Media Archive

Piscataquis County households to take part in tourism survey

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 166, No. 15, April 14, 2004
Survey questions will focus on outdoor recreation, local natural resources and cultural heritage assets in the region.

DOVER-FOXCROFT More than 1,000 households in Piscataquis County will receive a survey the week of April 12 on the subject of tourism development. With support from a $45,000 rural business opportunity grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the University of Maine is conducting the survey to determine public attitudes toward future tourism related activities.

Questions on the survey will focus on outdoor recreation, local natural resources and cultural heritage assets and preferences for future tourism development.

"There is renewed interest in tourism in this county," says Roger Merchant, Cooperative Extension educator in Dover-Foxcroft and a partner in the survey project. "The tourism industry in Maine is enormous. It contributes revenue to a lot of small businesses, bed and breakfasts, restaurants, shops and others. We want to make sure that future development is done in a planned and thoughtful way. To do that, we need to know where people stand."

Merchant has studied how rural communities in the eastern United States are responding to the loss of manufacturing jobs, including the promotion of tourism opportunities. In recent years, Piscataquis County has seen an expansion of conservation lands owned by organizations such as the Maine Bureau of Public Lands, The Nature Conservancy and the Appalachian Mountain Club.

Participating on the survey project are the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council and UMaine's Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy, Department of Resource Economics and Policy (REP) and Cooperative Extension. Households receiving the survey were randomly selected from lists of registered voters.

A second survey of business owners is planned for later this spring, according to Todd Gabe, assistant professor in REP.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.