The typical snowmobilers were older than they used to be, but helped inject $606 million into Maine’s economy last winter, according to the first economic study of the state’s snowmobile industry in 22 years.
The study, commissioned by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, concluded that snowmobiling generated $459 million in direct spending during the 2018-19 season, directly supporting 2,279 jobs. The remainder came from indirect spending that supported another 1,060 jobs in the state, according to University of Maine researchers who surveyed a random sample of 421 Mainers who own registered snowmobiles and 478 nonresident registrants from 16 states.
Sledding is a cornerstone of the Maine winter economy, especially in Aroostook, northern Penobscot and Washington counties, said Joe Higgins, supervisor of the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands’ Off-Road Vehicle Snowmobile Program.
A study done by the snowmobile program, UMaine and the Maine Snowmobile Association in 1998 pegged snowmobiling’s annual economic impact at about $366 million in today’s dollars.
The new study will aid industry advocates’ lobbying efforts in Augusta, said Mike Grass Jr., president of the Maine Snowmobile Association’s Executive Committee.