BDN Maine Outdoors publication debuts

For the past several weeks, we here at the BDN — and more specifically, those of us who produce content for BDN Outdoors — have been working enthusiastically on a project that we think can have a bright future.

Beginning on Monday, you can head to your local newsstand and find out what we’ve been up to: That’s where you’can pick up your free copy of BDN Maine Outdoors. Yes, I said “Free.”

First, the nuts and bolts of the matter: BDN Maine Outdoors is a 24-page publication that was printed in tabloid format (without the screaming tabloid headlines) on heavier stock paper than we use in the everyday BDN. And you’ll surely notice the color: All 24 pages are full-color spots, and we have taken advantage of that by utilizing some stunning photographs from BDN staffers, contributors and wire services.

Our plan is to publish BDN Maine Outdoors in its paper form quarterly — the next issue will be out in June. And we expect that as potential advertisers are able to examine what we’ve produced, it will swell well beyond its current 24-page size.

The publication will not appear in your daily or weekend BDN. In order to ensure a longer shelf life, we chose to put issues on newsstands instead. You can also pick up a copy at the BDN booth at sportsman’s shows in Orono and Augusta, and at the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine booth during the Presque Isle show.

You can also look at an online copy of BDN Maine Outdoors at

At its core, BDN Maine Outdoors strives to celebrate the natural wonders of our state, and to highlight the people, places and activities that make the Maine outdoors such a special place to recreate.

In our first issue, you’ll find stories about fishing at Grand Lake Stream, picking fiddleheads, sea kayaking, the L.L. Bean 100th birthday celebration, and hunting for antlers that deer and moose have left behind. And that’s just a partial list.

Now, the tricky part. You’ll also notice that BDN Maine Outdoors lists an anchor sponsor on the cover, and that the four pages in the center of the publication are different from the rest. That distinct difference was intentional, and may be obvious, but we think it bears talking about.

The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine is that anchor sponsor. In exchange for doing some of the heavy financial lifting that’s needed when you publish a product like this, SAM fills four pages — ad pages — upon which it has printed the SAM News, the group’s regular newsletter. Graphic artists and editors in the advertising department of the BDN helped facilitate that process, and, we think, helped make those pages really shine.

As journalists, that arrangement was one that caused a fair amount of anxiety. And since we wanted BDN Maine Outdoors to be more of an outdoor magazine than a traditional ad supplement, we drew lines in the sand and built a model that we’ve never used before.

We in the news department didn’t want to be viewed as “hired by SAM,” or beholden to the organization. And we took steps to make sure that wasn’t the case.

To be more specific, the issue opens and closes with entirely independent stories that were produced by our BDN staffers. Then, closer to the middle of the publication, surrounding the SAM-commissioned newsletter, our advertising staff writers created some content that will be of use to both SAM members and outdoors folk in general.

We’re pleased with the results, and happy to share our new publication with you.

And we’re also proud to tell you that we’re already hard at work on the June issue, and have plenty of great stories and photos to share.

So pick up a copy, take time to peruse, and let us know what you think. We’re enthusiastic about the possibilities, and want to hear your suggestions.


John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.