Josh Stahl has never been one to flee the great outdoors. What started out as a childhood interest quickly turned into Stahl’s passion. Now, at only 30 years old, Stahl is living his dream job working in Presque Isle.
NEAR ISLE, Maine – Josh Stahl has never been one to flee the great outdoors. What started out as a childhood interest quickly turned into Stahl’s passion. Now, at only 30 years old, Stahl is living his dream job working in Presque Isle.
Josh Stahl is the Outdoor Program Director for the Presque Isle Parks and Recreation Department. He started in March 2020, and since then he has made it his mission to share his passion for the outdoors with the community of Presque Isle.
Stahl grew up in Millinocket and in his youth enjoyed sports such as hockey and football, and spent his free time in the woods, hiking and biking. He was also very involved in archery, becoming proficient with a bow and even winning medals in competitions.
Stahl decided to take his love of the outdoors and try to incorporate it into his education. He attended the University of Maine at Presque Isle in 2009 to study criminal justice in the hopes of becoming a game ranger.
Over time, he met other students who were participating in the school’s recreation degree program. Changing his career path to recreation aligned with his preference for designing outdoor programs rather than monitoring them.
After college, Stahl became a recreation guide in his hometown of Millinocket at the age of 21. He went on to obtain Basic Emergency Medical Services Certification and did this work on and off for four years.
Just before he started working for Presque Isle, Stahl was looking to become a customs and border patrol officer, but his sight prevented him from getting the job at the time. He then underwent surgery to correct his sight problem.
After that, Stahl learned from a friend that Presque Isle was looking for a new outdoor events coordinator. So Stahl returned to his alma mater’s hometown, and the rest is history.
“It seemed like a really good opportunity,” Stahl said.
Since arriving in March 2020, Stahl has gone to great lengths to make the outdoors as accessible as possible. He has put together an adult archery program for the spring and fall, building on his experience with the sport. He took part in mountain biking, kayaking and even entertaining games in the park.
“Kids are on the phone all the time these days,” Stahl said. “When I was young, we didn’t have all of that. We got together with some friends and played Scatter and Capture the Flag. Stahl used these memories to help a new generation of children enjoy the games of his childhood.
Stahl’s main goal is to expand access to outdoor programming in Presque Isle so that as many people as possible can enjoy the outdoors. While it can be difficult to find the target audience, Stahl has tried to break into other digital platforms, such as Instagram and Tik Tok.
Stahl finds inspiration in his good friend Andy Borth, a park ranger at Baxter State Park, who inspired him to become a river guide and helped launch his career in the outdoor recreation world. He said he was also inspired by Presque Isle recreation and parks director Gene Cronin, who put his own passion into the recreation department, giving Stahl a desire to do more.
Josh Stahl’s outdoor experience speaks for itself, and with his goal of expanding access to outdoor recreation, he is ready to continue to do a great job for the city of Presque Isle.
“Keep your eyes open and go out there and try something new,” Stahl said. “We’re doing great things, and this might be an experience you might not have thought of.”