George's Outdoor News

George’s new outdoor issues blog. He goes all over the state. He listens. And he reports on issues of concern to sportsmen, conservationists, and environmentalists.

Lyme disease breaks out at Maine legislature

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                 It’s a great bill addressing a tough disease, but it will have a tough time getting enacted, mostly because it’s a tax hike. I can only hope that legislators understand the terrible consequences of Lyme disease and the spread of ticks and other insects, and recognize the need for money to support the important work that would be funded.

Why doesn’t Maine value its spectacular native Brook trout?

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 It was bad enough when smallmouth bass migrated from Umbagog Lake into the Rapid River to threaten and compete with the river’s spectacular native brook trout. But now, the news is even more discouraging. Our own fisheries biologists have allowed inbred brook trout from a diseased water to infest the Rapid. Their stunning lack of appreciation for Maine’s native brookies is appalling.

Of course, I’m not surprised, given the many years it took the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to get the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to recognize and protect our native brookies. And we had to take the issue to the legislature to accomplish that goal.

Anglers who love the native brook trout in the Rapid River, just west of Rangeley, alerted me to this problem. Here’s what I’ve discovered.

One Maine hunting license could replace more than 60 licenses and permits – for just $38!

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We have a single fishing license. And it’s time for a single hunting license.

Let’s consider what fishing would be like if the licensing system had developed like the hunting license and permit system. We’d have a license for open water fishing and another license for ice fishing. Hunting licenses and permits are required for many different species. So we’d have a fishing permit for brook trout, another for landlocked salmon, a third for nonnative species including bass, maybe one for stocked fish too. Hunting licenses and permits are required for different types of weapons, so we’d have a fishing permit for fly fishing and another for spin casting. When we created fall fishing opportunities, we would have created a fall fishing permit, for sure.

Do you think a complexity of fishing licenses and permits would have encouraged more people to fish in Maine? Perhaps the simplicity of the single fishing license is one reason twice as many people fish as hunt in our state.

Can hunting and fishing rebuild Greenville’s economy?

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The greater Greenville economy has launched a new branding initiative to float its sinking economy. And I was there for the birth.  

Roger Brooks, an internationally-known community branding expert, presented the Moosehead Lake Region Branding Initiative in an exciting speech to a packed auditorium at the Greenville Consolidated School on Friday. I am certain that every one of us left that auditorium excited about what we’d heard and committed to making this happen.

But there were some disappointments, at least for me. For a community that was a major destination for hunters and anglers in the past, neither seems to be part of the new plan. While the community gets to work creating and implementing an Action Plan and To Do list, it is heartbreaking for this lifelong sportsmen to realize that my favorite outdoor activities are no longer considered growth industries.

Hunting and Fishing

Maine conservation and education projects sustained by Poland Spring

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 A lot of important conservation work is funded by Maine’s business community. Today I’ll tell you about one company’s conservation work: Poland Spring Water, owned by Nestle Waters. Poland Spring was a strong supporter of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine during my tenure there, and has continued to support my writing as a sponsor of my website and outdoor news blog.

I’ve enjoyed working with Poland Spring’s Maine staff over the years, including the work we did to transfer use of a hatchery near Kingfield that was purchased by Poland Spring to Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Poland Spring also paid the memberships of any employee that wanted to be a SAM member – and that turned out to be 58 workers!

Worried about Lyme disease? It’s time to speak up!

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Lots of Mainers are very worried about Lyme disease. And it’s my hope that some of them will show up next Thursday, April 16, at 1 pm, at a legislative hearing by the Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee in Room 214 of the Cross Office Building (next to the Capitol), to support and testify in favor of a very important bill.

Sponsored by Representative Russell Black of Wilton, LD 1099 has a long title: An Act to Establish a Fund for the Operations and Outreach Activities of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Animal and Plant Disease and Insect Control Laboratory. But the concept is really simple.

Never on Sunday for Maine Hunters

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Question: What is allowed in 46 other states, but never in Maine?

 

Answer: Hunting on Sunday.

 

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