Roadmap Update May 2024

Project Updates

Roadmap Update May 2024


Trailblazer Roadmap - May 2024 Update

Posted 05/13/2024

About the planning process

We have conducted robust engagement with Mainers across the state. This community input is shaping the Roadmap’s strategies and recommendations. Engagement to date includes:

60+ interviews with outdoor sector leaders with over 60 individuals across the state representing a vast array of sectors, geographies, and communities.

8 focus groups with institutional partners to understand their unique challenges and assets to the outdoor recreation economy. Groups included the University of Maine, LL Bean, and agencies within the State of Maine.

6 virtual action-oriented build sessions each on a different theme that emerged through data analysis and community engagement with outdoor industry experts and enthusiasts to date. Overall, 115 people registered from over 31 different cities and towns in Maine, in addition to folks from out of state. All 16 counties in Maine were represented. 

7-stop Roadshow across the state to share and get input on emerging ideas and strategies. Sessions were held in: Houlton, Bangor, Waterville, Bethel, Yarmouth, Portland and Rockport and over 100 people attended in total. 

7 Plan Ambassadors engaged. Seven individuals representing seven organizations have agreed to serve as Plan Ambassadors for the Roadmap. Plan Ambassadors are champions for the Roadmap planning process, and have convened seven focus groups so far, with one more being scheduled. We have heard far from guides, rural educators, educators focused on equity, the queer and trans communities and people with disabilities. 

A youth survey is currently being administered. Youth are the future of the outdoor recreation economy in Maine, so including youth in the planning process is essential. A survey for high school students was developed and is currently being administered. 

Coordination is Key

We recognize that our planning process can leverage, add to, and complement other planning activities underway and recently completed, including, but not limited to:

  • 2024 Maine State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) 
  • 2024 Office of Tourism 5-Year Strategic Plan 
  • 2023 Roadmap for a 21st Century Outdoor Workforce
  • 2023 Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan – Two-year Progress Report
  • 2022 U.S. Bureau of 
Economic Analysis Outdoor
Recreation Satellite Account
  • 2022 Maine Office of Tourism Destination Management Plan
  • 2022 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation
  • 2019 State of Maine 10-Year Economic Development Strategy (2020-2029)
  • Maine’s Climate Action Plan
  • Land Conservation Task Force Report


Oct 2023 - Nov 2023

Project Kickoff and Launch at MOES

Dec 2023 - Jan 2023

Engaging community leaders via interviews and Steering Committee

Feb 2024 - Mar 2024

Virtual Build Sessions and Early Priority Development

Mar 2024 - Apr 2024

Statewide In-person Roadshow and Ideation

May 2024 - July 2024

Data analysis

Aug 2024 - Oct 2024

Strategy Development

November 2024

Roadmap Released at Maine Outdoor Economy Summit (tentative)

Emerging Themes

We are working through, assessing, and prioritizing recommendations within the thematic topics below:

Outdoor Recreation Participants – Inbound & Local: This topic is focused on the people – Mainers and those from out of state – who participate in Maine’s Outdoor Economy. This includes exploring Maine’s identity and brand; its heritage and legacy, driving diversity and inclusivity; and balancing meeting tourists’ and residents’ needs alike. 

Sustainability & Climate Change: This topic explores climate change and its impact on the outdoor economy, including the need for sustainable transportation for people and businesses; clean technology, climate adaptation and energy efficiency; business adaptation and extreme weather resilience. 

Land, Water, & Natural Resources: This topic is focused on stewardship of land, water, and natural resources; private land and water access, recreational connectivity; and educational opportunities related to the preservation of Maine’s natural resources.

Supporting Infrastructure: This topic focuses on the physical and informational infrastructure needed to enable the accessibility and connectivity of outdoor recreation assets, climate adaptation, natural resources management, and the quality and consistency of outdoor experiences.

Outdoor Industry Workforce: This topic focuses on the private, public, and non-profit sector workforce that supports the outdoor industry, including career pathways, wages, benefits, seasonality, and volunteerism; workforce development including education and training; and workforce housing.

Economic Development: This topic focuses on several aspects of economic development, including support for businesses (startup, growth, innovation, and technology); supply chain and cluster development; rural revitalization; and marketing for workforce and business attraction.

Igniting Groth and Shaping the Future in 2024

Press Release

Igniting Groth and Shaping the Future in 2024


Igniting Groth and Shaping the Future in 2024

Posted 02/05/2024


Maine Outdoor Brands, the University of Maine, and the Maine Office of Outdoor Recreation have joined forces to initiate the Maine Outdoor Recreation Economy Roadmap, an initiative set to catalyze sustainable growth and diversification within Maine’s vibrant outdoor recreation industry.


“This collaborative effort is poised to propel Maine’s outdoor recreation economy to new heights, fostering job creation, economic resilience, and an enhanced quality of life for residents and visitors alike,” states Jenny Kordick, Executive Director of Maine Outdoor Brands.


Further strengthening the initiative, core partners such as the Maine Marine Trade Association, Maine Technology Institute, and the Bureau of Parks and Lands are actively engaged. Additionally, the Steering Committee comprises over 20 individuals from the public and private sectors across the state. Past statewide roadmaps, such as the Forest Opportunity Roadmap (FOR/ME), have been catalysts for focusing stakeholder efforts and expanding collaboration, opportunity, and investment for their respective sectors, serving as a successful model for this new effort.


Outdoor recreation contributes $3.3 billion to Maine’s economy — nearly 4% of the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) — according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Once completed, the Maine Outdoor Recreation Economy Roadmap will chart a comprehensive strategy to bolster statewide economic growth and diversification through the pursuit of four key objectives:


  • Economic Analysis: Provide a current analysis of the economic value of the outdoor economy to the State of Maine.
  • Sector Awareness: Define and increase awareness of the diverse sectors that make up Maine’s outdoor recreation economy.
  • Strategic Investment: Identify pivotal strategies and investments needed to fuel sustained growth and diversification of Maine’s outdoor economy over the next decade. • Partnerships & Collaborations: Forge partnerships and collaborations to secure additional investment and enact the strategies identified

“This effort is not just about defining Maine’s outdoor recreation economy; it’s about unlocking its full potential,” adds Carolann Ouellette, Director of the Maine Office of Outdoor Recreation. “Through a baseline analysis, strategic identification of growth drivers, and expanding partnerships, we’re laying the foundation for a thriving future.”


The Roadmap initiative commenced with an extensive stakeholder engagement process launched last November at the Maine Outdoor Economy Summit, convening nearly 200 industry leaders from across the state for strategic visioning sessions. Building on this momentum, ongoing collaborative efforts include additional workshops open to interested participants February 26-29. These facilitated, action-oriented workshops are designed to harness collective expertise and transform ideas into concrete strategies supporting the Roadmap’s objectives. A public survey is also currently available on the Roadmap’s website. A second set of workshops will be offered in the late spring, with a final plan expected this fall.


“Our long-standing outdoor recreation expertise and new initiatives within the university and across the University of Maine System (UMS) create opportunity for a more sustainable, inclusive, and innovative outdoor recreation economy. We are a proud partner in this effort and are committed to finding new solutions to advance this vital industry and preserve the natural spaces on which we all rely,” said University of Maine President and UMS Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Joan Ferrini-Mundy.

Funding for the Roadmap initiative is being provided by the American Rescue Plan Act Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation grant program administered by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. This funding is specifically aimed at addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic on Maine’s travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries. As a result, the Roadmap is dedicated to enhancing the synergy between Maine’s unique natural resources and the state’s long-term economic strength.

Maine Outdoor Economy Summit

Project Updates

Maine Outdoor Economy Summit


maine outdoor economy summit

Posted 02/05/2024


The Maine Outdoor Economy Summit (MOES) took place in Rockland, Maine from November 29 to December 1, 2023. During the summit, we launched the Maine Outdoor Recreation Economy Roadmap planning process. The launch focused on engaging individuals from across the outdoor rec sector in a variety of ways.

Ultimately, the planning effort for The Roadmap will include extensive outreach to stakeholders as well as data collection and global benchmarking. Just as expansive as Maine’s natural beauty is the state’s wide array of voices. We want to hear from all of them.


  • 18 interviews conducted with selected participants to glean their perspective on the assets, challenges, and potential of Maine’s outdoor recreation economy
  • 4000 post it notes on the “visioning wall”
  • 20 respondents to a short survey asking for input to define the outdoor recreation economy
  • 130 attendees at the Roadmap launch and visioning session
  • 110 attendees at the Roadmap talent and career pathways brainstorming session
    We incorporated insights from each of these sets of feedback into the high level takeaways explored below.


What is the outdoor recreation economy?

  • “What isn’t it? It’s such an integral part of being a Mainer. Regardless of what business you are in, you have a connection to the land.”
  • “At its core, it’s about being active outside and involves some connection to place.”
  • “Exclusionary and patronizing — people look down on the slow hiker. It’s based in colonialism — doing it the best, doing it the fastest.”

Who should the Roadmap benefit?

  • “Everyone, but it should be especially intentional about including rural communities, children and youth, Native Americans, New Americans, people of color, women, the LBGTQ+ community, and low-income individuals often left out of the outdoor economy, the environment, and natural ecosystem.”

What are the sector’s strengths?

  • “The natural beauty and diverse geography of Maine — its coastline, mountains, lakes, rivers, highlands, and more.”
  • “People are really connected to the landscape. People are resourceful and clever in how to approach providing services or making products. The economy of Maine never boomed, so people had to be smart about business development and resilience. I think that sets them apart.”
  • “The Maine outdoors has the potential to provide healing from trauma and connection with self, place, and other people.”
  • “Even as businesses are scaling in the global marketplace, A survey of 200+ businesses found that U.S. consumers are willing to pay a 22% premium on products made in Maine. As businesses grow they still find value in associating with the Maine brand.

What are the sector’s main challenges?

  • Balancing economic opportunity with environmental stewardship
  • Creating a culture of inclusivity, including:
  • Removing exclusivity and toxicity in certain sectors. One respondent wrote that “it’s easy to feel like you don’t belong.”
  • Being more welcoming and inclusive of communities historically left out of outdoor recreation (low-income, LGBTQ+, women, people of color, and people with disabilities)
  • Acknowledging that many outdoor recreation activities are expensive and hard to get to, and providing solutions and programs to tackle these barriers
    Addressing the lack of affordable and workforce housing, especially for seasonal workers
  • Providing livable wages for the outdoor economy workforce
  • Supporting small outdoor economy businesses to help them stay afloat
  • Preparing for climate change and ensuring climate resilience
  • Expanding beyond the strong relationships within Maine regions to create connections between those regions.

Areas of focus as we move forward in the planning process

Creating a Roadmap that is climate resilient. As one respondent said, “We think a lot about climate change effects. It can’t be ignored if the seasons get longer. We have to model out the effects. What are we going to lose? What are we going to gain? How are we going to help people transition across industries like sugar mapling, lobstering, and so many more?”

To that end, we must focus on:

  • Businesses and how they will adapt to the changing climate and new technology
  • New movers to the state, and constraints they will both face and create
  • Transportation. As one respondent said, “We can’t claim Maine is trying to be climate neutral if everyone is driving individual cars and traveling 3x their commute to get to the mountains to ski.ven EVs are not carbon neutral. We’ve tried carpooling, which hasn’t worked. If we’re trying to be sustainable, we need public transit to rec areas!”

Environmental stewardship. As one respondent said, “We need to make sure we are being good stewards.” This means making sure the right infrastructure exists to meet growth. If we’re going to move the needle, we need to make sure everyone is on board.

  • Business/supply chain sustainability
  • Land use

A more inclusive and welcoming outdoor economy. As one respondent said, “There needs to be a focus on Outdoor Equity — how do we reduce barriers of entry like income, race/ethnicity, gender/identity, and physical access/ability?”

  • The “Maine Brand”
  • Heritage and legacy
  • Public health (including physical and mental health initiatives) and increased accessibility initiatives

A Focus on Workforce. As one respondent said, “The workforce development system needs to focus on high-quality career opportunities for young people, rather than funneling them into seasonal, lower-paying jobs where they can’t build a career.”

  • Career pathways and education
  • Affordable and Workforce Housing. As one respondent said, “Housing is a challenge in rural areas, particularly since the pandemic. Many houses have been bought, and they are not available for seasonal workers or even available year-round for the current workforce.” In addition, it is difficult to find in-town housing in coastal counties that’s affordable to rent or own, forcing many workers to live further away from their employer, leading to longer commutes.

Rural revitalization. As one respondent said, “I would love to see parts of the state that are underused begin to flourish because of outdoor rec opportunities — a sort of rural revitalization.”

  • Business readiness
  • Private landowners providing conservation access
  • Infrastructure
  • Accessibility

Support for small businesses. One respondent told us, “More support is needed for entrepreneurs and small business owners, especially those who are making things. It has been exciting to see them emerge, but highlighting and elevating them would enhance Maine’s reputation as an outdoor recreation destination.”