George Smith's blog

It's All About Culverts

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We’ll be taping a Wildfire TV show next Wednesday with Pat Sirois, Director of Maine’s Sustainable Forestry Initiative, to discuss his exciting Fisheries Improvement Network. Among his many projects, Pat is leading the way to better culvert installations that allow fish passage. That is one of the biggest things that can be done to improve fisheries in our state. Tens of thousands of culverts now block fish from getting to their spawning grounds.

While you wait for this Wildfire show to air, you can check out a ten minute video that delivers FIN’s message about the need for improved fish passage and upgraded stream crossings. Please bring the video to the attention of anyone in your area who is involved in road work that involves culverts and stream crossings. You will find it here:

Picnicking in Paradise

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These are the ingredients for a fine Maine picnic: a basket full of your favorite foods, a stunning view in an uncrowded place you can get to without paying a fee, and plenty of time to savor the experience with family and friends.

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Hunting Goes South

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 If you are planning to hunt this fall in Maine, you are probably hunting in southern Maine. The majority of deer and turkeys are now hunted and killed in the state’s southern counties. Maine Sunday Telegram outdoor reporter Deirdre Fleming analyzed 12 years’ worth of tagging station data for her very interesting story published on July 28, 2013.

Maine’s 8 southern counties, with just 20 percent of the state’s land, registered 50 percent of the 350,000 deer and 66 percent of the 70,000 turkeys killed in the last 12 years in the state. As deer disappeared in the north woods over the past six years, the move south has been even more pronounced for deer hunters- by far the largest group of hunters in Maine.

Scott Lindsay, southern Maine wildlife biologist for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, told Fleming, “There is plenty of undeveloped land in southern Maine. There is plenty of hunting, and a very strong wildlife population. I see it in every town I go into.”

Selah Tea Cafe is a great gathering place

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 Selah Tea Café on Waterville’s Main Street is a great gathering place where customers are encouraged to linger, with wonderfully creative and healthy food – plus awesome pastries baked by Grammy.

And they also offer a great takeout service.

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George's Outdoor Pickes - Bukrap Vest

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Blog posts labeled “George’s Outdoor Picks” will tell you about my favorite things from books to bullets to binoculars, fly rods to flashlights, focusing on what’s new. I do get a lot of products to try, some great, some good, some not so good. In these posts, I’ll only be telling you about the best. Each Pick post will include my super-large toothbrush, perfect for anyone with a big mouth!

Maine-made Vest Carries It All!

After speaking at the annual convention of Maine’s retired teachers last spring, I met, by a lucky chance, Marsha Auster and Joan Tankey, who excitedly told me about their Maine-made Bukrap vest. Always on the lookout for outdoor products to tell you about, I quickly ordered one. And boy, am I glad I did.

This vest is all I need to hike, birdwatch, cross country ski, and enjoy my other favorite outdoor adventures. I’ve even started wearing it while fishing from my kayak or canoe. It is easier to access my tackle, stored in the side mesh pockets, than it is from a tackle box.

Trail cameras now require landowner permission

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            Sportsmen got caught up in a blazing battle between police agencies and civil libertarians at the legislature this year. The result requires anyone putting a camera on private land to have the landowner’s written permission or a warrant issued by a Judge.

            The Maine Civil Liberties Union had much success in the past legislative session, aggressively fighting for our rights of privacy. Restrictions were achieved on a variety of spying methods, from drones to cameras.

Craignnair Inn and Puffin Cruise = fabulous (and affordable) summer-get-away

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Saint George
Port Clyde
Spruce Head
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 Egg Rock was covered in colorful puffins and our cruise, followed by dinner and overnight at the Craignair Inn, made for a great – and affordable – summer-get-away.

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