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BikeMaine 2017 Is Sold Out!

March 22, 2017 Uncategorized Comments Off on BikeMaine 2017 Is Sold Out!




The “Pathway to the Peaks” Tour Through Western and Central Maine, Limited to 400 Riders, Has Reached Capacity but Volunteers Are Still Welcome

March 21, 2017 – (PORTLAND, Maine) – The fifth annual BikeMaine ride has sold out and is no longer accepting registrations from prospective riders, although people interested in volunteering in some capacity are still welcome to sign on, the event’s organizers announced today.

“BikeMaine is an opportunity to showcase the splendor and natural beauty of this region of Maine, along with the people and culture, and it’s become one of the most popular rides in the state,” BikeMaine Event Director Zach Schmesser said. “It’s a very special ride, and we’re proud to work alongside the people who live and work in the BikeMaine communities and our sponsors to create one of the best biking experiences that can be had anywhere in the world.”

BikeMaine is a fully-supported, seven-day cycling tour organized by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield as the presenting sponsor.

“Clearly this is a very special ride, showcasing why we are so fortunate to work and live here in Maine. We’re proud to again be the presenting sponsor of this event, which is a great combination of our focus on fitness and commitment to the communities we serve,” said Dan Corcoran, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine. “We wish all the riders the best and welcome all of those who will come from out of state to experience all the great things Maine’s communities and people have to offer.”

The Coalition is the statewide voice of cyclists and pedestrians. Formed in 1992, the Coalition continues to lead the effort to make Maine better for bicycling and walking by protecting the rights and safety of cyclists and pedestrians through education, advocacy, legislation and encouragement.

This year’s ride, dubbed, “Pathway to the Peaks,” will be held from September 9-16 and make stops in Skowhegan, Pittsfield, Kingfield, Rangeley, Hartford and Farmington. Participation is limited to 400 riders. Approximately two-thirds of BikeMaine riders are from out of state, with 20 percent reporting they have never been to Maine.

Schmesser said that even though registration for BikeMaine riders is full, people can still participate as a volunteer.

“Volunteers are every bit as important to BikeMaine as the riders, and we know our volunteers have just as much fun as the participants riding the route each day. They help with all aspects of the ride,” Schmesser said. “If you missed out on registering as a rider, you can still enjoy all that BikeMaine has to offer by volunteering.”

Prospective volunteers can sign up online at the BikeMaine website: ride.bikemaine.org.

Since 2013, BikeMaine has pumped nearly $1.7 million into the local economies of the regions where past events were located. Last year’s sold-out ride in Downeast Maine contributed $626,000 in direct economic impact, including $400,000 spent by riders during the ride, and $226,000 spent by the Coalition to produce the event, which includes most meals for the participants. Whenever possible, food is purchased from Maine farms, fishermen and lobstermen, highlighting Maine products and local services, Schmesser said.

The BikeMaine daily schedule is developed to allow riders to enjoy a carefully curated ride each morning, while leaving time to explore the hospitable and welcoming host communities each afternoon. Many local businesses, lodging establishments, bars, restaurants and gift shops in the past have reported record sales around BikeMaine’s visit to their communities.

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About BikeMaine

Founded in 2012, BikeMaine is a fully-supported, seven-day cycling tour organized by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. The tour takes a different course every year. Routes traverse uncrowded back roads, looping through small towns and scenic areas along the coast and inland. The event was founded to promote the state as a bicycling destination and to use cycling as an economic development tool for local communities. Proceeds from the tour go to support bicycle advocacy in Maine. To learn more, visit ride.bikemaine.org.

 

About the Bicycle Coalition of Maine

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is the statewide voice of cyclists and pedestrians. Since 1992, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has led the effort to make Maine better for bicycling and walking by protecting the rights and safety of cyclists and pedestrians through education, advocacy, legislation and encouragement. We support biking and walking for health, transportation, and recreation.  For more information: bikemaine.org.


Bicycle Coalition of Maine Unveils 2017 BikeMaine Route

February 1, 2017 Uncategorized Comments Off on Bicycle Coalition of Maine Unveils 2017 BikeMaine Route




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Bicycle Coalition of Maine

34 Preble St.

Portland, ME 04101

CONTACT: Frank Gallagher                           

Office: 207-623-4511 x103

Cell or text: 207-671-1768

frank@bikemaine.org

Bicycle Coalition of Maine Unveils 2017 BikeMaine Route

The 5th Annual BikeMaine Ride Will Stop In Six Western/Central Maine Communities

February 2, 2017 – (PORTLAND, Maine) – The Bicycle Coalition of Maine revealed today the route for its 5th annual BikeMaine ride, announcing that the 2017 ride will make stops in Skowhegan, Pittsfield, Kingfield, Rangeley, Hartford and Farmington.

“This year’s BikeMaine route will take riders to the base of some of Maine’s most iconic peaks,” BikeMaine Event Director Zach Schmesser said. “It is an opportunity to showcase the splendor and natural beauty of this region of Maine, along with the people and the culture. It’s going to be a very special ride.”

This year’s ride, dubbed, “Pathway to the Peaks,” will be held from September 9-16. Participation is limited to 400 riders. Riders will cover an average of 55 miles per day and a total of approximately 350 miles by the end of the week. To date 325 riders have signed up before knowing the exact location of this year’s route. Two-thirds of these riders are from out of state, with 20 percent of the riders reporting they have never been to Maine.

BikeMaine is a fully-supported, seven-day cycling tour organized by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield as the presenting sponsor. Since 2013, BikeMaine has pumped nearly $1.7 million into the local economies of the regions where past events were located. Last year’s sold-out ride in Downeast Maine contributed $626,000 in direct economic impact, including $400,000 spent by riders during the ride, and $226,000 spent by the Coalition to produce the event, which includes most meals for the participants. Whenever possible, food is purchased from Maine farms, fishermen and lobstermen, highlighting Maine products and local services, Schmesser said.

“The visit by BikeMaine in 2016 was a huge injection of excitement and business into our downtown. Several galleries reported their best-ever September with the help of the extra business of the 2-day visit,” Jeanne Peacock of the Eastport Area Chamber of Commerce said. “The restaurants reported excellent business and the politeness of the cyclists even as they waited in packed restaurants around town. Thank you BikeMaine!”

The BikeMaine daily schedule is developed to allow riders to enjoy a carefully curated ride each morning, while leaving time to explore the hospitable and welcoming host communities each afternoon. Many local businesses, lodging establishments, bars, restaurants and gift shops in the past have reported record sales around BikeMaine’s visit to their communities.

###

About BikeMaine

BikeMaine is a fully-supported, seven-day cycling tour organized by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. The tour takes a different course every year. Routes traverse uncrowded back roads, looping through small towns and scenic areas along the coast and inland. The event was created to promote the state as a bicycling destination and to use cycling as an economic development tool for local communities. Proceeds from the tour go to support bicycle advocacy in Maine. To learn more, visit ride.bikemaine.org.

About the Bicycle Coalition of Maine

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is the statewide voice of cyclists and pedestrians. Since 1992, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has led the effort to make Maine better for bicycling and walking by protecting the rights and safety of cyclists and pedestrians through education, advocacy, legislation and encouragement. We support biking and walking for health, transportation, and recreation. For more information: bikemaine.org.


Downeast area welcomes wave of cyclists (The Quoddy Tides)

September 23, 2016 Uncategorized Comments Off on Downeast area welcomes wave of cyclists (The Quoddy Tides)




By all accounts the BikeMaine visit Downeast was a stunning success. With over 400 cyclists, 75 BikeMaine staff and hundreds of volunteers involved, the winding back roads and small communities along Washington County’s coast were busy for the week of September 12.

Cyclists hailed from 37 states and several Canadian provinces, with some coming from as far away as San Diego and Seattle. The riders, with an average age of 59, rode for a full week and covered 375 miles during the BikeMaine event, sponsored by the Portland‑based nonprofit Bicycle Coalition of Maine. Optional side trips, such as to Reversing Falls, added another 44.5 miles. This year’s event was the fourth large‑scale ride organized by the group, according to event director Zach Schmesser. According to its website, the 5,000‑plus member coalition seeks “to make Maine better through biking and walking.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety on The Quoddy Tides Website


Bill Green’s ME: BikeMaine 2016 (WCSH6)

September 18, 2016 News Comments Off on Bill Green’s ME: BikeMaine 2016 (WCSH6)




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BikeMaine 2016: Pedaling through Washington County

September 16, 2016 News Comments Off on BikeMaine 2016: Pedaling through Washington County




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BikeMaine helps provide a boost to local businesses (WCSH6)

September 14, 2016 News Comments Off on BikeMaine helps provide a boost to local businesses (WCSH6)




EASTPORT, Maine (NEWS CENTER) —  Cyclists from all over the world are in Maine this week for Bike Maine. Wednesday, they’re in Eastport for a day of rest.

And for businesses along the way, it can be a big boost to their bottom line. Lots of bicyclists can mean lots of business.

Wednesday, all those cyclists have a day of rest after arriving in Eastport on Tuesday.

Throughout the week they’ve visited all types of local spots.. From farm stands and restaurants to art galleries. 400 cyclists from 47 states or countries are riding an average of 55 miles per day, providing a boost to businesses along the way.

And just a few days ago the city of Eastport also welcomed about 8,000 to 10,000 people for the annual pirate festival, which brought in its own influx of tourists. Michael Morse owns a local art gallery in Eastport.

He believes that right now the city is doing pretty well. But he does say the more people they can attract to Eastport, the better.

“Just to get somebody new here somebody that never may have been in Eastport before, to come and see what kind of a great place that we have here its gorgeous its pretty, and we just feel that the tourist industry could help us a lot more and we have been seeing a lot more of it” said Michael Morse a local business owner in Eastport.

“Anytime anyone comes into Eastport it effects a whole lot of businesses and 400 people that’s a great opportunity there you know more outdoors enthusiasts so we hope with this great weather that they’re out and about” said Chris Brown, a local business owner in Eastport.

Thursday, those cyclists are packing up and heading to Lubec.

Copyright 2016 WCSH


BikeMaine is halfway complete in Eastport (WCSH6)

September 14, 2016 Uncategorized Comments Off on BikeMaine is halfway complete in Eastport (WCSH6)




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BikeMaine visits Campobello, FDR’s 34-room “cottage” (WCSH6)

September 14, 2016 News Comments Off on BikeMaine visits Campobello, FDR’s 34-room “cottage” (WCSH6)




Click here to watch the video.

Campobello, N. B. (NEWS CENTER)Campobello Island was the summer home of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.  The 34-room cottage is the centerpiece of Roosevelt International Park.

The Roosevelts were an outdoor family and the house did not have many modern conveniences such as a telephone here.  Rather, they sailed, hiked, biked and played tennis during long, leisurely summers.

Historians think that Roosevelt’s philosophy about life, the environment and the less fortunate were shaped at Campobello.

Here he was stricken with infantile paralysis in 1921 and never walked unassisted again.  He made just three return visits to Campobello. All while President.

 


BikeMaine along the “Bold Coast” (WCSH6)

September 13, 2016 Uncategorized Comments Off on BikeMaine along the “Bold Coast” (WCSH6)




Click here to see the video.

CUTLER, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The Bold Coast Trail can be found on the state of Maine Public Reserve Lands in Cutler.

The trail runs about a mile-and-a-half from the state highway to the coast and then turns south along some breathtaking views.

After walking another four miles, the hikers arrive at a small campground with just five sights overlooking stunning views of the Atlantic.

Copyright 2016 WCSH


BikeMaine 2016: Bold Coast trails (WCSH6)

September 13, 2016 Uncategorized Comments Off on BikeMaine 2016: Bold Coast trails (WCSH6)




Click here to see the video.


BikeMaine riders camp out at Schoodic Institute (Ellsworth American)

September 13, 2016 Uncategorized Comments Off on BikeMaine riders camp out at Schoodic Institute (Ellsworth American)




WINTER HARBOR — Toting plates of lasagna, salad and garlic bread followed by apple crisp, 400 bicyclists settled onto the ball field at the Schoodic Institute Sept. 10 before burrowing into their colorful tents for the night.

The bicyclists and dozens of support staff are participating in the fourth annual BikeMaine ride sponsored by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is a nonprofit with more than 5,000 members. Its mission is to make the state a better place for bicyclists.

Mark Berry, president of the Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, said the healthy, outdoor recreation is a nice way to showcase what the area in general, and the Schoodic Peninsula in particular, has to offer.

“Downeast Maine is an extraordinary place with a uniquely valuable natural landscape and attractive communities,” he said.

BikeMaine is the largest seven-day ride in the Northeast and is modeled after successful rides in other parts of the country.

Click here to read the entire article on the Ellsworth American Website.


WCSH6 Covers BikeMaine (WCSH6)

September 12, 2016 Uncategorized Comments Off on WCSH6 Covers BikeMaine (WCSH6)




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BikeMaine 2016: North America’s Largest Whirlpool (WCSH6)

September 12, 2016 News Comments Off on BikeMaine 2016: North America’s Largest Whirlpool (WCSH6)




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BikeMaine promotes biking and tourism Down East (WCSH6)

September 12, 2016 Uncategorized Comments Off on BikeMaine promotes biking and tourism Down East (WCSH6)




Click here for the video.

Jonesport, ME (NEWS CENTER) — The Bicycle Coalition of Maine has brought its Bike Maine tour to Washington County’s Bold Coast.  400 bikers from 37 states or countries are riding an average of 55 miles a day.

The tour is designed to put the riders close to the communities through which they ride.

During the week, they will visit local galleries, farm stands and community halls where meals will be provided.  There is nightly entertainment and a chance to learn about the towns that are being visited.

Copyright 2016 WCSH


BikeMaine Scenic Spin (Downeast Magazine Feature)

August 25, 2016 Uncategorized Comments Off on BikeMaine Scenic Spin (Downeast Magazine Feature)




Scenic Spin


BikeMaine grant one of several Gardiner officials are set to accept Wednesday (Kennebec Journal)

August 22, 2016 Uncategorized Comments Off on BikeMaine grant one of several Gardiner officials are set to accept Wednesday (Kennebec Journal)




Two years ago, Gardiner hosted a dinner for BikeMaine, and now the nonprofit that held the event is repaying the hospitality.

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine has announced it’s making a $12,300 challenge grant to the city to support its bicycle and pedestrian projects, which includes extension of the Cobbossee Trail.

“We started the BikeMaine event three years ago, and the goal of the ride has always been to increase the profile of bicycling and bike tourism,” Nancy Grant, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, said Monday. “We had a goal to raise enough money to support biking and walking projects in the host communities.”

Grant said at the end of last year’s event the organization had raised enough money to invite past host communities to propose projects for funding. It selected Gardiner’s trail project.

“We’re asking that the community use our grant to motivate the people in the community to support the project, so we have $12,300 and we’re giving it to Gardiner as they match it,” Grant said.

Click here to read the original article on CentralMaine.com

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

jlowell@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @JLowellKJ


2016 – Day 2 – Jonesport to Machias

July 14, 2016 Blog Comments Off on 2016 – Day 2 – Jonesport to Machias




Jonesport

The earliest inhabitants of Jonesport were Native Americans, probably a part of the Passamaquoddy Tribe. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1789, granted land totaling 487,160 acres to John C. Jones, reportedly in payment for a sloop of his which was lost in the siege of the British at Castine. The grant, Plantation Number 22, comprised the districts of Bucks Harbor, Machiasport, Jonesboro, Jonesport, and Roque Bluffs, was incorporated as a Township in 1809.

Today, the town hosts a U.S. Coast Guard station, headquartered at the entrance to the Jonesport-Beals Bridge.  The station was established in 1967. Facilities include a two-story brick building equipped with a third story observation tower, a two-slip boathouse, and a 120-ft pier. Tenant units include the Coast Guard Cutter Moray and Maine Marine Patrol. Coast Guard Station Jonesport’s area of responsibility runs from Long Point (20 miles east of Jonesport) east to Petit Manan Island. It encompasses all navigable waters and offshore islands.

Born as a seafaring community, Jonesport still retains much of its original character as families today continue the maritime traditions of their ancestors.

Day 2: Jonesport to Machias: The Heart of Downeast Maine

Miles: 56.2

Elevation Gain: 2418 feet

We begin the day by riding to Beals and Great Wass Islands, two unique coastal communities at the center of the Downeast lobstering industry. Located at the base of the Jonesport/Beals bridge is the Nellie Chapin Marker. This marker memorializes the historic attempt by a group of missionaries from Jonesport who, under the leadership of George Jones Adams, founder of the Church of the Messiah, sailed on the Nellie Chapin to the town of Jaffa in Palestine. Their stated purpose was to await the second coming of Christ and reclaim the Holy Land, but they also intended to create a profitable colony. The colony was a disaster, beset by disease and drought, and the missionaries scattered far and wide, with only a couple of them returning to Jonesport.

IMG_0187Beals Island is home to Bayview Takeout, a seasonal lobster shack that received the 2016 USA Today and 10 Best Readers’ Choice Award for Best Lobster Roll in Maine and Massachusetts. Beals Island connects by bridge to Great Wass Island, home to the Great Wass Island Preserve, a 1,540-acre tract with 4.5 miles of trails winding through moss-floored forests, traversing open ledges, and skirting the shoreline with spectacular views of the islands of Eastern Bay.

Back on the mainland, we travel northeast along beautiful Chandler Bay then inland to our first rest stop at Sandy River Beach.

IMG_20160614_164740433From here we head southeast to remote Roque Bluffs State Park, a 274-acre park offering miles of hiking trails, cliffs and rocky shores to explore, a picnic area, and pebbled beach perfect for swimming, beach combing, and paddling. You can take a dip in chilly Englishman Bay along a half-mile crescent beach or walk across the road to Simpson Pond for a warmer freshwater swim.

From Roque Bluffs we head north towards Machiasport for lunch at the Machiasport Fire Station, and then south on the Bucks Harbor peninsula to Jasper Beach. Jasper Beach will satisfy the inner geologist in each of us with its half-mile crescent beach comprised of millions of reddish brown rocks worn smooth by the tide. While the rocks may look like jasper, most of them are actually pebbles of fine-grained volcanic rock called rhyolite. The rocks form several terraces, best viewed at low tide. The terraces, called storm berms, are created by the fluctuating water levels that come with rough weather. Low tide also reveals not a smoothly curved shoreline but a series of indentations—called cusps—that give the waterline’s profile a scalloped look. When the tidewaters move in and out, the smooth-worn rocks moving against each other make eerie sounds.

IMG_0192A return trip back up the peninsula brings us again to Machiasport to Fort O’Brien. Fort O’Brien was named for Jeremiah O’Brien, who led a group of colonists in capturing a small British ship during the Battle of Machias, the first naval battle of the American Revolution, on June 11-12, 1775. After this event, a number of fortifications were erected on the Machias River, including a four-gun battery at this point. Fort O’Brien was destroyed when the British returned in force in 1777, sparking a second battle. The fort was rebuilt, and in the War of 1812, the British returned to Machias, again destroyed Fort O’Brien and burned its barracks. A five-gun battery was installed at the site in 1863, during the American Civil War, but saw no action. Although the fort’s military equipment has been removed, a Civil War-era 12-pound “Napoleon” cannon now stands on site. The fort was deeded to the state by the federal government in 1923.

Further up the road is the Nathan Gates House, built in 1810 and now home to the Machiasport Historical Society. The museum contains an extensive collection of old photographs, period furniture, housewares and other memorabilia. The Marine Room highlights the area’s seafaring and shipbuilding past. A model schoolroom and post office and a large collection of carpentry tools occupy the adjacent Cooper House, a utilitarian building constructed in 1850.

We follow the river north to Machias, where we camp along the banks of East Machias River.

 


Bold Coast sees chance to make region bicycle tourism destination (Bangor Daily News)

June 23, 2016 Uncategorized Comments Off on Bold Coast sees chance to make region bicycle tourism destination (Bangor Daily News)




Click here to read the original article in the Bangor Daily News

Posted June 23, 2016, at 3:42 p.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — Bicycling means business.

That was the theme of a meeting held June 15 to plan for the development, promotion and management of long-term bicycle tourism opportunities in the Bold Coast region.

Hosted by the Washington County Council of Governments, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and DownEast & Acadia Regional Tourism, the meeting included 17 participants representing Washington County communities and organizations. The group plans to build on the fact that BikeMaine 2016 will bring 400 riders and 75 support personnel to the Bold Coast Sept. 10-17. The event will allow businesses and community organizations in the area to identify ways to serve bicycle tourists in the future.

“We are being offered this opportunity that is unique,” said Crystal Hitchings, regional planner and grant administrator for the Washington County Council of Governments and DownEast & Acadia Regional Tourism. “If we are successful, it will be a model for the bicycle coalition to use throughout the state.”

BikeMaine was started in 2013 by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, a nonprofit founded in 1992 to make Maine a better place for bicycling and walking. Each year, the event organizers choose a course somewhere in Maine for the one-week tour, traditionally starting the Saturday after Labor Day.

The Bold Coast was chosen as the route for 2016. Riders will pedal from the Schoodic Institute in Acadia National Park to Eastport and Lubec and back, riding on back roads that take them off the highway and into local communities.

BikeMaine riders will average 55 miles per day and stay overnight either at campsites or in local hotels and inns in the host communities of Winter Harbor, Jonesport, Machias, Eastport, Lubec and Milbridge. These communities also will offer activities and entertainment that showcases their local areas.

“Our region is really pretty special and recognized for being special,” Hitchings said.

BikeMaine Event Coordinator Zach Schmesser said 125 people are on the waiting list for this year’s tour, which is capped at 400 riders.

“We sold out in early March which, I think, is a testament to the region we’re going to,” he said.

BikeMaine brings money into the communities along its routes. In 2015, BikeMaine estimates that a total of $448,000 was pumped into the local economy. The more than 350 BikeMaine cyclists spent an average of $1,077 per person, Schmesser said. More was spent by organizers on food and supplies.

Kim True, BikeMaine senior advisor, said there’s good reason to cater to bicyclists long after the event.

The nation’s approximately 26.1 million bicyclists — which includes about 2.5 million in New England — tend to be “a more affluent, more educated group” with more disposable income. Bicycle tourists spend 29 percent more per day than tourists coming via other modes of transportation, she said.

For example, bicyclists can’t carry a lot of food with them, so they tend to buy more.

“They eat a lot more than other people because their food is their fuel,” True said, adding that they move at a slower pace than tourists in motor vehicles and tend to stay in one place longer.

Overall, bicycle tourism adds an estimated $66 million to Maine’s economy, she said. Washington County has the opportunity to get more of that pie.

Meeting participants discussed ways to do that. Ideas included offering training for businesses on how to be more bicycle friendly, making tourist maps that show the locations of services for bicyclists or bicycle friendly businesses and getting the word out about the amenities that exist in the area. This means not only getting the word out to prospective tourists, but also to other people in the area.

True also encouraged everyone to take photos of cyclists during the event and post them afterward on their websites and social media. This way, bicyclists who see the photos will know other cyclists already have been there and will see it as a bike-friendly destination.

“Nothing sells cyclists [like] seeing pictures of bicycles in your area,” she said.


Thirty-Seven States & Provinces Represented

June 20, 2016 Blog Comments Off on Thirty-Seven States & Provinces Represented




Less than 3 months until we welcome our 400 BikeMaine 2016 riders hailing from 37 different states/provinces! Here is the list of where folks are coming from:

AK
AZ
BC – CAN
CA
CO
CT
DC
FL
IA
IN
IL
KY
KS
MA

MD
ME
MI
MN
NB – CAN
NC
NH
NJ
NM
NS – CAN
NY
OH
OR
PA
QC – CAN
RI
SD
TN
TX
VA
VT
WA
WI
WY


Groups hope to boost Down East tourism with Bold Coast marketing plan (Bangor Daily News)

May 10, 2016 News, Uncategorized Comments Off on Groups hope to boost Down East tourism with Bold Coast marketing plan (Bangor Daily News)




Click here to read the original article in the Bangor Daily News

MILBRIDGE, Maine — Officials are hoping a new marketing plan will increase tourism in the Down East area.

“I’m definitely hoping it will raise awareness of the region’s offerings for local, in-state, and out-of-state visitors,” said Crystal Hitchings, regional planner and grant administrator for the Washington County Council of Governments and DownEast & Acadia Regional Tourism, which are working together to market the Bold Coast Scenic Byway.

The byway starts in Milbridge and follows Route 1 to Columbia Falls and takes Route 187 to Jonesport. Then, it goes back onto Route 1 to East Machias, where it takes Route 191 to Cutler to Route 189 to Lubec. It also includes a loop that goes from 189 back to Route 1 and then onto Route 190 to Eastport.

“Welcome to the Bold Coast of Maine, where the journey is the destination,” reads the new Bold Coast Scenic Byway website, created as part of the marketing plan. The plan also resulted in the creation of brochures for the area.

“In this far-flung corner of eastern Maine, salt air and a slowed pace rejuvenate the soul. People live in rhythm with the shifting of the tides, the migration of the fish, the rising of the sun, the turning of the leaf, and the warming of the soil,” continues the website. “Visitors are invited to experience the gentle pull of this magical landscape, to create memories with their local hosts and newfound friends, to connect with the simple joys and strengthening challenges of living in the Bold Coast region.”

The two organizations worked on the marketing plan for about three or four years and finished it last spring, Hitchings said. At the same time, the groups also completed an action plan and capital improvement plan, which identify items such as a needed visitor center in Milbridge, considered to be a “gateway” community to the Bold Coast. They also are working with officials in Cherryfield, also considered a gateway community, to develop a visitor center and railroad museum.

Hitchings said it is difficult to tell whether the completion of the marketing plan has had any economic impact over the past year.

“We don’t have any knowledge of past measures [to compare],” she said. “What it has done is create quite a bit of awareness.”

However, the plans and planning process did result in Bike Maine’s decision to hold this year’s event in the Bold Coast region, Hitchings said. During this event, held Sept. 10-17, about 400 cyclists will ride about 350 miles along the Bold Coast Scenic Byway, according to the Bike Maine 2016 website. Riders will start and finish at the Schoodic Institute in Winter Harbor and will make stops in Jonesport, Machias, Eastport, Lubec and Milbridge. This will bring a big economic boost to the area, she said.

Hitchings also wants the marketing plan to boost the reputation of the Down East area.

“Washington County is rich in cultural and natural assets, and although we have our issues, we are far more than only our challenges,” she said.

 


2017 Ride Details

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Route Archive

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Stories from the road