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.

As of July, 138 students and wood products company workers have earned certification for their proficiency on various woodworking machines in connection with the Center’s Skilled Workforce Initiative. As the students and employees get certified on different woodworking operations, he or she earns stamps in a Woodwork Passport. The passport serves as a permanent and portable record of their skills that they can continue building throughout their career.

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.

The U.S. Forest Service awarded the Town of Milan $400,000 to help create the first phase of the Milan Community Forest, which will encompass 1,342 acres. The Community Forest is planned to provide the local community with outdoor recreation and education opportunities.