Maine’s “Vacationland” appeal isn’t limited to out-of-state visitors. Head out to the state’s parks, trailheads, or trout streams in late September, and you’re likely to see great gatherings of Mainers enjoying their favorite pursuits.
Building on that homegrown passion for the outdoors, the eighth biannual Great Maine Outdoor Weekend (GMOW) returns to the Pine Tree State September 25 through 27. First held in March 2012 as a way to make it easy for people to get outside and explore, exercise, and socialize, GMOW has returned every autumn and winter since.
“We aim to connect Mainers to the outdoor opportunities in their backyards and beyond,” says Kaitlyn Bernard, AMC’s Maine program associate and the leader of AMC’s GMOW team. “By bringing together events all across the state focused on one big weekend celebration, we’re elevating the work and missions of all participating outdoors organizations, AMC included.”
This September, that means more than 150 groups will host some 100 activities in every county of Maine. Scheduled events include paddling from Biscayne Pond to Pemaquid Pond in Bremen with the Damariscotta Lake Watershed Association, a live-animal presentation on hawk migration at Cape Neddick, and hiking and paddling in Bethel. A digital photography workshop at AMC’s Gorman Chairback Lodge is also on the schedule.
A project of the Maine Outdoor Coalition, GMOW relies on key partners—WinterKids, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, L.L. Bean, social media marketer Katie DeGrass, Campfire Magazine, Mesh Marketing, No Umbrella Media, and AMC—to continue increasing its reach. “We’ve grown consistently over our eight weekend events,” Bernard says. “Last fall, we had over 11,000 participants, which was more than the previous five events combined.”
Hosting an event is easy, and interested organizers can register their events online for free. “We strongly encourage family-friendly or entry level events that are low-cost or no-cost,” Bernard says. “Our goal is to reach audiences that might be new to an activity, a venue, or an outdoor opportunity in their neighborhood.” Can’t make September’s event? The next GMOW, likely to feature snowshoeing treks, cross-country skiing, and other winter activities, is scheduled for February 12 through 14, 2016.
Find a Great Maine Outdoor Weekend event near you, register to host an activity, and invite friends to join in.