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ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Either from the French for a historical district of France or from the early use of "main" to distinguish coast from islands. NICKNAME: The Pine Tree State. CAPITAL: Augusta. ENTERED UNION: 15 March 1820 (23rd). SONG: "State of Maine Song." MOTTO: Dirigo ("I direct" or "I lead"). COAT OF ARMS: A farmer and sailor support a shield on which are depicted a pine tree, a moose, and water. Under the shield is the name of the state; above it, the state motto and the North Star. FLAG: The coat of arms on a blue field, with a yellow fringed border surrounding three sides. OFFICIAL SEAL: Same as the coat of arms. ANIMAL: Moose. BIRD: Chickadee. FISH: Landlocked salmon. INSECT: Honeybee. FLOWER: White pine cone and tassel. TREE: white pine. MINERAL: Tourmaline. STATE HERB: Wintergreen. LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Washington's Birthday, 3rd Monday in February; Patriots' Day, 3rd Monday in April; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Columbus Day, 2nd Monday in October; Veterans Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November and day following; Christmas Day, 25 December. TIME: 7 AM EST = noon GMT.
Situated in the extreme northeastern corner of the US, Maine is the nation's most easterly state, the largest in New England, and 39th in size among the 50 states.
The total area of Maine is 33,265 sq mi (86,156 sq km), including 30,995 sq mi (80,277 sq km) of land and 2,270 sq mi (5,879 sq km) of inland water. Maine extends 207 mi (333 km) E-W; the maximum N-S extension is 322 mi (518 km).
Maine has three climatic regions: the northern interior zone, comprising roughly the northern half of the state, between Quebec and New Brunswick; the southern interior zone; and the coastal zone. The northern zone is both drier and cooler in all four seasons than either of the other zones, while the coastal zone is more moderate in temperature year-round than the other two.
Maine's 17.7 million acres (7.2 million hectares) of forest in 2002 contained over 3.6 billion trees and covered 90% of the state's land area, the largest percentage for any state in the US. About 16,952,000 acres (6,860,000 hectares) are classified as commercial timberland, over 96% of it privately owned, and half of that by a dozen large paper companies and land managing corporations. Principal commercial hardwood include ash, hard maple, white and yellow birch, beech, and oak; commercially significant softwoods include white pine, hemlock, cedar, spruce, and fir. Total lumber production in 2002 was 988 million board feet, of which 89% was softwood.
Housing for Maine families has improved substantially since 1960, when the federal census categorized 57,000 of Maine's 364,650 housing units as deteriorated or dilapidated. Between 1970 and 1980, over 115,000 new units were built. However, about 32% of the entire housing stock was built in 1939 or earlier.
There were an estimated 664,613 housing units in Maine in 2002. Approximately 536,194 of the total units were occupied, with 72% being owner-occupied. About 67.7% of all units are single-family, detached homes. Fuel oils and kerosene are the primary heating fuel for most units. It was estimated that 9,630 units lacked telephone service, 5,081 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 4,058 lacked complete kitchen facilities. The average household size was 2.35 people.
Maine has no major league professional sports team. The Portland Pirates (a minor league hockey team) of the American Hockey League play on their home ice at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland. Minor league baseball's Sea Dogs of the Double-A Eastern League play their games at Hadlock Field, which opened in 1994. Harness racing is held at Scarborough Downs and other tracks and fairgrounds throughout the state. Sailing is a popular participant sport with a Windsummer Festival held each July at Boothbay Harbor and a Retired Skippers Race at Castine in August. Joan Benoit-Samuelson, famous distance runner during the 1980s, was born in Cape Elizabeth.
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