Exciting news for Big Rock Mountain in Mars Hill, Maine who has just been awarded a $2.5 million dollar federal government grant. The US Department of Commerce Economic Development awarded the funding as part of its American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation program. As a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization, BigRock is committed to making skiing an outdoor activity for the whole family to enjoy.
The investment will fund a $5 million project to support a new chairlift, increase snowmaking capacity, extend the season, and most importantly provide more skiing for guests. Ski Area Management Magazine reported, “The EDA grant will be matched with $634,700 in local funds, and it is expected to create 11 jobs, retain 44 jobs, and generate $2 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.” During yesterday’s press conference announcing the grant, Big Rock Assistant General Manager Aaron Damon said:
“Funding will be used to replace an aging chairlift, quadruple snowmaking capacity, and keep admission prices low for families. Expanding our operation is key when most of our money comes from four months out of the year.”
The project was started as a chairlift campaign that was kicked off last December. It quickly gained the attention of the American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation program. A program developed to drive the recovery of communities that rely on the travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation sectors. Big Rock sits on the border close to neighboring New Brunswick and receives about one-third of its visitors from Canada. With the pandemic closing borders, the resort in turn suffered.
A bright future is ahead for Aroostook County as the grant and upgrades hope to bring new visitors to the region, its businesses, and attractions in northern Maine. If you are interested in supporting the fundraising efforts of Big Rock, the project, and downhill skiing & snowboarding in Northern Maine/Western New Brunswick you can contact their team at firstname.lastname@example.org.