Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens had a big year in 2021

Stepwise Data Research showed that Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens contributed $41.9 million to Maine’s economic growth in 2021.

BOOTHBAY, Maine — Visitors to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens poured nearly $42 million into Maine’s economy, according to an economic impact report done by Stepwise Data Research

The gardens have been open to visitors for 15 years, but the 336,400 visitors they saw in 2021 equated to a big year. 

“Literally every state in the country — I’m just looking at the map right now — has representation in terms of where people came from last year to visit the gardens,” CMBG CEO Gretchen Ostherr said. 

Ostherr added that the new report helps them better understand where visitors are coming from and what’s behind their visit. Part of the increase, she said, was more people exploring the outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many were also drawn to the gardens’ five large wooden trolls, created by artist and arts activist Thomas Dambo. 

RELATED: Giant trolls take over the forest at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

According to the study, visitors spent an estimated $5.8 million at Maine restaurants, $3.1 million on lodging, $2 million at retail stores, and $1.2 million on other recreational activities. In total, the report estimates that $15.2 million of direct visitor spending contributed to earnings and jobs in the Maine economy across various sectors. 

“It’s really informative in terms of helping us understand our impact here [and] also in terms of helping us project what we can expect in terms of future visitation, which then can help us quantify the kind of investments we want to make,” Ostherr explained.

Some of those investments include updating the cafeteria and food service through the winter and spring. Staff also hope to grow CMBG’s horticulture and research departments and add a conservatory.

The trolls will remain at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens until they start to deteriorate, which could be within the next five years. 

To learn more about visiting the Gardens, click here

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