October 19th, 2020
Maine Outdoor Adventure Club encourages networking and new friendships
Headed outdoors? Want some company? Members of the Maine Outdoor Adventure Club can always find someone with whom to hit the trails and waterways of the Pine Tree State.
“MOAC is a member-driven organization,” said the group’s president, Jeffery Berry of South Portland. “It’s really based off what people want to do.”
The organization itself hosts four events annually, one each quarter.
“That’s just a chance for members to get to see each other in a group setting,” said Berry, emphasizing that most of the club’s activities are organized by its approximately 700 members. Anyone who wants to plan a trip can post details on the members-only portion of the group’s website at moac.org. Other members can then join in.
“The members who post make the decision on where they want to go,” said Berry, who joined the group about a year ago.
“The key thing is [MOAC] just gets me more active and out with like-minded individuals,” said Berry, who participated in a canoeing trip in Machias recently. “I got to have people in my canoe that I might not have met otherwise.”
He described the club as an activities and social group that aims to get people outdoors.
“We’re a social club with a hiking problem,” he quipped.
Of course, the group’s activities are not limited to hiking.
“Our outdoor activities range from peaceful and relaxing to challenging and full of excitement,” states the website. “From the extremes of winter camping, ice/rock climbing, strenuous hiking, mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, to the gentle sail, walk or snowshoe, MOAC has something to offer everyone.”
The group was originally founded in 1989 and ran operated through the magazine Casco Bay Weekly. Though the magazine no longer exists, the club has survived and gone digital.
More than half of the group’s membership is retired, said Berry, though the organization is not specifically geared toward older folks. Many younger people join, but get sidetracked by work and family obligations.
“Life keeps getting in the way,” he said. “We’d like to attract more younger folks.”
Most MOAC members also live in southern Maine. In addition to organized annual activities and member-led trips, the group hosts monthly meetings in Portland. About 50 people typically attend these meetings, which include speakers discussing topics ranging from outdoor cooking to first aid.
Membership is $20 annually for an individual and $30 for a family. It includes full access to the website, where members can organize trips and chat, as well as access to the MOAC library, which includes reviews and how-to guides. It also includes a monthly emailed newsletter, discounts, voting privileges and even what the website describes as a “nifty” car decal.
For those who want to know more, the monthly meetings are open to the public as are some of activities, such as films devoted to conservation topics, trail maintenance days, a fall foliage paddle and winter activities.
— Text: Johanna S. Billings. Johanna is an avid hiker as well as an award-winning writer and photographer. She is based in Steuben.