Appalachian Mountain Club and Economist David Vail Receive Honors for Revitalizing Rural Economies from CEI Capital Management

CCML Board Chair Chris Sikes, David Vail, AMC VP Walter Graff, and CCML CEO Charlie Spies

(JUNE 19, 2017 – GREENVILLE, ME) –  The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) and noted economist Dr. David Vail were each honored by CEI Capital Management (CCML) today for their commitments to the economic and environmental sustainability of rural communities.
The AMC received the CCML Rural Pacesetter Award for its use of the New Markets Tax Credit program to pursue its Maine Woods Initiative (MWI), a unique approach to land conservation and nature-based recreation in Maine’s 100-Mile-Wilderness region that combines outdoor recreation, resource protection, sustainable forestry, and community partnerships. To date, AMC has purchased and permanently conserved nearly 75,000 acres of forest land, all open to the public; created more than 130 miles of recreational trails and opened three sporting camps to the public, established a Forest Stewardship Council-certified sustainable forestry operation that employs local forest products workers and supplies local mills, and developed partnerships with local Piscataquis County schools.

The project exemplifies all the attributes CEI Capital Management seeks when directing New Markets Tax Credits: growing good jobs, environmental sustainability and, ultimately, shared prosperity in the community. 

“We’re grateful to CEI for helping us make important progress on the Maine Woods Initiative. Through the New Markets Tax Credits program, we have been able to spur economic growth in the region while offering new opportunities for land conservation and outdoor recreation for the public,” said AMC Senior Vice President and MWI leader, Walter Graff, who accepted the award on behalf of AMC.
According to a baseline economic benchmark study by David Vail, the Adams-Catlin Professor of Economics Emeritus at Bowdoin College, the AMC’s work here has had a positive impact of some $16 million to the Piscataquis County economy and $22 million to the state’s economy.  Guests visiting the area have contributed an additional million dollars plus to the region. As Graff remarked, “local merchants feel the Maine Woods Initiative in their cash registers.”

Dr. Vail receives the CCML Rural Prosperity Award for dedicating his career to studying and advocating for sustainable rural development. His current research focus is in two areas: nature-based tourism and renewable biomass energy options in Northern Maine. His work has been widely published and referenced for the basis of multiple policy decisions, with titles including Spreading Prosperity to the ‘Other Maines’ (Maine Center for Economic Policy), Tourism Strategy for Maine’s North Woods: Creating and Branding a World-class Destination (Maine Policy Review), and Collaborating to Revitalize Northern Forest Tourism (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston). Dr. Vail is also a member of the CEI Board of Directors.  

“The AMC and David Vail represent all that we treasure in our rural economy, nationally and especially here in Maine,” said CEI Capital Management CEO Charlie Spies. “Their work honors the people and this place by investing in an economic infrastructure that lifts the region now and for future generations.”  
CEI Capital Management first created the Rural Pacesetter Award in 2013 to recognize outstanding efforts to create economic opportunity and environmental sustainability for rural communities using the federal New Markets Tax Credit program. 

About CEI Capital Management 
CEI Capital Management creates and preserves jobs and improves quality of life in rural, low income communities by providing access to project capital through New Markets Tax Credits. Over 12 years CEI Capital Management has placed over $924 million in 90 different projects across the U.S. In addition to fiscal soundness, CEI Capital Management evaluates each project according to its benefit to the local community, economic gain and positive impact on the environment. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of CEI, the Maine-based nonprofit community development financial institution which was among the founders of this important federal economic development program. For more information, visit