Western Maine responsible visitor pledge and communications campaign
- Fall/Winter 2020
- Northern Forest Center
Local-level community and business leaders in outdoor recreation-based destinations face a common challenge: how to achieve balance between the positive economic contribution of tourism and the negative impacts of congestion and environmental degradation that can come with high levels of visitation. It can be challenging to reach agreement on effective strategies for developing and enhancing visitor experiences while still maintaining the local quality of life. In a remote region in Western Maine known as “the Mahoosucs,” that way of life was being threatened by visitors maxing out the capacity of regional trail systems and local swimming holes, many of which are on private land.
After participating in the 2019 Bethel Area Community Destination Academy, a program sponsored by the Maine Office of Tourism and the Northern Forest Center, local business, municipal and nonprofit leaders formed a leadership team. Crosscurrent team members helped the local leadership team develop a sustainable travel pledge, as well as a communication campaign to help educate visitors and newcomers on the local values and way of life in this emerging outdoor recreation destination on the Appalachian Trail. Having a sustainable travel pledge that shares a unified message with visitors and newcomers about what to do and what not to do when visiting is a strong measure to ensure tourists respect local values.
The Mahoosuc Way – “Pledge to Embrace Our Place” communicates local values to newcomers and visitors; it also encourages collective local action to protect and sustain the qualities that make the area an attractive place to live and visit. By taking the pledge, visitors and local residents express their commitment to behaviors rooted in five core values: Honor this Land, Explore Wisely, Show Respect, Cultivate Community and Be Climate-Conscious.
“As we experience increased demand for outdoor recreation and real estate in our area, doubling down on actions to preserve our landscape while welcoming the tourism economy is essential,” said Karolyn Castaldo, Communications Director for Sunday River Resort. “The Mahoosuc Way pledge empowers locals and visitors alike to be part of the solution and strengthen our community.”
The project made possible through funding from the Northern Border Regional Commission.
- Inspired the project team with a presentation on global best practices for sustainable travel pledges and responsible visitor communication campaigns.
- Performed sense-of-place research, including interviews to get local perspectives, and developed The Mahoosuc Way sustainable travel pledge based on the region’s core values.
- Developed a multi-phase communication plan to drive collaborative action during the first year of the campaign, and provided coaching to guide implementation.
- Screenshot of the Mahoosuc Way Embrace This Place Pledge online [Photo]
- Embrace This Place Pledge document [PDF]
- Press Release [PDF]
- David Beurle, Future iQ
- Marc Rassel, Align Multimedia
Crosscurrent makes the complex simple.
01Set Up a Discovery SessionContact us to schedule a free 30-minute discovery session.
02Create a Road MapTogether we’ll sketch a road map to get a feel for the investment required.
03Get to WorkOnce the road map is clear and the details agreed on, we’ll get right to work!