UMaine joins joint effort to boost Maine's outdoor recreation economy – UMaine News

UMaine is joining a collaborative effort to develop Maine's outdoor recreation economy

From hiking, camping and biking to boating, hunting and snowmobiling, the outdoor recreation industry plays a significant role in supporting Maine's economy, contributing $3.3 billion annually. To aid statewide economic development in the state's outdoor recreation sector, the University of Maine has launched the Maine Outdoor Recreation Economic Roadmap in partnership with Maine Outdoor Brands and the Maine Office of Maine Outdoor Recreation.

„This joint venture is poised to propel Maine's outdoor recreation economy to new heights, boosting job creation, economic resilience and improving the quality of life for residents and visitors,” says Jenny Kordick, executive director of Maine Outdoor Brands.

Upon completion, the Maine Outdoor Recreation Economic Roadmap will outline a comprehensive strategy to promote statewide economic growth and diversification by pursuing 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 various sectors that make up Maine's outdoor recreation economy.
  • Strategic investment: Identify key strategies and investments needed for sustained growth and diversification of Maine's outdoor economy over the next decade.
  • Partnership and cooperation: Building partnerships and collaborations to secure additional investment and implement identified strategies.

“This initiative is not only about defining Maine's outdoor recreation economy; It unlocks its full potential,” says Carolyn Ouellet, director of the Maine Office of Outdoor Recreation. „Through a fundamental analysis, strategic identification of growth drivers and expanding partnerships, we are laying the foundation for a prosperous future.”

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To further strengthen the initiative, key partners such as the Maine Marine Trade Association, the Maine Institute of Technology and the Bureau of Parks and Lands are actively involved. In addition, the steering committee includes over 20 individuals from the public and private sectors across the state. Past state-level roadmaps such as the Forest Opportunity Roadmap (FOR/ME) have served as a successful model for this new initiative, having been a catalyst for focusing stakeholder efforts and expanding collaboration, opportunities and investment for respective sectors.

The roadmap initiative began with an extensive stakeholder engagement process that began last November at the Maine Outdoor Economic Summit, which brought together nearly 200 industry leaders from across the state for strategic visioning sessions. To build on this momentum, continued collaborative efforts will include additional workshops open to interested participants from February 26-29. These facilitated, action-oriented workshops are designed to leverage collective expertise and transform ideas into concrete strategies that support the objectives of the project roadmap. The public survey is also currently available on the Roadmap website. A second set of workshops will be offered in late spring, with a final project expected this fall.

„Our long-standing outdoor recreation expertise and new initiatives create the opportunity for a more sustainable, inclusive and innovative outdoor recreation economy at the University and across the Maine System (UMS). We are a proud partner in this effort and look forward to new initiatives to advance this vital industry and protect the natural spaces we all rely on.” We are committed to finding solutions,” said Joanne Ferrini-Mundi, president of the University of Maine and UMS vice chancellor for research and innovation. .

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Funding for the Roadmap Initiative is provided by the American Rescue Plan Act Travel, A tourism and outdoor recreation grant program administered by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The funding is specifically aimed at addressing challenges posed by the pandemic in Maine's travel, tourism and outdoor recreation industries. As a result, this roadmap is dedicated to improving the synergy between Maine's unique natural resources and the state's long-term economic strength.

To participate in the survey, register for upcoming workshops, or for more information, visit: trailblazerroadmap.com/get-involved.

Contact: Shelby Hardin, [email protected]

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