Roger AuClair: a renowned and revered fisheries biologist

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 Roger AuClair should never be forgotten. I especially appreciated his relentless advocacy for our native brook trout. Along with fisheries biologist Forrest Bonney, Roger helped me to understand how important Maine’s native and wild brook trout are, and inspired me to work to protect and enhance them.

With leadership from the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, especially SAM’s Fisheries Initiative Committee, we were able to convince the legislature to designate brook trout as our state’s Heritage Fish and to protect them in waters that have never been stocked.

But Roger AuClair was way ahead of us on this. Here’s something he once said, “I have never agreed to using live fish as bait, which is a danger because it can result in unwanted introductions and cause all sorts of problems. But it’s so well entrenched world-wide, you can’t even talk about it. It’s all about business.”

If you love camping, you will really love this new air mattress

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 My wife Linda and I stopped tenting years ago. We enjoy being pampered now, and our travel column gives us that opportunity from coastal inns to north woods sporting camps. But all of our children and grandchildren enjoy tenting and camping, so I arranged for son Josh to receive the SoundAsleep Camping Series air mattress, a low rise inflatable mattress.

And – as you will see in this report from Josh – he and his wife Kelly and 2-year-old daughter Ada loved it.

Josh’s Comments

These adventures of baby otters are very entertaining!

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Sammy, Swifty, and Newsome are baby otters, and their adventures – and hard lessons learned – are the subject of Otter Tales, a kid’s book written by Kathleen Morrissey.

Morrissey has written three other children’s books, Walter and Mike Get Their Own Fun Park Pool, Bunny Foodie Adventures, and The Lonely Noodle. I have not read any of those, but I’m going to get them to read to my granddaughter Ada, who will love Otter Tales.

Otter Tales is short enough to read in a single sitting or easily in two sittings. But knowing Ada, she won’t want me to stop reading!

That will be especially true when the sea lion shows up! And the story of the boys gathering and opening clam shells with a rock are very entertaining. I even learned how to find the tastiest urchins and abalone, although they may not be added to my shoreside lunch anytime soon!

Fascinating stories from the Allagash

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I’ve enjoyed Tom Caverly’s books over the years, both his books for adults and his books for kids. But I think his newest book, The Ranger and the Reporter, is my favorite.

I particularly appreciate the “New England Reads” literacy project that Tim and his wife Sue have been doing since 2015, providing 157 power point programs to almost 6,000 students. They encourage literacy and learning about our natural world, and have donated over 1500 of Tim’s book, Allagash Tail’s, to 133 New England schools.

Fish stocking depends on public access to the water

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 Maine waters are stocked with fish only when the public is able to access the water. I’ve been concerned for years that the stocking policy of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is vague, and not enforced uniformly throughout the state. So I’ve been asking some questions lately about this, and I’m hoping you can help me on this project.

My interest in this issue was raised again by a recent story in the Kennebec Journal by reporter Jessica Lowell. Here’s Jessica’s report about the town of Washington’s annual town meeting:

Town Residents took no action on expanding the boat launch just off Route 105 on the southern end of Washington Pond. “It was develop a hand-carry,” Wesley (Daniel, chair of the board of selectmen) said. The launch can accommodate boats that can be put in the water by hand – canoes and kayaks, for instance. Larger boats that require trailers aren’t allowed, he said, in part because parking is limited.

The new edition of Wildlife is all about Maine sporting camps.

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 Will we have any sporting camps in Maine in 25 years? Good question! We’ve gone from more than 300 to about 3 dozen of the traditional sporting camps, where there’s a lodge serving food and cabins for sleeping. Many sporting camps today offer only housekeeping cabins, and then there are new types of camps including Huts and Trails.

The new edition of Wildfire, airing tonight, explores this issue and many more, all focused on the challenges faced by camp owners today and the great experiences still available at our remaining sporting camps.

My co-host James Cote was retained this year to be the lobbyist at the legislature and Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for the Maine Sporting Camp Association.

And Down East Books just published my book, Maine Sporting Camps. We tell you all about the book and what I learned while writing it.

Every middle-schooler (and you too) should read this novel

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                 Susan Ross’s book is a “middle grade novel” but I thoroughly enjoyed it myself, and I am a very long way from middle school. Kiki and Jacques, a Holiday House Book, delivers a very important and timely message.

              The story features the arrival of Somali refugees to a Maine town dominated by Franco Americans. A young middle schooler, Jacques, who is involved in a difficult family situation, takes an interest in a Somali girl whose brother, a great soccer player, becomes a rival of Jacques on the playing field.

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