Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

BY DAVID VAIL

Sunday, May 6, 2007

BY DAVID VAIL

As they compete for tourists, rural Maine's scattered and relatively remote attractions have difficulty holding their own against heavily promoted neighbors that are handy to big metropolitan populations, such as the Champlain Valley and the Adirondacks' Lake Placid. Since affluent travelers can just as well choose Colorado's Rockies or Peru's Andes, rural Maine really has its work cut out for it.

[url=http://morningsentinel.mainetoday.com/view/columns/3871588.html]SOURCE[/...

Mark T. Cenci
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

Inconceivable folly.

The people who lost a hundred of millions of dollars at DHS are going to micromanage a thriving tourist destination.

The people who managed the purchase and implementation of a failed computer system costing us millions suddenly know how to salvage the rural economy.

I know they closed the mental hospitals, but did they give all the patients jobs at colleges and NGO's?

woodcanoe
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

They went to work for the State!

Mark T. Cenci
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

Think about it. Of all the financial advice shows you've ever seen, and of all the magazine and newspaper articles about finance, have you ever seen them solicit investment advice from college economics professors? Why do you suppose that is?

When Mr. Vail demonstrates to me he can manage as much as a lemonade stand profitably, I will consider his advice about spending millions and millions and millions of tax dollars on a government directed business venture.

Moving Forward
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

As one person who works in/with/for Maine's tourism industry, I believe some of Mr. Vail's ideas would provide some great economic opportunities if the involved communities truly want them. Change isn't easy, but it also doesn't have to mean Moosehead Lake must become another Disney resort.

However, I believe one important question must first be answered. What areas in Maine are truly ready to work for and embrace more visiting tourists, and the "baggage" that travels with them?

Naran
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

As someone who lives in one of Maine's prime tourist areas, the towns in question should think long and hard about [u]all[/u] the ramifications. It's kind of like a homeowner who's struggling to pay the bills, and contemplates adding an apartment to his house for income.

He wants the money, but does he really want the tenants, and all it would mean in terms of the potentially immense changes to his style of living?

Moving Forward
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

Very true, Naran. If further developed, tourism really needs to be a 2-way street.

Mike Lange
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

Has anyone been on the roads heading to Greenville or Millinocket from central Maine? They're bad enough to jar the fillings out of your teeth.

BlueJay
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

[quote="Luv2Travel"]As one person who works in/with/for Maine's tourism industry,. . . .
Change isn't easy, but it also doesn't have to mean [u]Moosehead Lake must become another Disney resort.[/u]quote]

Huh? Tell me if I'm taking this remark the wrong way, but it sure doesn't sound as if you are at all well-informed on the plan now under consideration by LURC. Hardly a "Disney resort" in the making with 400,000 acres put in conservation. If you work for Maine's tourism industry comments such as this are hardly conducive to promoting support for positive growth. :?

Moving Forward
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

You lost me, BlueJay. I'm all for positive growth in Maine!

BlueJay
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

I don't understand the "Disney resort" crack. Doesn't make sense in light of your support of positive growth.

Mike Lange
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

Moosehead Lake will never become a Six Flags, Six-Gun City or Disney World. The locals won't let it happen, and thank God for them. Like every other small town in Maine, Greenville has its movers and shakers whose opinion is respected.

In fact, Greenville is one of only two communities in Maine that couldn't even support a McDonald's restaurant - I think Van Buren was the other one. But they still have a dozen good, affordable restaurants offering everything from expensive cuisine to pub grub.

But the roads are a serious issue. No one wants to travel 100 miles over washboards to get anywhere in Maine today.

Only us natives or transplants are willing to grin and bear it. If I was going into a business today, I'd pick a tire store or front-end alignment shop.

Moving Forward
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

I don't personally believe a Disney World kind of resort would fit here in Maine. However, a tasteful resort that would focus on the great natural resources would be wonderful. In other words, one example, the Washington County and/or Moosehead Lake area could do much better without having to build roller coasters and water parks.

But that's only possible if the residents are willing to embrace tourism and the baggage involved. If/When a region or community is truly ready to embrace all aspects of tourism growth, then we could really make some good things happen for those areas.

BlueJay
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

I think you're backpeddlin'.

Moving Forward
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

BlueJay, although I do have to go offline for a bit, I'd like to discuss this in more detail. Why do you think I'm backpeddlin'? I can't read minds, thank god, so a little more info would be helpful. I'll be back online this evening, as I need to go finish some outside yard duties.

Editor
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

I'm getting sick and tired of urban southern Mainers and their bright ideas about what rural Maine really needs.

skf

BlueJay
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

[quote="Mike Lange"]In fact, Greenville is one of only two communities in Maine that [u]couldn't [/u]even support a McDonald's restaurant - I think Van Buren was the other one. But they still have a dozen good, affordable restaurants offering everything from expensive cuisine to pub grub.quote].

:lol: :D Quite right, Mike, but I think "wouldn't" support McDonalds is more accurate. Everyone steadfastly refused to go there, except for a few tourists, until the place closed after a year or so. The locally owned restaurants are so much better.

pmh
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

I believe the one in The Valley you're refering to was in Madawaska. As with Greenville, there are various restaurants there doing fine as well as some good Canadian eateries right across the bridge in Clair, N.B.

I would happen to feel not supporting a McDonald's is a positive thing.

BlueJay
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

Quite right, pmh. Especially when one can have ployes with their meal! Yum! :lol:

Moving Forward
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

Yes indeed, pmh. It would be nice if we could get rid of the golden arches all together.

Bruce Libby
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

Ok,
What does rural Maine need?
What does rural Maine want?

As for tourism in certain areas. I think one has to have things that appeal
in ways that can be utilized that enhance the economy and populace dependent
on them without doing damage to either!
And since us southern Mainers are tiring when we have any ideas about the other Maine
and what it needs, it makes the drive alot easier to see a pine tree in N.H.
w/out sales tax, that looks jusy like a pinetree outside of Jackman.

Moving Forward
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

Bruce, I sincerely believe your first two questions hit the nail on the head. It's up to rural Maine to decide what's needed, and then a plan could be put into place to try and make-it-happen. However, this situation also applies to non-rural Maine as well - but with a twist. Although Naran might not agree, I have spoken with countless businesses in Southern Maine that want even more tourists/visitors than what they're currently receiving. Needless to say, the current infrastructure (e.g., Route 1) can only handle so many cars at one time.

Nothing's perfect in our tourism industry right now, but the solutions are only going to come if/when the local "locals" make some tough decisions which will ultimately involve both tax dollars and other personal investments. There seems to be a lot of future potential in Maine, but it's certainly going to involve some growing pains.

Mark T. Cenci
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

[quote="Luv2Travel"]Yes indeed, pmh. It would be nice if we could get rid of the golden arches all together.[/quote]

Given the choice of geting rid of the golden arches and getting rid of travel bureaucrats...

Editor
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

Luv2Travel -

Have you read David Vail's piece? Do you know what a Maine Woods National Heritage Area would mean? How about all of the other government land takeover Vail wants? How much of that do you favor?

In short: Et tu, Brute?

skf

Moving Forward
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

Mr. Editor,

As I wrote in my opening comment on this topic, "I believe [b]some of Mr. Vail's ideas[/b] would provide some great economic opportunities if the involved communities truly want them."

To answer your question, I have not read all of his reports completely. With that said, and in light of the clear sensitivity of this issue, I am not in favor of everything Mr. Vail has suggested. I thought that was clear in the above opening, but I guess it wasn't. I'm all for keeping Maine wild, if that's what the locals want. From a tourism standpoint, I personally think that's the most important part that just needs to be established. There are so many competing voices on the issue, I just hope people don't get frustrated and walk away from the table. That would probably end to a major everybody loses situation. Needless to say, that would truly suck for Maine.

Anonymous
Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

[size=18]Raising Maine's tourism services to world-class level[/size]
Monday, May 7, 2007

[b]Last in a two-part series.[/b]
BY DAVID VAIL

The first essay in this series showed how rural Maine can become a world-class tourism destination. It proposed a "big push" strategy, with the first priority being to weave our outstanding natural attractions and our three million acres of protected lands into a Great Maine Woods Recreation Network. It would be coupled with Acadia National Park and branded a "twin parks" destination. The second task is to marry nature and culture by seeking [b]Congressional designation[/b]…

[url=http://kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com/view/columns/3841724.html]SOURCE[/...

BlueJay
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

". . [i]our three million acres of protected lands into a Great Maine Woods Recreation Network[/i]".

Same story, different name.

pmh
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

Acadia National Park compared to [any vaguely similar north woods proposal]: I think this is an imbalanced, apples 'n' oranges sort of thing. Acadia ia well-supplied with highways, gourmet joints, plastic burger joints, motels, gas staions, trinket shops . . . . . The north woods has about the same ammount of similar infrastructure scattered widely along just the fringes of a vastly greater area. I wonder how many visitors who feel a sudden thundershower while watching Thunder Hole is "roughing it" would react to three days of steady, chilly NNW winds on Fifth St. John Pond? The two regions are totally different in far more respects than they have in common. Even managment, administration & enforcement issues would be vastly different.

Northarrow
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

[quote="Editor"]I'm getting sick and tired of urban southern Mainers and their bright ideas about what rural Maine really needs.

skf[/quote]

Perhaps [i]“urban southern Mainers”[/i] just need to hear what rural Maine wants. Playing the rural Maine vs. southern Maine card all the time seems counter productive to me. It is ultimately a numbers game. Wishing to exclude some Maine citizens from the discussion over State issues due to where they live is not a winning strategy.

If rural Maine wants to develop policies it feels would benefit the area, they may need to just hold their nose and solicit the support of us southern Mainers to make it happen.

mediadog
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

From the professor's remarks:

[i]The second problem is that unplanned and unmanaged tourism growth often has downsides like housing inflation, congested town centers, and lost access to recreational amenities.[/i]

Ah hah. That's what Maine is missing: [u]planned and managed [/u]tourism growth!

From the ivory tower, planning is always seen as the answer to every perceived capitalistic ill. But who does the planning and managing? Of course. "Experts" like those in the Maine Center for Economic Policy. Certainly not the local rubes who couldn't possibly see the big picture.

The academic infatuation with central planning persists. Not even the fate of the world's largest experiment in central planning (remember the Soviet Union?) has diminished the professorial belief that the answer is always centralized planning and managing.

Or am I misreading the good professor?

Economike
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Developing rural Maine's world-class tourism potential

[quote]I wonder how many visitors who feel a sudden thundershower while watching Thunder Hole is "roughing it" would react to three days of steady, chilly NNW winds on Fifth St. John Pond?[/quote]

Exactly, pmh. The notion that flatlanders will be attracted to vast wastes of forest verdure in northern Maine is a fantasy. Increasingly fewer folks are finding the region worth seeing; use of the Allagash and the NMW gates has been in decline for years.

The impulse to subisdize tourism in northern Maine reflects a desperation, [b]on the part of people who believe that development must be planned if it is to happen[/b], that no growth will can occur in this vacant, down-in-the-mouth region. "They've got lots of empty space up there, how about if people pay to look at it? The locals can be waiters and van drivers."

There are lots of small, under-the-radar, tech-dependent start-ups in the north. If the state desisted from strangling economic development in general, northern Maine would thrive. On the other hand, no politician would be able to claim the credit.

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