The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC)’s Maine Woods Initiative is a community partnership combining land conservation, new sources of outdoor recreation, natural resource protection, sustainable forestry, and economic development in rural Maine. Three NMTC investments between 2005 and 2017 helped accelerate the project to the benefit of the entire Appalachian region.
The first two investments came from CEI Capital Management. In 2004, CEI provided $17 million in financing to jumpstart AMC’s brand new recreational tourism/working forest business. Designed with extensive community input, the project involved the acquisition of 37,000 acres of woodland with 25,000 set aside for sustainable harvest for commercial timber uses. All of the lands were used to support ecotourism in the region.
In 2009, CEI helped AMC acquire two additional properties totaling 29,500 acres of working forest in Piscataquis County and the Medawisla Wilderness Lodge and Cabins. The project also provided funds for the improvement of AMC’s Gorman-Chairback recreational camps.
A third NMTC investment from Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation (MHIC) and Chase New Markets Corporation supported the development and maintenance of trails and infrastructure including land and acquisition of equipment and the construction of a foot cabin and lodge complex. Financing also supported the reconstruction of the Medawisla Sporting Camp, twelve new and refurbished trails totaling 43.4 miles, trout habitat restoration in seven locations, and six infrastructure upgrades including new and improved bridges and roads.
In a landscape nearly one and a half times the size of Acadia National Park, with a strong tradition of jobs tied to forest products and year-round outdoor recreation, the Maine Woods Initiative is raising the profile of the region as a premier, nature-based tourism destination.