George Smith's blog

LePage Listens to Environmentalists

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An outstanding collection of Mainers – including some sportsmen - gathered at the request of Pete Didisheim of the Natural Resource Council of Maine to speak to Governor Paul LePage about environmental issues on January 20 before a live audience of 500 environmentalists at the Augusta Civic Center.

A diverse group of twenty eight people got 90 seconds each to speak to the governor. Those who worked to connect in some real way to the governor and his concerns were the most effective.

Here’s what some of the speakers had to say about public health, wildlife habitat, children, energy, and the economy.

Bucky Owen, former Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said that hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching is a $1.8 billion industry, and DIF&W, which brings in $110 million in General Fund tax revenue, gets none of that revenue back to fund its budget this year. He cited the economic potential of this industry, with a specific pitch for river restoration and alewives.
Jeff Reardon of Trout Unlimited hit a homerun with me when he spoke for Maine’s native brook trout.

Taking a Peak at The Inn on Peaks Island

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 I expected to fall in love with the Inn on Peaks Island. And I did. But I also fell in love with the island.

 Who would have guessed that a couple from rural Maine could find a quiet retreat for a weekend get-a-way in the city? Peaks Island is part of the city of Portland, but it is a small village in a gorgeous ocean setting.

 When Fred Forsley, owner of Shipyard Brewery, invited us to be his guests at his Inn, we jumped at the chance, having heard a lot of good things about the Inn and island. It was perfect for a November weekend get-a-way. We arrived on Friday night in time for dinner and left after breakfast Sunday morning.

Grim and Bear It - LePage Faces Enviros

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Governor Paul LePage took his case for the business environment to those who most value the other environment – the one outside your window – on January 20 at the Augusta Civic Center. Over 500 environmentalists turned out, many of them worried by what they’d been hearing from the new governor about rolling back environmental rules and protections.

Pete Didisheim of the Natural Resource Council of Maine did a superb job of organizing the 90-minute event to give environmentalists an opportunity to express their hopes and concerns to Maine’s new governor. Twenty eight people with diverse backgrounds and interests got 90 seconds each to speak to the Governor.

Governor LePage looked grim, not even cracking a smile when speakers attempted a bit of humor, but he was paying intense attention. He asked speakers to stand so he could see them. He took notes.

Finally, when his ordeal was over, he offered a bit of his own humor and finally cracked a smile. One speaker had referred to the future when the governor “would return to Mardens.”

Enviros Face Off With Governor Lepage

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You know the saying, no news is good news. Well, we can’t be sure of that when it comes to the selection of a new IFW Commissioner. Rumors are flying but I’ve been able to verify very little.


I’ve heard that the Governor is still interviewing people, which, if true, means he’s probably not going to appoint any of those he interviewed two weeks ago. Rest assured I am using all available means to find out what is going on, and I’ll let you know as soon as I know.


Deer Plan


Book Offers Fascinating Look at Early Maine Wildlife

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“The year 1805 will long be remembered on account of the advent of the wolves from Canada to the State of Maine and other parts of New England. They came in droves, and their howling was a terror to everyone.”


This important event may not be remembered these days, but it won’t be forgotten either, thanks to a valuable new book, Early Maine Wildlife, by William Krohne and Christopher Hoving, published in 2010 by the University of Maine Press.


Drawing from old magazines, journals, and government reports, Krohne and Hoving compiled fascinating accounts about Canada lynx, moose, mountain lions, white-tailed deer, wolverines, wolves, and woodland caribou in the period from 1603 to 1930. Most of the references fall between 1830 and 1930, a period rich with sportsmen’s publications and journals.


IFW Committee Committed to SAM's Agenda

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Most members of the legislature’s Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife joined Governor Paul LePage in endorsing the ambitious legislative agenda of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, in a candidate survey distributed by SAM’s political action committee prior to the November, 2010 election.


IFW Committee members are: Senators Thomas Martin, Dave Trahan, and John Patrick, and Representatives Paul Davis, Ralph Sarty, Dale Crafts, Eleanor Espling, Stacey Guerin, Stephen Wood, Herb Clark, Jane Eberle, Sheryl Briggs, and Michael Shaw.


Comprehensive Statewide Landowner Relations Program

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“I have hunted my whole life on someone else’s land. Why do landowners allow this?”

Bill Vail, former Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife 

Comprehensive Statewide Landowner Relations Plan

Written by George Smith, January 12, 2011

Seventy five people from the recreation and landowner communities and state agencies convened for a landowner relations conference on December 9, 2010. The Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine and Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine hosted the event, with funding help from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund and the Environmental Funders Network. Edie Smith of Maine Directions in Winthrop organized and moderated the event held at SAM’s Augusta conference center.

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