The snows gone but the garbage remains

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 Road slobs had a busy winter. When I stopped my garbage walks, after snow piled along the roadsides and hid the garbage tossed out by road slobs, the side of the road from my house to the corner of the Blake Hill Road, and then up Route 41 past my woodlot, were clean.

So it was discouraging today to set out with two bags, one for bottles and cans and one for garbage, and fill both up on just one side of the road. Tomorrow I’ll tackle the other side.

On my last garbage walk of 2015, I found an anniversary card signed by Peg and Ray, and a receipt from the Waterville McDonald’s offering me an opportunity to buy one quarter pounder or egg mcmuffin and get one free. I couldn’t use that because I got so disgusted by all the garbage from fast food restaurants, especially McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts, that I now refuse to eat at either place.

Legislature acts to strengthen hunting, fishing, and trapping

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 The legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee voted unanimously yesterday to strengthen the language in the Fish and Wildlife’s mission statement. It’s been a long road getting here, especially considering that the amended version of LD 1593 contains only 19 words. But those 19 words are important.

This story begins with a proposal from the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine designed to discourage wildlife ballot initiatives like the 2014 bear referendum. As described in the summary, “This bill establishes contingent wildlife management provisions that become effective when an initiated ballot measure is approved that reduces wildlife management methods available to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The provisions of this bill only apply to the animals that are significantly effected either directly or indirectly by the approved ballot measure.”

It’s never been easier to express your opinions on big game management

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 For the first time, Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is reaching out to all of us and inviting us to participate in the preparation of new management plans for our big game animals: deer, moose, bear, and turkeys. In public meetings and an online forum, you can be heard on all the issues that are important to you. I hope you will not miss this unprecedented opportunity.

Let’s start with the online forum. You’ll find it here, at Since the forum opened on March 1, only 13 comments were posted on turkeys, 14 on deer, 2 on moose, and surprisingly, just one on bear. You can simply post your thoughts on one or all of these big game animals and management of them, or get into an online discussion of the issues that concern you.

DIF&W’s Questions

Maine anglers don’t care if they catch a big fish, or even a lot of fish.

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 Most Maine anglers don’t care if they catch a big fish, or even a lot of fish. According to a survey by Mark Duda of Responsive Management, 31% of Maine anglers fish primarily to spend time with family and friends. Another 31 percent fish for relaxation (that is not a fish species). Only 1 percent is out there trying to catch large fish. And 9 percent fish to be close to nature.

This reminded me of this statement, written by John Buchan:

The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.”

Apparently, we’re not all hoping for the same thing!

Survey finds Maine anglers very happy. Are you?

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 Good news! You are very happy with your fishing experiences in Maine. You think the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife does a superb job of managing fisheries. You have no problem understanding the fishing rules. And many of you don’t even care if you catch a fish – it’s all about the outdoor experience.

Unbelievable, you say? Well, those were some of the surprising survey results presented by Mark Duda of Responsive Management to DIF&W’s Fisheries Steering Committee, the group that is working with the agency to create new management plans for all fish species.

Steering Committee members were very skeptical of the survey results. “I think this satisfaction level is unbelievable,” said Committee member Fern Bosse, representing the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. “Where are all those people who think the agency is doing great? I don’t see them.”

Don’t drive by Bath!

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                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.

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