Piscataquis County Promotes Nature Tourism 

Piscataquis County is home to many beautiful and historic sights– but to passing tourists, lots of those places are hidden gems. A new project several years in the making hopes to make things a little clearer, and keep the local tourism industry going strong.The Appalachian Trailhead in Monson was full of people Monday. Folks there say they hope it’ll stay that way.”This is the start of the 100 Mile Wilderness section of the Appalachian Trail, and it’s not only a Maine resource, but it’s a national treasure,” says Gerry Whiting. Whiting is part of the Nature Tourism Committee in Piscataquis County, helping to make more than a dozen area sights like these more usable for visitors. That means better signage, and better infrastructure for those who stop.”The parking area had deteriorated, there was a lot of erosion and we wanted to bring it back to a spot that was natural-looking but also safer for motorists,” says Ken Woodbury, with the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council. Woodbury says improving sites like these, collectively, helps the tourism industry, which supports area jobs.”And these sites are identified from the roadway through the chickadee logo, which rolled out first here in Piscataquis County and is now being rolled out throughout the state of Maine. It identifies to the passing public, ‘Here’s a nature tourism site, stop here and take a look. It’ll be worth it,'” Woodbury says.The work is part of the governor’s effort to increase nature tourism in Maine, and is supported by the Office of Tourism and donations from private foundations. It incorporates the work of local and state officials and volunteers.”I just hope this is the start of a lot more effort to promote nature tourism here in the county and throughout the state in general,” Whiting says. “I hope everyone who’s a part of this is as happy as I am.”