Rooted in history, our economy is built upon our landscape. From forest products to tourism, small businesses bolster our local residents livelihoods and provide services to those who love to visit.
Forest Products & Manufacturing
Maine is known as the Pine Tree State, as our history lies in the woods. Historically, the timber from our forests provided much needed resources for a growing country. The shipbuilding and papermaking industries were grown from our timber and wood fiber.
Piscataquis County was originally settled as a result of the wealth lying in the old growth trees. Forestry, timber harvesting, and wood products created a solid foundation for early industry in our county, and remains an important economic sector today. Businesses such as Hardwood Products and Puritan Medical Products, Lumbra Hardwood Inc, Pleasant River Lumber, JSI Fixtures, and Dove Tail Bat, to name a few, demonstrate a continued reliance on the wood basket. Advances in technology, creation of new uses for timber and fiber, and sustainable harvesting ensure a prosperous future
The success of timber harvesting has made room in our county for an expansion of manufacturing. Lumber and textile mills, tanneries, and wood products manufacturing were some of our earliest large-scale manufacturing segments. Manufacturing in Piscataquis County may have experienced changes over time, but remains an important economic driver for our region; benefiting from the same advances in technology as the forest products industry. Manufacturing is very much alive throughout the county, with a solid mix in large scale and boutique manufacturing businesses.
Rail service, the forest products industry, and slate quarrying were closely tied, as the economic footings of Piscataquis County. In 1868, the Bangor and Piscataquis Railroad started operating, with the goal of moving harvested timbers and slate out of Piscataquis County to Bangor. The eastern part of Piscataquis County benefited in the late 1800’s from an expansion in service, with Brownville and Milo realizing immediate prosperity and gains with rail yards located within their communities.
Over time, rail would witness periods of boom and bust, directly tied to the industries it supported. Rail continues to be an important employer in our region, with both the Central Maine and Quebec Rail (CMQR) and the Canadian Pacific (CP) operating rail yards and service through our region. The Central Maine and Quebec Rail operates a state-of-the-art car wash facility out of the Derby Rail Yard, only one of such facilities on the east coast. CMQR has made significant investments, both in the updating of tracks and their direct investment, in expanding the Derby Rail Yard.
Maine runs on small businesses. Twenty percent of businesses in Maine have less than 100 employees and about 57% of Maine employees work at a small business. The industries with the largest number of small businesses include health care, construction, retail, and accommodations/food service. Piscataquis County has one of the highest rates in the state for small business employment at 71-87%. When you shop local here, you are literally helping your neighbors. And we like it that way.
Piscatquis County is home to two 25-bed critical access hospitals – Northern Light C.A. Dean Hospital in Greenville and Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft. [NOTE: THE MERGER IS HAPPENING SOON AND THE HOSPITAL WILL BE CALLED NORTHERN LIGHT MAYO HOSPITAL}.
Both hospitals operate health centers throughout the region, making it easy to access to high quality care in rural Maine. They are the bed rocks of the communities they serve. These health care facilities also offer competitive employment while being located close to some of Maine’s most cherished natural landscapes.
Businesses that cater to tourists and outdoor enthusiasts are some of the largest independent employers in the county. From Allagash Wilderness Waterway to the shores of Moosehead Lake; the 100 Mile Wilderness to Gulf Hagas, Piscataquis County is home to countless hidden treasures. The opportunities to hike, paddle, and bike are too numerous to list.