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Maine Guides

The best of the best

Up here in Maine, there are a lot of people who know their way around the outdoors, but nobody more than a registered Maine Guide. Whether their expertise is hunting, fishing, or paddling, Maine Guides are who we trust when it comes to getting outside safely and comfortably. Thanks to their vast knowledge and experience, they’ve been making outdoor adventures easier and more comfortable for everyone in Vacationland.

A Brief History of Maine Guides

1897. That’s when Maine law started requiring guides to be tested and certified. It’s also when the first official registered Maine Guide was created. Her name was Cornelia Thurza Crosby, or “Fly Rod” as she was affectionately known, and no one exemplifies the determination, passion, and hard work it takes to become a Maine Guide than her. Because even without the stereotypes Cornelia faced as a woman in the 1800s, becoming a Maine Guide is no walk in the park.

In fact, Maine is considered one of the toughest states to become a registered guide. That’s why L.L.Bean asks Maine Guides to help us identify real problems people experience outdoors and lean on their expertise to design products that solve them. And it’s also why you’ll find many Maine Guides leading the expert-led courses, trips and tours in our Outdoor Discovery Programs. But regardless of their field or level of skill, at their core Maine Guides are simply outdoor lovers who want to share their passion and amazing outside experiences with the world.

Meet some of our Outdoor Discovery Program Instructors who are also registered Maine Guides:

Susan Daignault

Years as a Maine Guide: 20

Qualifications:

I served in the U.S. Coast Guard for 30 years and am a retired Captain, and work as a part-time occupational safety consultant, and fly fishing instructor. Currently, I guide freshwater fishing and instruct new students in fly fishing.

Q: Advice for someone looking to become a Maine Guide?
Take a good preparatory course and enjoy the process. Study and keep your license current as you never know when you may want to do some guiding, full or part time.

Q: What does it mean to you to be a Maine Guide?
Leading others in the outdoors to have a safe, meaningful, and educational experience in something they really want to learn and enjoy.

Q: Favorite L.L.Bean product?
The Double L fly fishing outfit (rod and reel) It’s a great value for a really nice fly fishing experience.

Casey Mealey

Years as a Maine Guide: 8

Qualifications:

BS in Adventure Education and minor in Adventure Therapy. Been leading outdoors adventures for various organizations since college, a wilderness first responder for 17 years, and am a Registered Maine Guide in recreation and fishing.

Q: Favorite outdoor place to visit?
My childhood backyard – It brings me back to where my passion for the outdoors was sown and nurtured. I still feel the wonderous child’s mindset of discovery and adventure there.

Q: If you could only give people one piece of advice about going outdoors, what would it be?
Be open to new experiences, feelings, and emotions. There’s no better place to feel safe, welcomed, and free.

Q: Something about you most people don’t know
I served an AmeriCorps term in Southeast Alaska through which I had the extreme pleasure of being exposed to the cultures of the Native populations of the region.

Q: Favorite L.L.Bean product?
Wool Jac-Shirt. I’ve worn it hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and as an out and about jacket. Plus, the game pouch provides plenty of space to throw a water bottle, snacks and more if I do not want to wear a pack.

Sarah Quaintance

Years as a Maine Guide: 15

Qualifications:

I used to be an avid adventure racer, I’ve taken a number of classes to improve my knowledge base and earn American Canoe Association certifications to teach canoe, kayak, and paddleboard.

Q: Is it hard to become a Maine Guide?
It’s not easy (it’s not supposed to be), but it’s much easier when you have passion for the outdoors, people, and putting the two together.

Q: Favorite part about being outdoors?
No trip is ever the same. There may be similarities, but not the same.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do outdoors?
I follow the water. Climbing ice in the winter, whitewater runs with spring melt, and going out to the ocean for summer and fall paddling.

Q: Favorite Maine Guide story
My favorite stories have to do with people who didn’t believe they could do something like stand-up paddle boarding, and discovered that they could not only stand up, but relax and enjoy the viewpoint that standing up offers. 

Q: Favorite L.L.Bean product?
My old L.L.Bean 2-person dome tent. It’s what my husband and I used when we started camping. 

Robert Chase

Years as a Maine Guide: 20

Qualifications:

Spent 6 summers as a river driver on the Penobscot West Branch water way, taught middle school science and outdoor education for 27 years, and have four Maine Guide licenses, an outdoor medical certification and a Wilderness First Responder.

What’s your favorite part about being outdoors?
I like to stop, take a breath, look around, listen, and just be.

What do you love most about being a guide?
I love watching people smile when they realize a desire to learn a chosen outdoor skill becomes a reality for them. They “get it”.

Favorite outdoor place to visit?
The shores and islands along the Maine coast.

Favorite L.L.Bean product?
An excellent product for the outdoors is stowaway GoreTex® rain gear. The comfortable outer layer coat and pants provide all season protection from the elements.

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