Will the legislature kick landowner relations down the road?

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                We have spent 10 frustrating years trying to create an effective and comprehensive landowner relations program at a state agency. This is so important to our present and our future, for all of us who recreate on private land. And that is all of us, isn’t it?


The Bill


There's lots to do inside and outside the Bethel Inn

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                Western Maine is a particularly beautiful area and Bethel is one of our favorite towns to visit. There always seems to be something happening here. We've visited during peak fall foliage, and cross country skied here in the winter. We've come for their Harvest Fest celebration set up in the Town Common, and George loves to fish the river and ponds in this area. In fact, while I judged pies at Harvest Fest, he competed in a fishing contest. Bethel is a four season destination and the town capitalizes on this fact offering events throughout the year.

The Precipice by Paul Doiron

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If you’ve never read one of Paul Doiron’s novels, you are in for a summer of fun, because he just added novel number six to his group of engagingly fast reads of stories featuring a Maine game warden. And while I enjoyed every one of Paul’s novels, I do think he is getting better and better.

The plot in his new book, The Precipice, hits close to home with the disappearance of two girls on the Appalachian Trail’s Hundred Mile Wilderness. Warden Mike Bowditch is front and center in the search, along with his girlfriend Stacy, a wildlife biologist, and there are enough suspects to keep you guessing – and reading.

Will the legislature act to save Maine’s hunting and fishing economy?

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                The recent study by national experts, paid for by the Maine Tourism Commission, didn’t really tell us much that we don’t already know. Here’s what we read about hunting in the first paragraph of the 128 page report.

                The number of sportsmen who come to Maine to fish and hunt, particularly hunters, is of concern due to the declining numbers over the past decade. In the most recent five-year period from 2009 through 2013, the change in numbers of licenses to hunt and fish in Maine has been mostly negative. Among nonresidents, Maine has lagged New England and the United States with a 20% drop in the number of hunting licenses, tags and permits (Figure E1).


Can Maine reverse the decline in its hunting and fishing economy?

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                 Eleven years ago, Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife received a series of marketing recommendations from national experts. None of the recommendations were ever implemented. In fact, since the study was received, the agency abolished its marketing position and budget.

                On Tuesday, April 28, the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee has scheduled a hearing on LD 668, An Act to Market Maine’s Hunting and Fishing Opportunities, sponsored by Representative Bob Duchesne at my request. This bill would establish a comprehensive marketing program at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, led and coordinated by a dedicated marketing specialist.

Battle of the St. Croix Not Settled Yet

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The Maine Legislature is about to RUIN some of the BEST fishing found in the North East. The Entire St. Croix River Basin is at Risk!

This huge black-highlighted text was at the top of a half-page newspaper headline in my Kennebec Journal on April 18, sponsored by the Grand Lake Stream Guide Association. The ad summarizes the Association’s case against allowing alewives to move from the St. Croix River up and into the Upper St. Croix Lakes.

I’ve been involved in this Battle of the St. Croix for two decades and it’s a fierce one. Initially, in the mid-1990s, when I worked for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, I testified in favor of a bill to block alewives from entering the lakes. And we succeeded. At that time, Maine’s Departments of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Marine Resources differed on the issue with DIF&W supporting the blockage and DMR opposing it. Our side won and a barrier was constructed to keep alewives out of the lakes.

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.

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