5 Steps To Create Great Recreational Tourism Experiences

In this article, I will be discussing a few steps on how to ensure great experiences regarding recreational tourism in the state of Maine. These steps will be straightforward and easy to follow. However, many people miss these small details that truly make all the difference in the end to create lifetime customers.

1: Treat them like Family


When people travel all the way up to Maine they appreciate one great thing Maine has to offer, hospitality. People from Maine are friendly when a cashier asks “How are you today?” They mean it. They look into your eyes and smile with sincerity. This is not a common behavior everywhere.

If you are running a guide service, or whatever it may be, it is important to remember names, to ask them their concerns and to make sure they are comfortable. This is important to people. Remember they are on vacation, they want the most limited amount of stress possible while they are trying to have a great experience.

2: Be prepared

When people spend money on a fishing guide they are expecting to catch a fish. When people go hunting with a guide they expect to take home an animal, although, sometimes this isn’t so. Guides must be experienced. They should be prepared to work around the least ideal situations. It is important for them to schedule dates to go out accordingly to ideal conditions. It’s hard to predict these patterns and sometimes you will be forced to perform in the least ideal conditions. Going out on days by yourself and observing patterns is key. For example, a carter fisherman should go out on days they would normally not catch and attempt to do so. This will make them much more prepared for a day where the weather is not ideal because even on the least ideal days you want that customer to get the ideal experience they paid for. 

3: Look the Part


Whatever the activity is, it is important for professionals to look like pros. This means they must be using the best and most up to date gear. Backcountry ski guides should be using the most up to date skiing equipment and safety gear. Hunting guides should be wearing the proper equipment and if they have hunting dogs, they should look in shape and well-trained. If they are a fishing guide, having the proper tackle that gets the job done is important. This also goes for whitewater rafting guides with all their equipment. There are a couple of key reasons why this is very important. One is that it shows the professionals are prepared. The next reason is it shows the client that they have an idea of what they are doing. Regardless of what the business is, having the proper equipment makes a big difference and gives the client some piece of mind.

4: Capitalize on the great moments with Pictures and Video

Whether the customer has just hit their first great line on skis, shot their first big buck, or if they just caught a monster fish, it’s necessary to capitalize on these moments because it highlights what customers have been waiting for all along. Pictures and videos are a great way of doing this. For example, whitewater rafting professionals hire a photographer and a videographer on the river to capture moments of the customers experience going through the rapids. When the trip is over the customers can watch a video of themselves and hold those great experiences dear. They can even bring the video home to show friends and family. 

5: Have Fun

By showing the client that you enjoy the job you are doing makes the overall experience much more memorable. The definition of recreation is an activity done for enjoyment when one is not working. That being said, the activity at hand shouldn’t appear like work for the professional. Having fun with the clients shows them that you are truly living out your passion. Furthermore, when people are having fun all around you, this, in turn, should give the client the ability to have fun as well. This will ensure that great memories will be created. 

Steps to Get the True Maine Experience

 If you’re a business owner in the tourism sector and want to know the best way you can provide a more personal experience for your customer, you will find this article particularly helpful. Enjoy!

  Step 1: Know Your Customers.

It’s crucial for any business owner to fully understand the customers you’re targeting. There are so many different types of travelers that visit and all of them expect you to be able to provide for there wants and needs without you even meeting them. To start, study your location(s) and the resources that it has to offer. Knowing what resources your business has to offer will allow you to target the right customer segments. Consider things like: is your business family friendly, are people going to want to plan a family vacation here, or do your resources provide activities that are more oriented for a specific customer only? By deciphering between these things, you will have a much better understanding of how to target your customer.
Here is a link that will explain the different types of customers:

Step 2: Determine the Theme or Story That Best Suits Your Capabilities to Your Customers Wants/Needs.

To determine this, look back to your location and the resources that it provides. First, what attributes make this location authentic? A lot of local towns in Maine represent a long history of the area, how it was developed, and how some of the local businesses operate. For example, you can travel almost anywhere along Maine’s coastline and get a taste of the fishermen’s culture that has been a way of life for local families dating back many generations. This is a great example of showing how tourism businesses along the coast have utilized the deep history of fishing to provide a representation of the locations authenticity. Secondly, determine something unique about your location(s) that can differentiate yourself from competitors. By differentiating yourself you put your business in a better position to target customers looking for a unique experience.

Step 3: Plan the Experience.

It’s crucial that the customer has a positive travel experience from the time they leave their house to the time they arrive at your location. This includes any transportation or equipment needed, any accommodations for the customer, and any activities that are offered. The information about your business provided to the customer and how it is provided to them is key. Determine where the customer will go, what they will do, the activities they will encounter, and how is it unique and authentic compared to competitors? How will the customer be engaged and interacted with? Is there one specific activity or are there several? By targeting these attributes, you are ensuring that the customer’s experience is well-planned and that they are the main focus.

Step 4: Map Out the Flow of Itinerary for You, Your Staff, and Your Partners.

Yourself, your staff, and your partners are what makes or breaks your business. These individuals are the frontline personnel that your customers are going to be interacting with. It’s very important that every staff member or partner understands the vision of the company and the goals they are trying to achieve when dealing with customers. To do so effectively, break each component of the experience into detailed segments that are easy for the staff and partners to understand and reciprocate. Promote safety standards and precautions, as well as a plan to execute such protocols. Plan and prepare for guest limitations (dietary restrictions, handicaps, age issues, etc). Being prepared for guests with any issue shows to the customer that you are taking the extra time to ensure that the experience for these customers is very important to your business.
Here is a link that will help you develop an easy to read and understand flowchart:

Step 5: Know Your Market Positioning.

Knowing your market positioning is very important in order for you to properly target your customers. Knowing whether you are targeting a mass market, niche market, major market or customized market is crucial for deciding how to market your business. To understand what your market positioning is, compare your businesses attributes with these questions: who are your competitors, how are they rated, what makes your business different, what about your location represents a sense culture or heritage, is your location nature-based or does is promote seasonal events, is your business targeting nationally, internationally or both? By determining these questions, you will have a good sense of what your market positioning is and how you can utilize your characteristics to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Here is a link that will help you understand how to determine your businesses market positioning:

Step 6: Market Your Experience.

Marketing your business to your customer is a must and to do it effectively will decide whether you attract attention to your location or not. Break the market into 4 sectors: Business to Consumer, Consumer to Business, Customer to Customer, and Business to Business. These 4 sectors are the ways that your organization’s information is passed throughout the company. It’s crucial that you target all of these sectors in order to effectively market the experience. Also, setting an attractive selling price is very important as a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Here is a link that discusses 7 ways to market your tourism business:

Step 7: Make It Unique and Authentic.

By providing a unique and authentic experience, you are able to connect with customers on a more personal level. Making sure that your customers are learning about your business and are getting hands-on in activities shows to them that your business is going above and beyond to meet the wants and needs of your customers. Connecting with your customers on a personal level makes the experience memorable for them, and they are more likely to share their experience with family, friends, or even post about it on social media. Making your service unique and authentic truly sets you apart from the competitors and proves that you’re providing a true Maine experience.

Step 8: Evaluate Your Progress.

It’s important to evaluate how the company is operating. If things are going awesome, see how you can introduce something new to test out. If things are not operating smoothly, see what you can do differently to make things more valuable to the customer. Or, should you save your money and choose a different path to the desired target market?

Into the Classroom Inland Fisheries & Wildlife

Into The Classroom

Maine is known as a world-class fishery, anglers travel from all over just to get a chance to catch Maine fish. Some may think that all of this just happens because Maine is a pristine landscape with abundant fish and wildlife. Actually, keeping Maine’s fish and wildlife in balance is a lot of hard work tasked to many people all across the state. Recently UMF’s Rec 106 class got a chance to dive into the world of wildlife and fisheries management.

On the first day of class, we learned that our professor, Sonny Pierce, wouldn’t just be teaching us from a textbook. Instead, he would use his 25 years experience working as a fisheries biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and his own personal passion for fishing. Most nights in class we would learn about habitat management, the life cycles of wildlife and fish, working with the public, and why it’s so important for Maine to care about its fisheries and wildlife. While students can learn a lot in the classroom Sonny knew we could learn just as much with hands-on experience and planned a field trip to the Embden Fish Rearing Station.

It was early on a Saturday morning when I and my fellow classmates arrived on campus half awake and ready to travel to Embden. By some miracle, all of our class was there on time and most were prepared.  After a quick roll call, we all packed into cars and made the 40-minute journey to the station not knowing what was in store for us when we arrived. As we drove I gazed out the window trying not to fall asleep and was happy to see the very habitats we had been taking notes on in class in their entirety.

Embden Maine

Photo courtesy of the Maine Encyclopedia.

As we pulled into the station it was not at all what I expected, which in all fairness might have been along the lines of the fish section at Petco or the tanks at Seaworld but I digress. Instead, I saw a house and a large building with two large doors on each end and the constant sound of bubbling water filled the air. We were greeted by our tour guide Gene Arsenault the stations Fish Culture Supervisor and he gave us a rundown of the stations’ stats and a bit of history. After that, we were off to explore the station piece by piece building by building.

We started at the source of all the water used in the facility. A small shed on the edge of the property with two large pipes that seemed to go on forever and disappear into the forest. These pipes actually ended in Embden pond, one in shallow water and one out deeper, bringing water all the way back to the mixing shed. Once in the shed, the water passed through screens and under lights to keep it debris free and somewhat sterile. The water was then pumped into the largest building which at the point we all assumed had the fish seeing as we hadn’t seen any yet.

On our way to see if our hunch was true we stopped to look at the large trucks fitted with tanks used for transporting fish. Gene told us that the trucks travel all over Maine and as far North as St.Agatha a 5-hour trip one way from the station. The trucks were pretty big and as you can imagine cant reach every body of water that needs to be stocked in Maine. For harder to reach or remote locations a seaplane flown by the Maine Warden service lends a hand or the fish get backpacked in by a team of two. These methods might seem a little extreme or like a lot of work but this is what goes into making Maine a world class fishery. 

IMG_2920We finally made it to the big building which at the point from the smell we knew the fish were there. As we walked in we could hear water bubbling and splashing from what looked like metal kiddy pools that filled the entire building. As I stepped closer to them the tanks looked empty but were actually completely full of small dark-colored fish.




Each tank was full and the fish got bigger as we moved throughout the building. Gene demonstrated how the fish were fed with automatic feeders stationed above the tanks and how their feeding habits changed with size. The bigger they got the more aggressive and the more we got splashed as Gene threw a handful of food into the tank.


IMG_2921We left the building just as we came in, following the flow of the water. The water in each tank is kept fresh constantly pumping old water out. This old water travels out of the building and into the drum building. No this not where Gene keeps his drum kit but instead two huge drums with nylons filters that the water runs through on its way to the evaporation pool. The station only keeps one drum on at a time just in case it breaks down they have a backup. Water then flows out of the drum room and into an outside holding tank that was by far the worst smelling part of this trip! But everything has a purpose and nothing goes to waste no matter how bad it smells. Filtered water leaves the tank and goes back into the water table while the bad smelling scum is left behind. This scum or sediment is actually sold to farmers to fertilize their fields. We had seen everything there was to see, smelt every smell, and no one fell asleep despite it being before noon on a Saturday.

I’d like to think that we all went back into the classroom with a better understanding and appreciation of Maine fisheries. I know I came back with a better understanding of just how much work goes into making sure everyone who casts a line in Maine has a chance of catching something.

For more information about the Embden Fish Station visit their page on Maine.gov

A Walk Along the Ridge: Traveling through the Blue Ridge Parkway (Why we travel)

The brown, grotesquely dull landscape of northern Florida and Georgia transforms as you move North through the Carolinas. The landscape is replaced by rolling green pastures running wild with rivers of lavender; a delightful change of scenery. Far off, beyond the vast rolling sea of green, a giant blue wave grows high in the sky, spread wide across the horizon and seems to run directly towards you. But like an experienced surfer, we shy not away from this intimidating wave, we paddle towards it, climbing higher and higher so that we may revel in the beauty and thrill that sits atop. Yes, this wave, which stretches from South Carolina all the way to Pennsylvania, is in fact the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Traveling North from Florida to Maine, unrestricted by time and free of responsibilities, I seek to escape the tightening grip of society by journeying, alone, along the famous Blue Ridge Parkway. Officially established in 1936, the parkway stretches 469 miles through North Carolina and Virginia. Since its creation over eighty years ago, millions of travelers have gravitated towards this elevated oasis. After journeying only a handful of miles along it’s winding spine, it becomes vividly apparent to me why this gravitational pull exists.

On one side of the ridge there is a steep drop-off that opens up to reveal a vast horizon. Dwarfing your very existence, this spectacle has the ability to generate feelings of both significance and insignificance simultaneously. You experience feelings of insignificance because of your minuscule size in comparison to the immense stage set before your very eyes. The giant wave that is the towering mountain range which you are riding along begins to break into smaller hills as it drops off. A gentle wind blows from behind you, over the ridge and down through the smaller hills, making the treetops sway back and forth as it wanders further into the dark green sea. Eventually, your eyes fail you and the green sea begins to fade to blue; the convergence between land and sky becomes blurred, the line between heaven and earth unclear.

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 9.40.18 AM
Horizon along Blue Ridge Parkway (photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

You experience feelings of significance because you are here, high atop a grand mountain range, traveling along an impossible route seemingly carved into existence specifically for you. The feeling that this was no accident starts to overwhelm you; the stage has been set for you; the play itself scripted on your behalf.

The other side of the parkway is a foreign world, utterly alienated from that which opposes it. Here, the most unbelievable rolling farmland dominates the landscape. The hills represent a cartoon depiction of a giant guitar string being strung.

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 9.44.42 AM
Rolling farmland in Blue Ridge Mountains (photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

Cattle graze lazily, as they are destined to do, through knee-deep grass that dances constantly in the warm summer breeze. Fences, of course, run through the hills, restricting the freedom of the cattle’s graze. These fences seem to have been constructed long ago. Cracking and covered in moss, rotting, but once sturdy wooden beams are staked into the ground every few yards, connected together by slim strings of rusty barbed wire.

Old fence running through rolling hills in the Blue Ridge Mountains (Photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

The gentle wind that blows through the fields and wanders over the ridge into the vast green sea beyond seems to take any hint of progression with it. Time, however, does not stand still here. Rather, time ticks persistently forward, but the grinding gears of “progress” seem to be broken. Left behind are only bones, fossils of a time long since past. Abandoned farms, churches, and houses are a common sight throughout the parkway.

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 9.47.21 AM
Abandoned Church along the Blue Ridge Parkway (photo taken by Chris DeLisle)
Giant holes have seeped into the rusted tin roofs of old, decaying barns. Whole sections of wooden siding are gone. Buckling under the weight of their age, barns seep low towards the ground, tired, begging to be reunited with the animals and people who once worked the land long ago.

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 9.48.32 AM.png
Decaying farm along the Blue Ridge Parkway (photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

The country is tragically beautiful. Beautiful in its fervent effort to cling to the past, refusing to let go of the innocence and purity long since been forgotten by the rest of the East Coast. Tragic because of the incredible toll that it has taken to achieve such a feat: to become frozen in time. Protected landmarks, like the Mabry Mill, will continue to exist to serve as a display and hub for the common traveler.

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 9.49.41 AM
The Mabry Mill (photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

But the true remnants of the past, honest portrayals of what life once used to be like, will soon return to dust and be forgotten. Thus is the nature of all things. There is no stopping it from occurring, and the process of falling into obscurity is in itself immortal and beautiful.

There is no doubt left in my mind why I, or any of the other millions of people have seemed to gravitate towards this alluring oasis. Somehow, we seek to find something by straddling the cusp between the past and the future. By surrounding ourselves with the past, amongst the ghosts of those who came long before us, but always keeping a watchful eye to the horizon, to the future, we hope to find whatever it is that we are looking for.

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 9.51.01 AM.png
Another horizon along the Parkway (Photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

That is why we are here, but what we seek remains unclear, trying its best to allude our capture. Maybe we are here to discover the true essence of life, to understand the temporal nature of ourselves, of others, of all things, and to grasp at something that is just beyond our reach.

But in the end, arms outstretched, the answers seem to slip through the fingers of most. Our arms can’t reach it, our eyes can’t see it, and our ears can’t hear it; only the soul can understand the answer to the question that we don’t yet know how to ask. Most refuse, or simply do not know how, to look inward for the answers. That is why they come to places like this, places where they believe that their senses will be stimulated enough to discern the answers.

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 9.52.22 AM
Another old wooden fence along the parkway (photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

But neither sight, hearing, taste, smell, nor touch can distinguish what it is that we are looking for. So we take pictures, we laugh, we smile, and we tell others about our adventure. But, in secret, we leave disappointed, still searching for the answers.

The truth to why people come here is in-fact ambiguous, and I can only speculate that people come here for an underlying purpose similar to that of my own. Still, even I am uncertain why this needed to be done: to travel alone for 2,000 miles away from anyone and any place that I had ever known.

But, in solitude, beneath early morning sunrises and late-afternoon sunsets, I believe that the answer was whispered to me.
Each day started and ended the same while traveling through the Blue Ridge Mountains, as it does throughout the entire world, with the rising and setting of the golden sun.

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 9.53.45 AM.png
Sunset in the Blue Ridge Mountains (photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

Sunrises and sunsets are almost identical in appearance, but they stand for entirely different meanings and trigger an array of opposite emotions. There is always a certainty to both; each end leads to a new beginning, and each beginning eventually leads to an unavoidable end. The fading rays of light during sunset are more cherished than those at sunrise, for you know that soon they will be replaced by darkness, remaining only as a memory. But the growing rays of light at sunrise are of a different nature. They hold the promise of a bright future, a hope for the coming day, and thus offer a level of infinite optimism.

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 9.55.25 AM
Sunrise in the Blue Ridge Mountains (photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

Sitting alone, beneath either the growing or fading rays of sun, gazing into the vast and spectacular expanse laid before me, a thought began to take hold of my conscious. Each and every human being is much like the sun that rises in the East and sets in the West. We travel through the sky and across a great stage; we encounter an infinite number of people and an infinite number of experiences throughout our day.

There are two certainties to our day: there will be a sunrise and there will, of course, be a sunset. The rays will shine the brightest and most unappreciated during the dawn, but they will be more cherished and beautiful at dusk, right before they fade to black. We will leave behind our own bones, our own fossils, memories of people and places from a time that has since passed us by as we travel through the sky.

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 9.56.32 AM
Leaking old aqueduct running into the Mabry Mill (photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

But we must not become prisoners of the past, nor can we only look to the future, for those are already certain and beyond our reach. We must set our gaze upon the present, focusing on each step that we decide to take along the ridge when the sun is high in the sky. For it is in the often insignificant and unappreciated present where we form lasting memories, the soon-to-be fossils that seek to dominate our consciousness as we make our way towards dusk.

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 9.57.43 AM
Dusk in the Blue Ridge Mountains (photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

What Have You Done This Summer?


What are you up to this summer-

Hey, everyone! We hope you are having a relaxing summer so far filled with awesome adventures!

We want to know what those adventures are! Are you hiking, kayaking, rafting, biking, camping, or fishing? Send us pictures of you and your friends enjoying your favorite summer activities. Let’s show everyone just how fun and action packed a Maine summer can be!

Send your pictures and adventure stories to us on Facebook or email them to us at thetrail01@gmail.com for a chance to be featured on the blog!

Enjoy the rest of this summer and get outside and explore!


From the Classroom to the Slopes


When I walked in on the first day of class to Alpine Operations, Leadership, and Management I had no idea what I was in for. As someone who has never even had a pair of ski boots on her feet, I was a bit intimidated by this class dealing with an industry I knew nothing about. Luckily, my class was full of experienced alpine students many of whom work on mountains in and around Franklin county.

Our first task as a class was to decide on an event that we would all take part in planning. We decided to hold a ski and snowboard event over spring break. This gave us only three weeks to get our proposal approved and market the event. We choose Titcomb Mountain as our location and with the help of their General Manager Megan Roberts, our proposal was approved. With Titcomb offering skiing and snowboarding for every age and skill level we decided our events should be just as inclusive. With eight events planned my class got to work advertising our event The Titcomb Challenge. With events like a boot race, costume contest, ollie contest, and a light parade we hoped to attract all ages. We used posters, a facebook event, a press release, and tabling in the students center to get the word out.

Finally, the day had arrived, I walked into the lodge at 8 A.M. and set up the registration table. Everyone working the first shift was groggy and nervous, we had no idea if anyone would show up to this event we had put so much work into. Our Professor Clyde Mitchell kept morale up as we waited for people to arrive at the mountain. The first people to sign up were two little kids who couldn’t wait to compete! One of them was our first winner coming in first place for our boot race. As the day continued events were running smoothly and every team member was hard at work.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The day ended at 9 P.M. with everyone participating in a light parade down the main slope and gathering in the lodge around a fire.

My class learned a lot about leadership and how planning an event can bring the community together.

Welcome to TRAIL!


We are excited to announce the launch of our new social media program TRAIL – focusing on outdoor recreation in Franklin County, Maine. We want to give readers an inside look at what goes on in the Franklin County area. We will focus on students’ involvement in the outdoors, as well as businesses that provide opportunities for outdoor recreation. We hope that you’ll check out our blog, as well as the other social media sites that we operate on!

We would also like to take this chance to introduce ourselves to you…


Name: Jessica

Major: Outdoor Recreation & Business Administration (ORBA)

Hobbies/Clubs:  Farmington Outing Club, snowshoeing, hiking, camping, rafting, and kayaking.

As a transfer student to UMF I really found my place in the Outdoor Recreation major. I have lived in Maine my whole life and I love being outside no matter the season. When I’m not in the classroom I am usually outside with friends hiking and camping or with my dogs taking scenic walks through the Maine woods. UMF has allowed me to combine my love of nature and the outdoors with my passion for business. The Farmington community has given me so many opportunities and I am excited to be able to highlight what makes Farmington so great.


Name: Tyler

Major: Outdoor Recreation and Business Administration (ORBA)

Hobbies/Clubs: Farmington Outing Club, Club Hockey, Snowboarding, Camping, and Hiking.

With the University of Maine at Farmington’s location being so close to a vast majority of outdoor activities, I took the plunge and decided to get more involved with it. Since I’ve been living in Maine for my whole life it has taught me how to appreciate the outdoors and what it has to offer. Franklin County has opened up new doors for my outdoor experiences. With the Mountains nearby to school, on a snowy day, you can find me there snowboarding. My passion for the outdoors has encouraged me to do more. Recently I became a Wilderness First Responder to help gain more experience in the wilderness.