BOOTHBAY HARBOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- For people who make their living from tourists and summer people, the Boothbay Region Land Trust has a suggestion: give them a chance to enjoy the outdoors.
The Land Trust has about 1,700 acres of protected land in the four towns of the Boothbay Region, with 30 miles of hiking trails. A new study by the University of Maine, done for the Land Trust, shows those trails have become an important attraction for tourists.
The study estimates more than 13,000 people use the Land Trust trails during the year, many of them tourists and summer residents. The study also says that, based on interviews with hundreds of those users, the chance to explore outdoors is an important reason people visit the area.
Nick Uhlo, executive director of the BRLT, says the information will be very helpful to the organization. He says the Land Trust already has strong support locally, but the economic data in the study should help to grow the support even more. That includes a conclusion that visitors using the trails spend more than $70 per day in the area, which translates in an annual economic impact of $3.9 million.
While the results are specific to the Boothbay Region, Uhlo says he expects many other Maine land trusts may find the information useful. He says it will also be helpful to remind visitors and residents that the lands are preserved through the work of the local non-profit and its donors, and are not part of any state park or town preserve. He also says the BRLT has received some financial support in the past from both the Land for Maine's Future program and the state working waterfront fund.