so that you can display your skills in the canoes or kayaks the park has for rent ($2.50/hr.). The park is located on Echo Lake, which is small and with little current. So with short bursts of energy, you can really propel yourself through the water with ease.
After the stress-releasing canoe adventure, you can cool off on the beach. The beach at Aroostook State Park is wonderful (picnic tables and grills are around the beach). The only thing preventing it from being bliss is the neighbors, which consist of ducks. These little buggers quack along as if they own the place and will steal your bread if you are not careful. Remember, feeding the wildlife is prohibited -- unless, of course, you are fishing for the elusive brook trout that Echo is filled with.
After all of this exciting relaxation, you might be ready for a campfire and a good night's sleep. If a good night's sleep is only possible for you when you are fully scrubbed, the park has a very clean shower house and toilets. Bring your own shampoo and soap: they're some of the few luxuries that are not provided for you.
Now, finally, you can sit back and enjoy a small campfire in a safe campground (the rangers patrol about every hour to ensure the safety of the campers). With the cares of civilization behind you and many calories burned, you can rest easy and eat a few s'mores over the fire. Finally it is time for a good night's sleep (quiet time starts at 10 p.m.). Before you leave, remember to thank the rangers for ensuring a clean and safe camping experience.
Written by: Robert Butcher
DAY USE FACILITIES
Aroostook's lakeside picnic area provides tables, charcoal grills, a swimming area and changing facilities.
The boating area offers ample space for parking, launching and docking. Canoes, paddles and life jackets can be rented at the Information Station.
Fees: Day Use:
- Age 65+ - Free
- Age 12-64 - $1.00
- Age 5-11 - $.50
- Under 5 - Free
NEARBY POINTS OF INTEREST
- The James School- A fully restored 1 room schoolhouse.
- Trans-Atlantic Balloon Launch Site-Starting point of the first successful crossing.
- Haystack Mountain- A short climb, with rewarding views.
- For information on these and other nearby attractions, inquire at the information Station or just ask any Park Ranger.
Located 5 miles south of Presque Isle off U.S. Rt. #1, Aroostook State Park is an ideal starting point for discovering the North Maine Woods, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec.
Aroostook State Park
87 State Park Road
Presque Isle, Maine 04769
Other Aroostook State Park Links
Aroostook State Park -
In 1938, interested citizens of Presque Isle donated 100 acres of land to the State with the hope of creating Maine's first state park. This hope became reality is 1939, with the creation of Aroostook State Park. Subsequent donations increased the park to its present size of over 600 acres.
Aroostook State Park Hiking Trails -
The 4 mile cross-country ski trail can also be used as a summer hiking trail. Some of the Park trails leave Park property and pass through private property. The owners have given permission for you to use and for us to maintain these trails.
Aroostook State Park Cross Country Skiing Trails -
Park boundaries are marked with bright orange paint and cross several trails. Care should be taken to stay on established cross-country ski trails. Snowmobile trail l.T.S. 83 winds thru the park. Use caution when crossing snowmobile trails. The lodge at the park headquarters is open to the public on weekends during the skiing season.
Camping at Aroostook State Park -
30 wooded campsites, with tables and fireplaces, are available for either tent or trailer camping. Reservations may be made by calling at least 2 weeks in advance: (800) 332-1501 from within Maine, or (207) 289-3824 from out of state. Campsites can be reserved only during the period covering June 15-Labor Day. Call the reservation phones, or the park office for more information.
History of Aroostook State Park -
In 1938, the newly created State Park Commission ( which had been formed in 1935) recommended that the State accept a gift of 100 acres of land near Presque Isle. This became Aroostook State Park, the first in the State Park system.