Typically, Maine’s tourist season does not start until mid-May.  However, this year, the state will get a headstart on the lucrative season.

During the first week of April, thousands will flock to the state in order to be in the path of totality of the total solar eclipse.  On the afternoon of April 8, the celestial event will cut a swath of total darkness across much of Maine.

For several minutes, the Moon will block out the mid-afternoon sun, turning day into night.

With the expectation that the state will see an influx of visitors, many communities are making plans for the event.  Some are scheduling additional first responders, some have closed school on that day, and many are hosting special parties and events.

While there will be plenty of great places in Maine where you can watch the event, there is one spot you are going to want to avoid.

According to WCSH 6 and the Baxter State Park Facebook page, the park is asking you not to attempt to watch the eclipse from within the park’s boundaries.

Nathan Watson / Unsplash
Nathan Watson / Unsplash

First, the park is closed in April.  Additionally, it really is not safe, and can also cause damage to wildlife habitats and park infrastructure.

Although we have had a warm winter, much of the park will still be covered in snow in early April.  The Facebook post explains that, in higher elevations, it is not uncommon to find 12-foot-deep snowdrifts during April.  In addition to concerns about the snow, the parts of the park that will be clear of snow will likely be covered in mud.

Because it is easy for the average vehicle to get stuck in conditions like this, there are safety concerns.

The post says, in part:

Because of these conditions, and because alpine surfaces are so sensitive to damage from foot traffic, all trails on Katahdin are closed during April; all roads in Baxter State Park are closed in April; and the Park is completely closed to camping in April. Even in areas where access is not explicitly prohibited, attempting to hike, drive, or camp off the beaten path at this time of year is unwise. It can cause severe damage to our roads, trails, and ecosystems, and to those of our neighboring landowners, who make access to Baxter possible through their lands.

On the plus side, there are dozens of Maine towns along the path of totality that would love to have you as a guest.  The restaurants, motels, and stores would benefit greatly from the money that you will bring into their town.

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