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Carey Kish

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island has been adventuring in the woods and mountains of Maine for, well, a long time. If there’s a trail—be it on dirt, rock, snow, water or pavement—he will find it, explore it, and write about it. Carey is a two-time Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Registered Maine Guide, author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide (10th ed.), and has written a hiking & camping column for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram since 2003. Follow his outdoor travels and musings here, and on Facebook/CareyKish. Let Carey know what you think at MaineOutdoors@aol.com.

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Posted: February 23, 2016

Final days of the DeLorme Map Store, future of venerable Gazetteer uncertain

Written by: Carey Kish

Will our precious Maine Atlas & Gazetteer be no more? That familiar hard copy standby that’s in every car and truck in Maine, on coffee tables and shelves from Kittery to Aroostook. Never mind those atlases for a handful of other states.

Dunno. And no one is saying just yet.

Sure, we’ve got GPS units now on our dashboards and map apps on our smartphones. But nothing – nothing! – can replace the DeLorme Maine Atlas & Gazetteer.

Maybe the end of an era. Kinda sad.

The DeLorme Map Store in Yarmouth is closing for good this Sat, Feb 27. Carey Kish photo.

The DeLorme Map Store in Yarmouth is closing for good this Sat, Feb 27. Carey Kish photo.

DeLorme was sold recently to the big Swiss tech company Garmin, and now it seems everything is up in the air. Especially at the Map Store on US 1 in Yarmouth, which is closing. Jeez, the place was an institution. Maps, books, software, cool stuff, Eartha.

The end of a Maine institution. Carey Kish photo.

The end of a Maine institution. Carey Kish photo.

Cruising back from New Hampshire yesterday, I figured I’d better make a last stop in to pay my respects, given that the store is closing for good this Saturday, February 27. It’s not like I need an atlas or anything, but more just to see the place and the good folks I know that work there. Maybe score a bargain if something caught my eye (everything is 50% off).

There were a goodly number of cars in the lot, and a fair number inside the store milling about. One guy had a good load of Maine atlases under his arm plus some laminated maps.

“It’s a wonderful resource,” said Jim Smith of Yarmouth, referring to the Maine Atlas & Gazetteer. “It you’re going anywhere, there’s nothing that beats it.”

Amen to that Jim.

Jim Smith of Yarmouth stocks on the Maine Atlas and some other stuff at the Map Store yesterday. Carey Kish photo.

Jim Smith of Yarmouth stocks on the Maine Atlas and some other stuff at the Map Store yesterday. Carey Kish photo.

For travelers of all stripes, yeah it’s great to have a GPS unit, but there’s nothing like a paper copy. My wife and I recently installed a Garmin in our Subaru for a cross-country drive that took us to Texas and back. But we took a hard copy USA atlas as well, and referred to both all the time.

I can’t imagine not having my DeLorme in the car around here in Maine. And if they go away, well, there are gonna be a lot of well-thumbed copies floating around for a long time. We’ll keep them forever I swear. Till they fall apart and even then you’ll see people taping them together and preserving them however possible. You wait.

No more fun trips to the DeLorme Map Store in Yarmouth after this Saturday. Carey Kish photo.

No more fun trips to the DeLorme Map Store in Yarmouth after this Saturday. Carey Kish photo.

A source close to DeLorme that asked not to be identified told me that the reason the map store is closing is that Garmin does not want the store. The notice came suddenly, about two weeks ago. “Garmin is a Swiss company that has no idea that the map store is a Maine institution, that locals and people from away alike make this place a regular stop.”

Ain’t it the truth.

OK, so the DeLorme Map Store is soon to be history. What then will be the fate of the Maine Atlas & Gazetteer.

No one knows right now. But if the handfuls of atlases in people’s hands in the last week coming out of the store in Yarmouth are any indication, folks aren’t taking any chances.

Will our precious paper copy Maine Atlas & Gazetteer follow the demise of the Map Store? Carey Kish photo.

Will our precious paper copy Maine Atlas & Gazetteer follow the demise of the Map Store? Carey Kish photo.

And will be the fate of Eartha? Carey Kish photo.

And will be the fate of Eartha? Carey Kish photo.

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