Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: May 11, 2023

Machias innkeepers add ATV rentals to serve a growing market

2 people standing with ATVs Courtesy / Sarah Craighead Dedmon Ryle and Brecken Mortland of Machias started an ATV rental business, Downeast Adventures, that offers Polaris RZR 1000XPs.

There’s a lot of conversation about how to entice younger Maine residents to remain in their home state as they enter the workforce.

Twenty-something entrepreneurs in Washington County are creating their own reason to stay.

Husband-and-wife team Ryle and Brecken Mortland of Machias have been in the hospitality business for three years.

After hearing guests express a common desire to ride the Down East Sunrise Trail, they recently started an additional ATV rental business, Downeast Adventures, which offers Polaris RZR 1000XPs.

“We're passionate about exploring the great outdoors, and we're thrilled to be able to share that passion with the community and tourists alike,” said Ryle Mortland, who is from Presque Isle and graduated from Northern Maine Community College with a two-year degree in business administration.

The Mortlands have a family background in the area. Brecken grew up in Machias. Her father is Larry Barker, president and CEO of Machias Savings Bank, whose family moved to Machias from Bangor when he was a child.

Her uncle and aunt are Machias natives David and Julie Barker. In 2004, the Barkers purchased and began renovating a farmhouse that became the Inn at Schoppee Farm.

In 2019, the Mortlands bought the inn. The following year, they bought the Margaretta Inn, also in Machias.

Guests were often interested in renting ATVs to use on the Down East Sunrise Trail, an 87-mile multi-use corridor that passes through the town.

“Last July, I decided we should do something about that,” said Ryle Mortland.

After researching the options, he settled on Polaris, a Medina, Minn.-based leader in the power sports industry.

As an authorized Polaris outfitter, Downeast Adventures pays the company a program fee of about $6,000 per month to use six ATVs for six months from late May into November. The following year, Polaris will send six new machines.

“So they’re always brand-new machines,” said Mortland.

The program includes a $17 million umbrella insurance policy. Downeast Adventures invested another $3,500 or so in helmets and goggles of various sizes.

The investments were financed through personal funds.

The Mortlands plan to expand their own knowledge of the trail by doing a whole lot of riding this summer.

The trail opens Memorial Day weekend and Mortland said he’s ready for business.

“We hope it will attract more people to Machias,” he said of the rentals. “Then all of the businesses here will benefit.”

Sign up for Enews

Related Content


Order a PDF