Congratulations to Cranberry Isles' resident Gary Allen who was honored at the Maine State Tourism Conference at the Augusta Civic Center. Allen was presented with the 2019 Governor's Conference on Tourism Originality Award for his creative work organizing cutting edge events that help build, empower and activate Maine communities!

Photo courtesy Gary Allen

According to Steve Lyons, the Director of the Maine Office of Tourism

Gary Allen is emblematic of the Maine Spirit of Originality. His vision for a kind of "participation tourism" that binds visitors and communities is directly in line with current trends in the types of experiences today's visitors seek, and is a commendable example of sustainable tourism.

 

The award specifically recognizes the Millinocket Marathon, which has earned national accolades for its cutting edge, pay if forward, free to participate platform. The Millinocket Marathon has attracted thousands of new visitors to the Kathadin Region and has provided a huge economic boost to an area badly hurt by the collapse of the paper industry. Not only is it attracting visitors, but several have purchased homes in the area.

Allen is  also the founder and director of the Mount Desert Island Marathon.“I firmly believe that even in well established tourism destinations like here on Mount Desert Island it’s vitally important to recognize a quickly changing demographic where visitors want to be both challenged and engage in, “do this” types of organized outdoor recreation experiences that test them, versus more traditional, “look at this” types of sight seeing opportunities.“ said Allen. “Endurance sports have become the common persons Mount Everest in my humble opinion, and Maine is poised near large active urban populations, who will absolutely come if we build it."