Carolann and Mike at ME ConferenceMike Wilson, the Northern Forest Center’s senior program director, joined Maine’s Destination Development Specialist and the Maine Office of Outdoor Recreation during the Maine Governor’s Conference on Tourism, April 9, to highlight opportunities for recreation-based rural destination development to build economic and community vitality in the Maine Woods. More than 300 people turned out for the annual conference in Augusta — where Wilson presented two workshops — to learn about future trends and opportunities for local businesses, organizations, and rural communities.

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If you need an excuse to ride bikes and visit local shops in seven beautiful towns this year, we have one for you: it’s the Tour de Borderlands, a unique new way to experience the Northern Forest.

The Borderlands is a collection of seven mountain biking organizations in northern Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, and just over the border in Quebec. These groups have been collaborating for two years to strengthen their trail networks and build a regional identity. Officially launched this spring, the Borderlands initiative aims to attract more people to the Northern Forest and encourage locals to take up mountain biking too.

Mike Maine WoodsEffective rural destination development could double the economic impact of tourism in the Maine Woods region to $5.6 billion by 2030, according to reports released by the Maine Woods Consortium.

The reports analyze key travel and tourism trends that will influence future visitation to the region and evaluate the potential economic and social impacts of alternative Rural Destination Development strategies. The reports recommend a strategy built on “high touch – high service” experiences and high potential emerging markets as the best approach to achieve this goal.

Mountain bike areas spanning 2 countries, 3 states and 7 locations have joined together as The Borderlands to promote the Northeast’s most exciting and diverse mountain biking terrain. IMG 0427They offer with eye-popping scenery and laid-back host communities that offer plenty of craft breweries, farm stands, good food and local flavor.

The seven mountain bike organizations in and around northern New Hampshire are committed to creating and promoting high-quality riding experiences for both residents and visitors.