State Park: Everyone who had reservations showed up for Labor Day weekend

 NW dd36 Labor Day at Sebago State Park (Use this cutline for any photo) In one section of the Sebago Lake State Park Campground, at Witches’ Cove swimming area, people enjoy water sports like kayaking and using a paddle boards. About 3,500 people camped at the park over Labor Day weekend, while 4,900 people took advantage of the day use area during the three-day holiday. (De Busk Photo)

In one section of the Sebago Lake State Park Campground, at Witches’ Cove swimming area, people enjoy water sports like kayaking and using a paddle boards. About 3,500 people camped at the park over Labor Day weekend, while 4,900 people took advantage of the day use area during the three-day holiday. (De Busk Photo)

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — Maksim and Nataliya Yarchak were delighted to find an open campsite at the campground. After all, they did not have reservations and it was Labor Day weekend. Luckily, one of the walk-in sites near the amphitheater was available.

As soon as they had finished setting up their tent, the couple embraced momentarily. Then, in the ultimate tradition of camping, they started a fire and shared S’mores. Later, that evening, they perched on a lakeside rock and admired the sunset.

Maksim and Nataliya were celebrating their second-year wedding anniversary, and thoroughly enjoying one of many stays at Sebago Lake State Campground.

The couple is originally from Belarus, a country in Eastern Europe located between Poland and Russia with Ukraine to the south. They were married in Boston, where they live. Maksim discovered the state park in 2009 after he saw Big Sebago Lake on a map of Maine, he said.

“It is beautiful lake. It is enjoyable place, quiet. Lake is warm, good at all times,” he said.

They said they camped in late September or early October last year, and it seemed like there were only four people in the entire campground.

“It was amazingly quiet. The quietness — it holds the land for ourselves,” he said.

In 2013, the couple made seven trips to Sebago Lake State Campground. The Friday before Labor Day was their third time staying at the campground this summer.

According to Park Ranger Matt MacGuire, 3,500 people stayed at the campground and 4,900 people spent time at the day use area during this Labor Day weekend.

“This past weekend, camping was steady. Everyone with reservations showed up,” MacGuire said.

The sunny weather on Labor Day — especially after rain had been predicted for the early part of the day — helped to increase the number of people in the day use area, he said.

So far, for the summer season, a total of 85,044 people have stayed overnight, and 113,309 people have taken advantage of the offerings at the day use area, according to MacGuire.

After Sept. 7, the campground does not accept reservations. It will be a first come, first served basis, he said.

Many individuals are content to remain at the campground during their stay, while others indulge in day trips around the region.

This go-around, the Yarchaks did a little bit of traveling.

“Nataliya got Maine (State Park) Passport,” he said.

“We went to another scenic view point,” she said.

Then, because there are towns in Maine named after places in Europe, they visited South Paris and Norway.

They said the view of Norway Lake with the mountains around it was breathtaking and the lake was beautiful.

“Usually, we do hiking, but this time we didn’t,” she said.

“We had nice conversation with the park ranger. He knew about rocks. He showed us fossils, and talked to us about how the area was developed. It was under the ocean and under ice,” he said.

“It was awesome to hear the lesson,” he said.

At the Nature Center, they also learned about fresh water leaches, and how physicians once used leaches on patients with blood problems.

The couple broke camp on Sunday morning, and planned to go to an orchard and pick apples.

Johnny and Jenna, a couple from Rhode Island, were able to pack a lot of physical activity into one day of camping.

As soon as they pitched their tent on Thursday, they took to the lake with paddle boards. Then, after a quick meal, they returned to the lake with their kayaks. Before the sun could set, they grabbed their fishing poles and briskly trekked the lakeside trail system. About an hour after the sunset, they found some time to sit still on the beach — while stargazing.

Jenna and Johnny liked the idea of arriving before the Labor Day weekend rush of campers. Plus, they already had plans for Saturday — they had two tickets to a Tom Petty concert in Boston.

Tess and her husband Pete wait until September to enjoy the solace of Sebago Lake. They set up their recreation vehicle and spend the remainder of the season at the campground. The couple lives and works in Portland so the occasional commute is balanced with kicking back at the lake.

On Sunday, two of Tess’s good friends came to visit her at the September spot.

According to Park Ranger MacGuire, “There is a certain group who comes in the fall to camp and enjoy the lake.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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