Appalachian Mountain Club Project Contributes $22 Million to Maine Economy

March 17, 2016

Most of economic impact, job creation, benefits Piscataquis County

March 17, 2016

GREENVILLE, Maine- The Appalachian Mountain Club’s (AMC’s) spending on activities such as land conservation, sustainable forestry, construction, trails, programs, and salaries in the Moosehead/100-Mile Wilderness region has contributed nearly $16 million to the Piscataquis County economy and $22 million to the Maine economy since its Maine Woods Initiative (MWI) was launched in 2003, according to a new economic impact report.

In all, AMC has spent more than $44 million on MWI capital investments and operating spending since its initial conservation purchase of the Katahdin Iron Works (KIW) tract in 2003.

The study, “AMC’s Contributions to the Maine Economy,” was prepared by David Vail, Adams-Catlin Professor of Economics Emeritus at Bowdoin College. The study analyzed AMC’s activities and spending in the region and the spending of its overnight guests and program participants.

The Maine Woods Initiative directly and indirectly created 56 full-time equivalent jobs in Piscataquis County and 71 jobs statewide in 2014. Conservatively, it generated some employment for at least 150 people, or three percent of Piscataquis County’s private sector workforce. AMC directly employs 26 full- time equivalent staff in the region.

Aside from lodging and program revenues collected by AMC, its Maine Wilderness Lodges guests spent nearly $157,000 with local businesses in 2014 on lodging, restaurant meals, guide services, and other purchases. AMC guests have spent more than $1.1 million in local communities since AMC reopened Little Lyford Lodge and Cabins in 2004.

By hiring local contractors and purchasing local building supplies wherever possible, 60 percent of AMC’s capital investment in lodge improvements has stayed within Piscataquis Country, according to the report.

AMC has permanently protected 70,000 acres of land in the region, open to the public for recreation and managed as ecological reserves, or for sustainable forestry. It has created a 120-mile trail network and operates Little Lyford Lodge and Cabins and Gorman Chairback Lodge and Cabins as destinations for hiking, paddling, fly fishing, and skiing.

According to the report, operational spending has been on a steady upward path since 2005, exceeding $1 million in 2010 and $1.5 million in 2014. Expenditures are certain to grow still further with the re-opening of Medawisla Lodge and Cabins and expanded trails and programming in the Roach Ponds area.

AMC’s Maine Woods Initiative is an innovative approach to land conservation that combines outdoor recreation, resource protection, sustainable forestry, and community partnerships. It seeks to address the ecological and economic needs of the Maine Woods by supporting forest products jobs and traditional recreation, creating new multi-day recreational opportunities for visitors and attracting new nature-based tourism to the region.

Writing in the introduction of the report, AMC Senior Vice President Walter Graff, who leads MWI, says, “…[W]e are proud of what we have accomplished but also recognize that our vision is long-term. True success will be measured over the long term by the generations of visitors and citizens of the region benefitting from a closer connection to the outdoors resulting in a healthier and more economically diverse community.”

Citing the importance of the Moosehead/100-Mile Wilderness region as “a prime nature-based tourism destination,” Graff wrote, “AMC will use the findings of this report to better leverage local community and economic impacts, but it may be useful to others who seek to evaluate whether the MWI is or could be a model for conservation and community development in other rural areas. We welcome inquiries and encourage discussion along these lines.”

The full report can be found at

The study was funded by the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, which also provided funding for the expansion of the local recreational trail network.

More information on AMC’s Maine Woods Initiative is available at

Founded in 1876, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) promotes the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and trails of America’s Northeast. AMC helps people of all ages and abilities to explore and develop a deep appreciation of the natural world. With chapters from Maine to Washington, D.C., guidebooks and maps, and unique lodges and huts, AMC helps people get outdoors on their own, with family and friends, and through activities close to home and beyond. AMC invites the public to support its conservation advocacy and research, youth programming, and care of 1,800 miles of trails. More information is available at

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Rob Burbank

Director of Media and Public Affairs
(603) 466-8155