Maine Outdoor Brands News

New National Report Details Outdoor Recreation’s Economic Impact in Maine 

By September 23, 2019 No Comments

Maine ranks third across the country in the value outdoor recreation adds to statewide GDP

PORTLAND, Maine (September 23, 2019) – For the first time ever, the Department of Commerce ‘s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released initial statistics showing the role that outdoor recreation plays in each state’s economy. According to the data, Maine’s outdoor recreation industry makes up a larger percentage of the state’s economy than in almost any other state – ranking third only behind Hawaii and Montana.

Additional highlights show that:

  • Outdoor recreation makes up 4.8% of Maine’s economy – more than double the national average.
  • Outdoor recreation supports more than 40 thousand jobs in Maine, accounting for 6.4% of employment.
  • Manufacturing of outdoor recreation goods contributed $328 million dollars to Maine’s economy in 2017, an increase of 47% in the last five years.
  • In terms of economic output, boating and fishing were the largest conventional outdoor recreation activities in Maine.

“Outdoor recreation is vital to Maine’s economy – from outdoor guides, to retail, to the manufacturing of outdoor products and apparel,” said Jenny Kordick, Executive Director of Maine Outdoor Brands. “With the right support, promotion and investment, outdoor recreation has the opportunity to play an even bigger role in attracting businesses and creating jobs across the state.”

The outdoor recreation data was compiled from existing statistics on the state and national economy and includes the economic impact of conventional outdoor activities, defined as hiking, skiing and snowboarding, hiking, ATV riding, hunting and fishing. It also covers other parts of the economy like amusement parks, gardening, golfing and tennis, and outdoor festivals, as well as construction, shopping and lodging that support the above activities.

“It’s great to see the state of Maine recognized for something that we at L.L.Bean have known for more than 100 years,” said Shawn Gorman, L.L.Bean’s Executive Chairman and great-grandson of L.L. Bean. “Maine is unmatched in terms of its outdoor beauty, four-season recreation and countless natural resources. As a company, we’re proud to be part of Maine’s growing outdoor recreation economy and excited to see more people coming to Maine for their outdoor adventures.”

Seventy percent of Maine residents participate in outdoor recreation activities each year which is at higher rates than both national and regional averages. Jobs in the outdoor sector can also attract active and healthy workers to help address Maine’s aging workforce.

“Old Town was founded over 120 years ago here in Maine and that’s by no mistake,” said Ryan Lilly, Brand Manager of Old Town Canoes. “Maine features some of the most storied waterways and has attracted paddlers and sportsman alike for decades. We are proud to manufacture our watercrafts in Maine, and we’re doubly proud to call Maine home, employing 150 people.”

Maine recently became the 12th state to establish an Office of Outdoor Recreation. MOB worked with Maine’s Department of Economic & Community Development to encourage creation of the office to advance Maine’s outdoor recreation economy. 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 later this year.

“Whether it’s on the Appalachian Trail or adventuring to the farthest reaches of the globe, when people carry Hyperlite Mountain Gear backpacks and shelters, outdoor athletes are carrying with them a little piece of Maine,” said Mike St. Pierre, CEO of Hyperlite Mountain Gear. “As part of the Pepperell Mill revitalization in Biddeford, we have seen firsthand the direct and indirect benefits the outdoor industry delivers to our state. In Biddeford, we are creating manufacturing jobs and providing on-the-job training for a new generation of skilled textile workers. Outdoor recreation not only delivers real, direct economic value to our state, but the success of companies like Hyperlite Mountain Gear also fuels the growth of vibrant economic hubs and creative centers across Maine.”

“Founded in 2014, Good To-Go has become an industry leader for those looking for a gourmet meal while on the go,” said David Koorits, founder of Good To-Go. “While all of our meals are ‘Proudly Made in Maine,’ they have been enjoyed across the world – from car camping at Hermit Island to the high camps of Everest. We are proud to deliver a quality product, and we are committed to the people and places in the great state of Maine!”

About Maine Outdoor Brands

Formed two years ago, Maine Outdoor Brands (MOB) works to unite and provide a voice for Maine’s outdoor industry in order to strengthen Maine’s outdoor recreation brand and economy. MOB is committed to seeing Maine-based outdoor product, service, and retail brands thrive. The organization was formed by leaders from Blaze Partners, Good To-Go, Flowfold, Trailspace and Stabil (now owned by Implus) in 2017. To learn more and see brands involved visit maineoutdoorbrands.com.