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Good morning. This is Governor John Baldacci.

Maine’s State Parks are celebrating their 75th Anniversary this year.

Since 1935, our State Parks have developed a worldwide reputation for quality and beauty at an affordable price.

Generations of families have grown up with fond memories of their visits, and they’ve learned about Maine’s culture and history.

Through the years, we have enhanced our parks, adding more amenities to make them safer, more convenient and more fun.

There’s a lot happening at our State Parks.

And this weekend is a great opportunity to check out what they have to offer.

On Father’s Day, State Parks and Historic Sites will be free for Maine residents.

Time together is one of the greatest gifts we can give our families.

Sometimes, we need to lead our kids outdoors.

And we need to get them away from the iPods, television and text messaging and let them smell the fresh air;

See the waves crashing on the beach;

And hike along some of the most beautiful trails anywhere in the world.

Three years ago, my Administration launched the Take It Outside initiative with the Department of Conservation.

The goal of the program is to improve the health of Maine families, to fight obesity and introduce folks to the wonderful outdoor recreation available in Maine.

Our 48 State Parks and Historic Sites make it possible for families to have a great experience close to home.

Last year, our parks welcomed 2.3 million visitors, who helped to contribute over $100 million to our State’s economy.

And since 2007, Maine voters have supported $7.5 million dollars in investments to improve our facilities, and protect our unique cultural heritage.

Did you know that the first cows ever brought to the United States came ashore at Vaughn Woods Memorial State Park in South Berwick?

Or that Fort Knox is the second largest historic fort in the country?

Our parks and historic sites keep us in touch with the past, bringing to life Maine’s place in American history.

And special events are planned all summer long.

And there’s a long list of activities to suit almost every taste, including:

• Bird watching tours; • Music; • Living History Displays; • Artisan and crafts festivals; • Horseback riding • And much, much more.

Our State Parks also have expanded their four-season recreation opportunities.

Winter Family Fun Days at Mount Blue State Park has tripled in size since it began in 2008, and the same event at Aroostook State Park welcomed 700 people.

And the Youth Ice Fishing Derby at Lake St. George State Park drew 600 visitors.

People love Maine’s parks, and they let me know it.

They send letters and e-mails that tell a common story.

The parks are well-maintained, they’re safe and affordable.

They offer unique and fun experiences.

And they are staffed by dedicated professionals who want every family to have a fun and memorable visit.

Tourism is a critical part of Maine’s economy, and nature-based tourism is one of our State’s largest draws.

People come from around the world for our beaches, lakes, mountains and rivers.

They are drawn here because Maine has aggressively protected the qualities that make our home special.

It’s why in Maine we have been aggressive in our efforts to conserve pristine wilderness, keep our forests working, and develop alternative sources of energy that are cleaner and safer.

Mainers take pride in the stewardship of our State.

We know that we live in a special place. Keeping it that way takes hard work and commitment.

And we do not take our blessings for granted.

I hope Maine families will be able to take advantage of our State Parks this weekend and spend some time together outside.

The memories will last forever.

Thank you and have a very happy Father’s Day.

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