The Katahdin Tourism Partnership grew out of planning for the Katahdin Woods & Waters Scenic Byway, a project of the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT). The planning process that began in January 2011 identified economic development through tourism as a key goal. The process also revealed the need for a multi-sector network of organizations to oversee implementation of the Scenic Byway as and support sustainable tourism development for the area as a whole.
Following the development of the Katahdin Woods & Waters Corridor Partnership Plan in early 2012, the planning group transformed itself into the Katahdin Tourism Partnership (KTP), a network comprised of a steering committee and a broader stakeholder membership. Steering Committee members represent the towns of East Millinocket, Millinocket, Medway, Mount Chase, Patten, Stacyville, Sherman, Island Falls, and bordering settlements in the Unorganized Territory. The Upper Valley Economic Corporation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves as the KTP’s fiscal agent.
The KTP designated three strategic areas as priorities: tourism business and product development, marketing and market research, and Byway-centric infrastructure development. Since then, programs and projects have included hosting an Outdoor Recreation Planning Charrette, sponsoring Maine Woods Tourism Training workshops, conducting annual visitor surveys, publishing the Katahdin Woods & Waters Scenic Byway Visitor Brochure, coordinating a multi-town road repair request of the MaineDOT, organizing a Trails & Recreational Access Conference, and ongoing oversight of Scenic Byway infrastructure development.
The KTP has sought to gain broad-based consensus about the best ways to address opportunities and encourage innovation in new tourism product development while being mindful of the need for resource conservation and enhancement as a key to future regional economic prosperity. New working relationships crossing conventional sector lines have emerged with the recognition that high quality visitor experiences are comprised of and dependent on the right functioning of a variety of elements: healthy natural systems, vibrant community culture, and high quality visitor services.