Maine Office of Outdoor Recreation

From the Outdoor Industry Association report The Outdoor Recreation Economy.

Outdoor recreation contributes over $8.2 billion in annual consumer spending and sustains 76,000 jobs statewide.  In addition, this industry generates $548M in state and local taxes and supports $2.2 billion in wages and salaries.  The outdoor recreation industry is an essential element of Maine’s economy. 

70% of Maine residents participate in outdoor recreation activities each year which is at higher rates than both national and regional averages. 

Drives commerce & creates healthy communities

  • Outdoor recreation fuels employment in other sectors, such as manufacturing, finance, retail, transportation, food services, tourism, travel and more.
  • Jobs in the outdoor sector attract active and healthy workers whose lifestyles inspire others
  • Towns and cities that invest in their outdoor assets attract employers and employees who value the work-life-balance that outdoor access provide.
  • Outdoor recreation infrastructure has proven an invaluable asset for economic development offices and chambers of commerce seeking to attract new employers.

“Time and time again, when leaders invest in outdoor recreation the result is healthier communities and healthier economies.”   The Outdoor Recreation Economy, Outdoor Industry Association

FOCUS

The Office of Outdoor Recreation aims to leverage Maine’s assets and outdoor recreation heritage to grow the outdoor recreation economy and build Maine’s outdoor recreation brand as part of a coordinated effort with partners from the public and private sectors.

  • Engage in rural economic and destination development initiatives.
  • Promote the health benefits of outdoor recreation by encouraging active lifestyles through collaboration with healthcare industry leaders and local communities..
  • Serve as a central point of contact for the outdoor recreation industry in Maine, monitoring emerging trends and issues.
  • Facilitate coordination with Maine Office of Tourism, Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, and Department of Transportation in promoting outdoor recreation opportunities.  Coordinate market research on the impact of outdoor recreation to the state, including participation and consumer spending figures.

BACKGROUND

In 2017, a group of Maine outdoor product companies came together to establish Maine Outdoor Brands (MOB), a non-profit alliance whose goal it is to help drive the success of its member brands. In less than 18 months, MOB had grown to nearly 90 members whose combined annual sales exceed $2B. MOB worked with Maine’s Department of Economic & Community Development to encourage creation of the Office to advance Maine’s outdoor recreation economy. 

Maine is the 12th state to create an Office of Outdoor Recreation in September 2018. The Office of Outdoor Recreation became permanent on July 1, 2019.  Maine will be one of the next states to join the Confluence of States in 2019.

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