“Debunking” the Myth of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism

There is a buzz radiating in the state of Maine around workforce development and improving career opportunities.   How can our state create more jobs and maintain sustainable industries to attract young adults and recent college graduates to live and work in Maine?  The outdoor recreation industry is fulfilling many of these requests.   For example, Maine is just the 12th state to create a government position, the Office of Outdoor Recreation.  According the Outdoor Industry Association, Maine’s “outdoor recreation economy generates $8.2 billion in consumer spending, 76,000 jobs, $2.2 billion in wages and salaries, and $548 million in state and local tax revenue”.  Major companies like Sugarloaf, Three Rivers Whitewater, and the New England Outdoor Center are expanding from seasonal to year-round jobs, full of benefits.  Instead of bouncing around between summer and winter jobs, you can now find employment full time.  For many, these jobs offer stability, yet also achieve the coveted “work/life balance” that is the pinnacle of achievement for many students.  It’s time to “debunk” the myth that careers in outdoor recreation and tourism are solely seasonal in nature (pun intended).

As a student at UMaine, you are probably aware of the amazing outdoor recreational opportunities available.  We have four seasons of activities fit for all interests and ages from hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, and boating, to name a few.  New companies are capitalizing on our growing industry and have decided to make Maine their home base for operations.  Innovative companies such as Flowfold (started by three UMaine graduates) are using recycled lightweight materials to make outdoor equipment.  Also, Sterling Rope, based in Biddeford, is a leader in supplying rock climbing rope all over the world.  Another example is American Roots, reviving the textile trade by creating innovative fleece products.  For more examples, check out Maine Outdoor Brands for a list of Maine based companies.

To help bridge the gap between college graduation and entry into the outdoor recreation industry, we are hosting over 20 employers who represent different sectors of the industry at Orono’s campus on April 25th from 4:00-7:00 pm.  Organized to offer career advice and recruit job seekers, it is also a chance to understand and learn about the expanded opportunities offered in the outdoor recreation field.  It is not only for Parks, Recreation, and Tourism majors anymore.  Companies have needs in Business, Marketing, Journalism, Communications, Engineering, New Media, Accounting, and Forestry, to name a few.  Attend the event to learn the stories of how these employers got their start and network to meet new friendly faces.  Careers In Outdoor Recreation and Tourism will be held on the lawn area outside of the Maine Bound Adventure Center and cookout food will be provided by Three Rivers Whitewater.  Giveaways and prizes will be available as well.

Maine’s state slogan is vacationland; who wouldn’t want to work in a place everyone else only gets to visit?

Lisa Carter
Career Counselor