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.

Bar Harbor woman presents important information about Lyme Disease

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                “A man walks into a bar – no, wait, this is no joke. A man walks into a clinic with an embedded, engorged tick, a tender, one-inch red rash forming around it. He is not offered treatment because the tick was attached less than 24 hours.”

                So begins a really informative column by Emily Bracale that anyone concerned about Lyme disease should read – and that’s all of us, isn’t it?

                Emily continues, “He doesn’t want to argue, is afraid antibiotics would mess with his gut anyway and goes home. This is the beginning of many people’s story of how ‘early stage’ Lyme became chronic.”

Cold Blood, Hot Sea by Charlene D’Avanzo

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Charlene D’Avanzo has come up with a clever and entertaining way to teach us something about climate change: a novel featuring an intriguing who-done-it, plenty of tension, and a compelling story that kept me glued to the book for two evenings.

Cold Blood, Hot Sea, published by Torrey House Press, puts oceanographer Mara Tusconi in a very tough and life-threatening situation, involving everything from big oil to lobsters. It’s a great who-done-it, for sure, but I also enjoyed the details about climate change that D’Avanzo slides into the story.

After Mara’s friend Peter is killed in a very strange accident on board a research vessel, she becomes determined to figure out if it was an accident, and if not, then who killed him and why. She gets into some very dangerous situations herself, and I won’t spoil this by telling you more.

The Maine outdoors has changed a lot in my lifetime

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 On Friday, I spoke to the Portland Rotary about how our outdoor activities and experiences have changed in my lifetime. Today I share that speech with you.

Portland Rotary Speech

I must thank Rusty Atwood for this invitation. He emphasized – several times – the 30 minute limit, including questions and comments. Rusty knows I could talk for hours, especially about this topic, – How Maine has changed in my lifetime.

Tom Doak gets caught in the Wildfire

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 From Sunday hunting to picking edible crops on private land, my Wildlife co-host James Cote and I covered lots of hot topics with Tom Doak of the Small Woodland Owners Association, on the new edition of our TV talk show that kicks off tonight.

Each edition of Wildlife is aired on Time Warner cable station 9 on Tuesdays at 7 pm, Thursdays at 6:30 pm, and Sundays at 9:30 am. Each edition airs for two weeks. You can also access the show, including previous shows, online at

One major topic was discontinued roads, which many Mainers use to get into the woods to hunt, fish, hike, bird watch, and enjoy other outdoor experiences. Tom and SWOAM have been working on this issue for many years, and won a major victory at the legislature this year. He tells you all about it on Wildfire.

Maine once had 50 fish hatcheries or feeding stations

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                 The latest edition of the newsletter of the Maine Historical Society contained a link to a very interesting story detailing the history of fish hatcheries in Maine. I was astonished to learn that between 1895 and 1956, the state operated about 50 hatcheries or feeding stations. Today, DIF&W operates just 6 hatcheries and two feeding stations, amd hatchery in Gray is now closed due to a water problem.

class="MsoNormal">                The story, written by Candace Kanes for the Maine Memory Network, reports that, “The state's first fish hatchery was at Craig Brook in East Orland, started in 1871, and rebuilt in 1880. It became a National Fish Hatchery in 1889, dedicated to raising and stocking juvenile Atlantic salmon in Maine.

Brook trout specialist tells it like it is

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 “Our instream habitat around the state is the pits.” Those were the words of Merry Gallagher, brook trout specialist and fisheries research biologist for Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, explaining that, in the days of floating logs down our brooks and streams, those waters were straightened out by bulldozers and dynamite, and a lot of  the structure, including boulders, was removed.

Merry is a superb champion for our native and wild brook trout, and highly respected around the state for her work. It was a real pleasure to attend her talk in Wayne on July 13, sponsored by the Kennebec Land Trust.

Merry also expressed concern about climate change, reporting that “In many areas for brook trout, we are exceeding the thermal tolerance of these fish.”

Fish Won’t Let Me Sleep by James Babb

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Jim Babb had we worried in the first few chapters of his book, Fish Won’t Let Me Sleep, as he wrote about his obsession with Atlantic salmon, “the fish of 10,000 casts.” I know, I know. Atlantic salmon are so hard to catch that the common description is “the fish of 1,000 casts.” For Babb, sometimes, it’s 10,000 casts. Yet he confessed to being obsessed with Atlantic salmon.

I’ve only caught one Atlantic salmon in my life, when I was brook trout fishing on the Leaf River in far northern Quebec. I fished for them once in the Penobscot River in Bangor, in the 1970s, caught nothing, and moved on.  So I was afraid Jim’s new book was going to focus on a fish I quickly lost interest in.

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