Courtesy: Maine Dept. of Conservation
KITTERY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Smokey Bear statues can be found all over the country, but until now, the bear was no where to be found in New England.
On Thursday, members of the Maine Forest Service, the Department of Transportation, and the Maine Tourism Association unveiled a life-sized Smokey Bear statue at the Kittery Visitors Center.
Forest Rangers said the bear will notify visitors about the day's forest danger, and remind them to abide by other forest restrictions, such as the ban on out-of-state firewood.
"Everybody knows what Smokey Bear stands for, and it'll just bring it to the forefront as they come in to the state of Maine," said Matt Gomes, Regional Forest Ranger for the Maine Forest Service.
It is an increasingly important message as Maine tourism numbers have increased a projected five percent from last year.
"It's a win-win all the way around. [Visitors] get their picture taken, and it reenforces the fire dangers," said Vaughn Stinson, CEO of the Maine Tourism Association.
The Smokey Bear statue has been dedicated on Smokey Bear's 68th birthday.