Maine guides win grant for great new marketing project

The Maine Professional Guides Association won a $10,000 grant from the Maine Office of Tourism to create a member directory to distribute out of state.

“It is noteworthy because we are taking the lead to promote member businesses and tourism recognizes that they are not.” Don Kleiner, MPGA lobbyist and executive director, told me. They hope to have the directory done by January.

It’s been a frustration of many of us that the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife does not work with our outdoor industries on marketing. They once had a marketing position, but when the last person to hold that job, Bill Pierce, left, they abolished the job.

I have tried twice at the legislature to restore that marketing position, and DIF&W has opposed and killed the bill both times.

Likewise, the Office of Tourism does very little advertising of our favorite outdoor sports. They do a little advertising of fishing, but none of hunting.

So it’s great news that the MPGA won this grant. Here’s more information about MPGA and the project.

MPGA and This Project

Maine Professional Guides Association is a 38-year-old organization with approximately 1200 members, each a small business offering outdoor recreation services.  Most of those member businesses are located in the more rural parts of our state. The Association‘s overall mission is to protect and enhance the profession, incomes, and outdoor heritage of Maine guides, and to maintain the natural resources they and their customers depend upon.

To that end, we seek to improve our members’ businesses and to develop membership in the Association into the future.  Additionally, we work to develop a consistent base of steady outdoor sportsmen; thus, we wish to reach first–time and new clients so that we can increase awareness and use of the services Maine guides provide. Our clients are primarily nonresidents who seek to have a quality outdoor experience, whether it be hunting, or fishing, or any of a variety of guided outdoor activities.

The Association’s marketing plan includes three elements:

Providing easily accessible information to individuals seeking to hire guides

Matching clients with the right guide for a quality experience

Promoting guides’ services where possible

To meet these goals, we maintain an Association website with member information; provide online information to potential clients; and handouts at trade shows and events; maintain links to various tourism websites; and place ads in various publications.

To further these marketing goals, we would like to produce a directory listing all current members, the services they offer, and the region in which they work. This would be a resource similar to our Association website, but the directory could be distributed at consumer shows and events, as well as through the Maine Office of Tourism and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. By connecting our members with potential clients, such a resource could make our member businesses more successful.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.