In many ways, Maine is a particularly fitting destination to celebrate the tenacity of the human spirit. Known for rocky coasts, deep north woods, and rugged mountains, Maine’s landscapes and seascapes offer abundant adventure opportunities that reflect the state’s outdoor-focused culture and lifestyle.
The adventure travel community will gather 9-11 May 2023 for AdventureELEVATE in Portland, Maine. This year’s chosen theme of Steadfast unites us in the spirit of moving forward with conviction driven by purpose, optimism and pragmatism. AdventureELEVATE is an annual three-day regional conference for media, outbound tour operators, and thought leaders in the adventure travel community. In addition to dedicated networking events and educational content, delegates have the opportunity to experience the host destination firsthand through a day of adventure which features activities offered specifically to highlight the location and season.
“AdventureELEVATE North America is now in its seventh year, and we have found it to be an event that Adventure Travel professionals and industry leaders look forward to annually as a place of learning, inspiration and networking,” said Russell Walters, the ATTA Regional Director for North America. “Over the years we’ve seen the event format change to meet the needs of the delegates, but one thing that has remained constant is the importance of in-person connections. I’ve enjoyed attending ELEVATE events across North America and now personally I am thrilled to be able to invite the ATTA community to my home state of Maine and let delegates discover the charm and appeal of our Northeastern corner of the United States for themselves.”
While best known for ocean-based activities from fishing to sea kayaking, the Greater Portland Region and surrounding areas also offer abundant opportunities for biking, skiing, climbing, hiking, hunting, whitewater rafting, boating, snowmobiling, and ATVing. Visitors will also find plentiful attractions such as state parks, land trusts and preserves, the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden, outdoor adventure outfitters, and plenty of local flavor – from restaurants and breweries to distilleries and food tours.
In Maine, spending time outdoors is a lifestyle, not just an activity. This mindset is evident in the state’s land access and conservation practices. While 94% of Maine’s forested land is privately owned, more than half is open to public recreation. Statewide initiatives to protect natural resources are community-driven, which encourages land stewardship among local businesses, organizations, and citizens. There is a certain collective effort at the root of these efforts that encourages a shared sense of responsibility.
One example is the Visit Maine Look Out For ME program, which encourages people to recreate responsibly and educates the public on best practices. The call for responsibility is two-fold: take care of the land and natural resources, and also only embark on adventures that are appropriate for your experience level. The website includes key reminders as well as external resources for planning safe adventures while protecting the environment.
In Portland, an effort through the Portland Water District helps local land trusts conserve land in the Sebago Lake Watershed, which is the source of the city’s drinking water. The Water District is a founding member of Sebago Clean Waters, a coalition of organizations working together toward a shared goal of protecting 25% of the forest land around Sebago Lake to maintain its water purity.
Along the coast, the Maine Island Trail Association is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the wild islands of coastal Maine. Founded in 1988 to administer the 375-mile long Maine Island Trail, MITA embraces the powerfully simple idea that care of the islands can be left to the users of these treasured and fragile places. By teaching visitors to be stewards, the islands visited by members tend to be in better shape than those left untouched.
With wild natural beauty, varied adventure opportunities, and environmental stewardship at the core of its culture, Maine is an ideal destination for adventure travelers. Shannon Stowell, ATTA CEO, agreed with this sentiment and shared his enthusiasm.
“We’re thrilled to see AdventureElevate 2023 happening in Portland, Maine. It’s a great location for adventure travel pros to gather, and the theme of Steadfast reflects the tenacity of our community throughout the toughest challenge most of us have ever come up against,” he said. “It will be a powerful gathering and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”