Christmas is coming, and you’re not ready. You’ve still got a few holes on your shopping list, and you just don’t know what to do.
Don’t worry. My elves have you covered.
At least, if you’re trying to find something for an outdoorsy friend or relative, you’re in luck. I’ve got a few suggestions that may just turn you into a holiday hero.
National park pass
Let’s start off big. Really big. Like, nation-wide big.
Did you know there’s an easy way to give someone a pass that will allow them unlimited access to ALL of the national parks in the U.S.? (There is).
And did you know that it’s not even that expensive? (It isn’t).
It’s called the America the Beautiful Annual National Parks Pass, and until the end of the year you can pick one up for just $76.
The pass will get you into all national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, Bureau of Land Management sites, Bureau of Reclamation site and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites. In all, that will give you more than 2,000 options for one price.
Consider: An annual pass that only covers Acadia National Park costs $55. For an extra $21 bucks, you’ll get to really do some roaming. For those who’ve always wanted to explore some of our fantastic national parks, this sounds like just the ticket.
You might not think of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife as a place to purchase holiday gifts. And you might be wrong.
The DIF&W has offered up a few interesting gift ideas that may be just what you’re looking for.
First off, a popular option is a hunting or fishing license. Some of my friends regularly (and gratefully) receive licenses for Christmas. Others plan on giving them to their brothers, sisters or children. Those licenses are now available, and can be purchased online or from more than 800 agents statewide. Or, if you want to give a gift that’s a little more long-lasting, why not consider a lifetime license?
There are some restrictions — lifetime licenses are only available for those who are younger than 16 or older than 65 — but this is truly the gift that keeps on giving. I’ve never heard anyone lament the fact that they bought their child a lifetime license, but I’ve had several buddies tell me they wish they’d done so when they had a chance.
The DIF&W is also selling Flowfold packs and bags with the department logo for those who want to show their support in a stylish way.
There’s also all kinds of logo outdoor gear and apparel available from the DIF&W’s online shop. Included are fleeces, ball caps and travel mugs.
Don’t slip up
Maine winters can be harsh. Even worse than the cold, many find, is the fact that sometimes it’s tough to keep yourself right-side-up.
That’s where STABILicers come in. STABIL — “born in a garage in Maine,” according to the company website — has been producing handy ice cleats since 1990, and there a number of different products for various outdoor activities. Whether you’re walking, trekking, running or ice fishing, these handy cleats can keep you on your feet and safe.
My colleague Aislinn Sarnacki spends more time tromping around on the ice than anybody else I know, and she has had great luck with STABILicers. If they’re good enough for her, I bet they’ll work great for you, too.
How about a book?
For the outdoorsy reader on your list, there are all kinds of options.
One personal favorite: “When You Find My Body,” by local author D. Dauphinee. The book explores the disappearance and death of Appalachian Trail hiker Geraldine Largay, and sheds new light on the episode that riveted Mainers back in 2013.
If you’ve got a younger reader in your family, you may want to check out one of Hope Rowan’s outdoor offerings. Her “Ten Days in the North Woods” is a kids hiking guide to the Katahdin area, and “Ten Days in Acadia” gives the popular national park the same treatment.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a couple of BDN-related gift ideas that might appeal to our readers. Our own Aislinn Sarnacki’s third book, “Dog-friendly Hikes in Maine,” is a great read and could be just the thing for those who enjoy going on adventures with their pooches.
And my first book, “Evergreens,” which is a collection of some of my favorite BDN columns and features over the last 17 years, was released by Islandport Press earlier this year. Many loyal readers have told me they’ve picked up a copy or three for their hard-to-buy-for relatives, and I’m grateful for that.