Loon Plate Weekend offers free admission to state parks on July 14-15
AUGUSTA – If there’s a Maine Loon License Plate on your vehicle, you’re supporting conservation and wildlife efforts in Maine. If there’s a Maine Loon License Plate on your vehicle, you also get free admission this weekend to all Maine state parks and historic sites.
As a way to say “thank you” to Maine drivers who have purchased loon plates, the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL), under the Maine Department of Conservation, will open up the state’s 48 state parks and historic sites this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, July 14-15, to free day use for all vehicles bearing the distinctive plates.
Since the program’s inception by the Maine Legislature in 1993, more than $17 million in loon plate proceeds has gone to the Maine Department of Conservation and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIF&W).
“Maine loon plate holders know that they are helping the future of the state when they purchase one of these special plates,” Will Harris, BPL director, said. “Opening our parks and historic sites for free day-use for loon plate holders is one way we can show our appreciation for their support. We hope everyone will have a great, fun-filled weekend at our state parks.”
“Loon plate sales are an integral part of our management of vital wildlife resources,” said Doug Rafferty, MDIF&W director of public information and education. “We appreciate the support from everyone who purchases a loon plate.”
New Maine loon plates cost $20, while renewal is $15. The plate is available in four types: disability, motor home, trailer, and commercial loon plates. Out of that initial fee:
- $8.40 goes to BPL
- $5.60 goes to MDIFW
- And $6 to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Loon plate funds help BPL maintenance and operations and are an important part of conservation funding, Harris pointed out. Loon plate holders receive a tangible benefit from their plate purchase and the free day-use weekend, as admission to the Maine state parks and historic sites for the two days by vehicle passengers easily can offset the cost of a loon plate, he said.
BPL is expecting to receive about $425,000 for fiscal year 2012 from the special license plates. Loon plate funding has helped to replace picnic tables and signage and has been used to build and repair buildings at various parks, according to park officials.
MDIFW’s share goes to the management of non-game rare, threatened and endangered species through the Endangered and Non-game Wildlife Fund.
The specialty license plate can be requested at municipal offices, according to BPL officials.
For more information about Maine Loon License Plates, go to: http://www.maine.gov/doc/parks/volunteer/loonplates.html