MILLINOCKET – Snowmobiling brings in almost $350 millions to local businesses in the state of Maine.
“The trails up here are incredible. The views are amazing. We love it up here,” said Damon Manale. He and his friends traveled from South Carolina to snowmobile here in Maine.
The sports economic impact is huge, especially in the greater Millinocket area, according to Jamie Brundrett.
“Tourism is one of the main drivers we have for economic growth. During the winter season that and ice fishing,” Brundrett said.
“We depend on people coming into the area bringing those additional dollars as they go sledding,” he said.
Snowmobiling drives the majority of the traffic in the area during the winter. The President of New England Outdoor Center, Matthew Polstein, said the Katahdin region has suffered with the closing of mills over the years.
This sport brings the area to life.
“Snowmobiling brings enthusiasm, energy and people. Most importantly dollars into the retailing side of the economy,” Polstein said.
However, the warm and mild weather we’ve been seeing takes a toll on the trails
“That shut us down into right after Christmas when we got a little bit of snow,” Polstein said. “We were able to open a few parts of our trail system back up but really not the whole system.”
The season may have had a slow start but with a lot of snow on the way it’s about to take off
“We have not lost much and there’s tons of great season ahead of us,” Polstein said. He said last year was New England Outdoor Center’s best year.
Sledding season is just beginning. Polstein said some of the best riding is during the spring. As long as the weather allows of course.
“Fingers crossed,” Brundrett said. “We got a few more storms coming in this week it looks like so hopefully that will just build to our base and we’ll have good times.”