AMC’s Maine Woods Initiative

The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), the oldest recreation and conservation nonprofit in the country, began the Maine Woods Initiative in 2003 as an innovative and thoughtful approach to conservation that combines outdoor recreation, resource protection, sustainable forestry, education, and community partnership to permanently protect the landscape for future generations.

To attract more visitors and promote its mission, AMC asked Reel Quest Films to produce two films that showcase the core values of the Maine Woods Initiative: recreation and conservation. The production of the films took place over three days in February 2021 and two days in October 2021 at the AMC’s wilderness camps—Medawisla Lodge and Cabins, Little Lyford Lodge and Cabins, and Gorman Chairback Lodge and Cabins—and along the groomed cross-country ski trails and hiking trails that connect them. To date, AMC has permanently conserved 100,000 acres in the Maine Woods on which there is more than 200 miles of free to use recreational trails for the enjoyment of hiking, biking, canoeing, snowmobiling, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, and more.

The production was not without its challenges, however, as the lodges are located miles from frontcountry services and are only accessible by snowmobile or ski in winter. Months ahead of the February shoot, Ryan and Jerry worked together with AMC staff to craft a b-roll shot list, schedule interviews, and define the overall logistics of moving a film crew safely and efficiently over miles of snowy terrain. Over the course of the production, the conditions could not have been more ideal, making the skiing fast and fun and the landscape awe-inspiring to film.

The production days were full, beginning before sunrise shooting early light with models and then transitioning to interviewing staff members who were essential to the creation and management of the Maine Woods Initiative. Down time was spent backing up camera cards, recharging batteries, and warming up frozen fingers and toes.

Now that the films are finished, AMC is rolling them out beginning with the recreation-themed video (above).