Sportsman's Congress and More

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No news this morning from the LePage team about a Commissioner for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Two of the six candidates interviewed by the Transition Team made it to the finals, getting an interview with Paul Lepage: Chandler Woodcock and John Boland. It’s very likely one of those will be IFW’s new commissioner. Hopefully we’ll know soon.

Big news approaches about the sale of 1 million acres of Maine forestland now owned by GMO. I’ve been asked to keep most of the information confidential at this point, but I can tell you that the privilege of access to all of this land will continue. These lands stretch all across Maine and include property in Washington, Aroostook, Penobscot, Oxford, and Franklin Counties. It is unlikely that you will notice any changes in the management of these lands or our opportunities to use them.

SAM’s 16th annual Sportsman’s Congress (photo above) was another success, held last Friday at SAM’s Augusta conference center. The Congress brings outdoor leaders together once a year to hear about the major issues, challenges, projects, and opportunities that face us in the coming year. This was the last event I organized for SAM, and completed the tasks in my last contract with the organization.

Now I turn to writing, full-time, although I plan to tackle other projects of particular interest, like the deer action plan I am now creating in partnership with Senator David Trahan. I hope to share the final draft of the plan here in my blog sometime soon. Dave, Rep. Paul Davis, and I met with DIF&W wildlife staff last week and heard their reaction to the first draft of the plan. I then made changes based on their input and the revised plan went back to DIF&W today. We hope to brief Governor LePage on the plan soon and win his support and sponsorship. Senate President Kevin Raye has already committed to sponsor any bill, on behalf of the Governor, that is needed to implement the deer action plan.

I’m also working on the creation of a comprehensive landowner relations program, following a very successful landowner relations conference sponsored by SAM and the Small Woodland Owners Association on December 9, 2010. I’ll share the introduction to that plan with you soon, probably later this week.

Finally, I’d like to call your attention to two International Biathlon Events scheduled for February in Aroostook County. Two great outdoor activities, skiing and shooting, combined into one blockbuster event.

It’s the biggest Maine event you’ve never heard of. The numbers tell an amazing story. Three hundred athletes including many Olympic medallists from 30 countries. Thirty five thousand spectators. An immediate  $10 million economic impact. Four hundred trained volunteers. One hundred twenty million television viewers around the world.

For more information, check out www.DiscoverNorthernMaine.com.

 

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