Blogs

Legislature considers protection for trout and salmon from gold dredging

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 Like a quiet western Maine stream that harbors one of the state’s most precious resources, a bill to protect the habitat of those trout by banning gold dredging is quietly working its way downstream through the legislature. But like the soon-to-be-stunning spring runoff of snow, LD 1671 is about to make a big splash in Augusta. Or maybe not.

Here’s the situation. A battle between brook trout advocates, led by Trout Unlimited and Maine Audubon, and gold diggers, led by the Maine Gold Prospectors, has been staged over the last couple of years. But unlike some legislative standoffs lately, this one has come to a great collaborative conclusion, and a compromise amended version of the bill has emerged from the Energy and Natural Resources Committee with a favorable 11 to 2 vote.

45 North is the crown jewel of dining spots at Sugarloaf

City or Town: 
Carrabassett Valley
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 Linda

About a year and a half ago Boyne Resorts took over the food operations at Sugarloaf which had previously been run by a concession company. Chef Rob Keen and his staff at this mountain resort complex have been working hard to change the percentage of purchased product versus food made from scratch. Where once 80% of the resort-wide food was purchased, now 80% is made from scratch.

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Governor wants to slam the door on federal government

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 It’s gotten no publicity, but next Tuesday the legislature’s Judiciary Committee will host a public hearing on Governor Paul LePage’s proposal to slam the door on the federal government. This will be a surprise to many. I certainly had not heard of it until someone alerted me to it yesterday – ironically at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

Sponsored for the Governor by Senator Doug Thomas, LD 1828, according to the bill’s summary, “amends the blanket consent that is statutorily given by the State to the Federal Government to acquire lands required for various government purposes. The bill limits the consent to the acquisition of land not exceeding 5 square miles.”

It appears that the Governor and Senator Thomas are aiming this at Elliotsville Plantation’s proposed national park adjacent to Baxter State Park. They might want to tread carefully here, because the Governor’s Office of Tourism has set ambitious goals to increase visitors to Maine this year.

Maine man’s walk across America filled with danger, colorful characters, beauty, and great stories

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 Somehow Nate Damm, tossing aside everything in his life to walk 3,200 miles across America, confused and alone, became a wonderful writer. Maybe it happened in Kansas, because despite all the warnings to avoid that state, Nate loved it. You tend to do well the things you love.

And finally, 3 years later, we have a book to prove that I am right about Nate’s writing. Life on Foot – A Walk Across America is compelling, often funny, sometimes sad, definitely inspiring.  And darn that Nate, he launched his book before I got mine out there. He beat me by four days! Somewhat ironically, my book is titled A Life Lived Outdoors. But my outdoor adventures can’t top Nate’s!

Like wine? Read Layne!

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Layne Witherell's fascinating account of his life in the wine biz is best enjoyed with a glass of delicious chardonnay and a bite of just-off-the-boat steamed lobster. When I asked him for a recommendation of a wine to enjoy with his self-published book, Wine Maniacs, the chardonnay and lobster were his suggestions.

You may want to pause right now to get those out and ready, to enjoy while read this review!

I follow Layne’s wine recommendations religiously, so it made sense to ask him for guidance. In retirement, after a long and illustrious career in the wine business, Layne now works at Trader Joe’s in Portland, where he has saved me a lot of money with his wise wine advice.

Goals of Maine Game Plan for Deer remain elusive and expensive

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 While Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife does a good job of researching and managing deer, the state’s Game Plan for Deer appears to be achieving little and costing a lot. A March 6 “Benchmark Report” on the plan, presented to the legislature’s IFW Committee on March 6, is not very encouraging.

I have posed a series of questions to the professionals at DIF&W, based on what I read in the report, and hope to have the answers for you in the next column on deer. This is my third in a series on deer management and issues. Here are a few highlights in the report that jumped out at me.

Delicious Dining at Darby's

City or Town: 
Belfast
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You might call this review historic, given that Darby’s is in a Belfast building that has housed a restaurant for 140 years. Jerry and Gail Savits are relatively new at this, given the history here.

They purchased and restored Darby’s in 1985. So I guess you can say they’ve covered 20 percent of the restaurant’s history!

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