AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine state parks officials are starting to accept applications for a raffle for first-time campers.

Forty-four Maine entrants will be randomly chosen to win a free weekend of camping this summer at one of eleven state park campgrounds. The raffle is open only to Maine families and individuals who have never before gone camping. Each winner will get the free use of camping equipment and be supported by park staff.

This year, one of those winners also will be the grand-prize recipient of a $1,000 gift certificate from the program's major sponsor, L.L.Bean.

Raffle applications are available on line and at Maine state parks. They will be accepted until May 31. The random drawing will be held on Tuesday, June 4.

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