Rural tourism can create quality careers in northern Maine

as seen in the Bangor Daily News on July 30, 2015

By: Keith Bisson, David Vail and Mike Wilson
Patricia Callahan’s July 7 essay, “Tourism jobs can’t replace high-wage manufacturing jobs,” on her BDN blog highlights an inescapable rural Maine reality. No one sector can offset the thousands of forest-industry jobs that have eroded away in recent decades, even as productivity has increased. That’s especially true for papermaking, whose highly paid jobs once meant prosperity for much of rural Maine.

Mike Wilson with other colleagues shared his experience of a 350-mile canoe expedition through Maine’s North Woods to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Henry David Thoreau’s “The Maine Woods” at the Thoreau Society’s annual gathering: Thoreau’s Sense of Place. Mike was joined by Mel Allen, Editor of Yankee Magazine, and Little Outdoor Giants Photography, Lucas St. Clair and John Kucich.

Welcome ME—an online customer service training video—is helping tourism workers sharpen their customer service skills, an essential element of strengthening the tourism sector so it can offer improved wages, benefits and job stability for employees.

Maine Woods Discovery received the “Originality Award” at the Maine Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Mike Wilson, senior program director for the Northern Forest Center, coordinates Maine Woods Discovery and had the vision for the Thoreau-Wabanaki Tour to celebrate the 150th anniversary of publication of Henry David Thoreau’s Maine Woods. Maine Guides, members of the Penobscot Nation, scholars, and others launched the 250-mile canoe trip to retrace the last of three adventures immortalized in Henry David Thoreau’s iconic book The Maine Woods. The trip was designed to draw national and regional media attention as the paddlers experienced a Maine Woods landscape that remains remarkably unchanged from what Thoreau and his Native Penobscot guide Joe Polis saw 150 years previously.