George Smith's blog

Stone Mountain Arts Center - Noble House Inn

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 It’s the best place to listen to music in the state. Stone Mountain Arts Center is more than an experience – it is THE experience for music lovers. Combined with a stay at Bridgton’s elegant Noble House Inn, a concert at Stone Mountain is a spectacular Maine get-a-way.


We’ve enjoyed three distinctly different experiences at Stone Mountain: a reading by author and public radio commentator Sarah Vowell, concerts by Pam Tillis and Marc Cohn, and a concert/dance with Steve Riley and the Mamou boys, a Louisianan Cajun band that kept us on the dance floor for much of the evening a few weeks ago.

Kid Steals Governor's Deer Plan Press Conference

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It was the best question ever asked at a governor’s press conference. But before we get to that, let’s shout out to Governor Paul LePage for focusing attention on Maine’s critical deer problems.

And DIF&W’s Commissioner, Chandler Woodcock, deserves special recognition for launching this effort in his second week on the job. A lot of key department staff had the plan ready to go, but Woodcock added emphasis to the plan and got the governor to make it a high priority for his administration.

Senator David Trahan also gets much credit for sponsoring a December workshop on deer and working with me to craft our own plan, some of which made it into the department’s plan. I’ll be writing often about both plans.

Sportsmen and Farmers Clash at Legislature

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Quote of the Day

I trust the wisdom of nature, the wisdom of Creation, far more than the selfish and arrogant desires of George Smith and the extremist wing of the Maine hunting community that has gone off the deep end in its unethical and inhumane demonization, persecution and massacre of natural predators such as coyotes.

Robert Goldman, South Portland (by way of Massachusetts).

Today's Hearing

Room 206 in the Cross Office Building was already full when I arrived 20 minutes prior to this afternoon’s hearing on two controversial land access bills. I ended up sitting on the window ledge, even as the crowd spilled out into the corridor. Most were here to oppose the two bills scheduled for public hearing today by the IFW Committee, LDs 223 and 559.

Woodcock Selects IFW Team

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For the first time in its history, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s leadership team will include two women in the top four appointed positions. Commissioner Chandler Woodcock will officially announce his selections for his leadership team on Monday.

Colonel Joel Wilkinson will be reappointed to lead the Maine Warden Service.

Andrea Erskine will be appointed Deputy Commissioner.

Edith Smith will be appointed Director of the Information and Education Division.

Erskine is a well-respected long-time IFW staff member. She’s currently responsible for many key tasks, including the rule-making process where she works with the Commissioner and his Fish and Wildlife Advisory Council. Andrea also coordinates the department’s work at the legislature and is generally at all IFW Committee meetings.She is the first woman to serve as IFW's Deputy Commissioner.

Greenville Inn - a Special Place in a Special Place

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Quick. How long does it take to get to Greenville from Augusta or Waterville? Three hours? Four hours? Five hours?

It takes less than 2 hours, a quick run up I 95 to Newport, then a straight shot north to the foot of Maine’s largest lake. That’s right. You can get to Greenville in about the same time it takes to drive to Bangor. So why don’t you?

When you get to Indian Hill, poised to enter the town, the stunning view of Moosehead will take your breath away.

We spent a recent weekend in Greenville to attend the annual Chocolate Festival on February 20, and discovered – here in the heart of Maine’s outdoor playground – the elegant, formal, friendly and distinctive Greenville Inn.

Brook Trout Group Hears Report

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The Brook Trout Working Group of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife convened this morning to hear a presentation by Moosehead’s fisheries biologist Tim Obrey, and got a pep talk from new Commissioner Chandler Woodcock.

Obrey had a power point presentation on his Moosehead Lake Weir Project.

Information was gathered over the last 2 years. This was the first presentation of the info and no formal report has been written yet. Obrey is waiting for more data before writing a formal and final report.

NEXTera Energy, Plum Creek, and the Natural Resource Education Center in Greenville, were cooperators on the project. Plum Creek put in a road so DIF&W could access a test site on ATVs. NEXTera paid most of the $13,000 cost of weirs that were installed in remote locations.

Moose Day at the Maine Legislature

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It was moose day at the legislature where the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee hosted hearings on three moose bills.

LDs 163, sponsored by Rep. Mike Shaw and 450, sponsored by Rep. Steve Wood, would allow DIF&W to auction some moose permits to Maine guides or sporting lodges. LD 270 would reserve moose permits for Maine Tribes.

Rep. Steve Wood, sponsor of LD 450 that would set aside 100 moose permits for guides, presented a substantially amended version of his original bill that expanded the auction of 100 permits to incorporated guides and sporting camps.

Rep. Shaw presented his bill that limits the auction of 100 permits to sporting camps. He believes more money will be spent by customers if a lodge is involved.

Skip Trask of the Maine Professional Guides Association testified in favor of LDs 163 and 450.

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