Don’t drive by Bath!

City or Town: 
Bath
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 George

                A great get-a-way awaits you in Bath. That’s right, Bath. Perhaps you’ve driven by the city many times on Route 1 and never stopped. What a pity. With a vibrant downtown, great restaurants, one of our favorite inns, and the fascinating Maritime Museum  – well, we just love this place.

                And love it we did, for two days at the end of February, staying at the Inn at Bath where owner Elizabeth Knowlton knows how to pamper her guests, including providing ceramic cups, heated on a tray, for your early morning coffee. This was our second stay here and Elizabeth greeted us like long lost friends, which we now are.

Legislature debating DIF&W’s marketing and communications needs

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 On March 2, I posted a column about communications and marketing at Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. You should read that column before you read this one.

After the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee heard the recommendations from national experts Mark Duda and Jodi Valenta that would improve communications and marketing at DIF&W, committee members bore in to try to figure out what could and should be done. Representative Patrick Corey asked two good questions: Where do we start? How do we scale this into priorities? 

Duda suggested that the agency start with the look of their information and website. Valenta suggested starting with the top recommendations (rather than the bottom, including funding). Organize the staff to achieve this goal, for example, as recommended. A lot of the recommendations focused on getting earned media rather than paid media. Work with the media to get these messages out, she said – that will help start the process.

If you can’t kill ‘em, what can you do about problem critters?

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 If you’ve got a wild animal that is destroying your property or threatening your pets, and you are not a killer, here’s some advice for how you can get rid of that critter. This is the final column in a four-part series titled What can I shoot and when can I shoot it? 

The third column is the most important, spelling out what you can shoot and when you can shoot it. I will include that column at the end of this one in case you missed this important information. Essentially, you can’t shoot anything without a hunting license, with this exception: “a person may lawfully kill, or cause to be killed, any wild animal or wild turkey, night or day, found in the act of attacking, worrying or wounding that person's domestic animals or domestic birds or destroying that person's property.” Any animals killed under this statute must be reported within 12 hours to the Maine Warden Service.

Will the legislature improve DIF&W’s communications and marketing? Probably not!

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 Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife must improve its communications with sportsmen, landowners, and the general public, and reinstate its marketing program. Luckily, they’ve been handed a road map to achieve those goals. And the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife spent an afternoon recently hearing about that road map.

Bonnie Holding, DIF&W Director of Information and Education, started the briefing with an accounting of what the agency is doing currently to communicate with their customers and the general public, and explaining that they had contracted with Mark Duda and Responsive Management, “to develop a plan that will raise overall awareness of Maine’s residents of MDIFW’s mission, programs and projects and measurably increase support of and participation in these programs. The overall plan will include marketing, communications, and public relations.”

Loon Lodge offers an historic, beautiful, and tasty get-a-way

City or Town: 
Rangeley
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 Linda 

                "Sometimes you just need to get away," says a quote on Loon Lodge’s website. And this is certainly the place to do that.

                Ariale’s friendly greeting when we arrived got us off to a great start, and as she gave us a tour, I was transported back in time. Enormous round logs are support beams and brace the ceiling in the Great Room, anchored by a huge fireplace with a stone chimney. The "Old Hickory" couches and chairs have log frames with deep cushioned seats. George and I spent a lot of time in this room that emits a feeling of an era gone by, rustic but at the same time elegant. Large windows open to a deck that affords a stunning view of Rangeley Lake.

New fish hatchery proposed to expand fish stocking

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 Will an increase in stocked fish define Maine’s fishing future? The legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee apparently thinks so. The Committee, by a unanimous vote, endorsed a proposal for a $28 million bond issue to construct a new hatchery.

Last year Representative Russell Black submitted a bill at my request that got quite a bit of discussion, but a disappointing result. In my testimony for the bill, I reported on problems with stocking policies, genetics of brook, brown, and rainbow trout, and high costs and low catch rates. Our bill would have created a Hatchery Commission to:

1)     

Examine the costs of production, the numbers and species of fish stocked, and the return on stocked fish, both in Maine and in other states;

Wait until you see these carvings!

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 Wayne Robbins calls his amazing woodcarvings “Celebrating Creatures of the Sea.” And that he does, magnificently.

Linda and I stopped by Wayne’s shop in Bath last week and were captivated by his stories and his work. Wayne taught biology for 33 years in Bath before moving on to the local college for 12 years, but he developed an early interest in carving, beginning as a boy scout, making lobster plugs. He also lobstered until he was a senior in college. He’s led a lot of whale-watching trips and for a long time served as a marine mammal rescuer. No wonder he loves to carve whales!

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