George's Outdoor News

George’s new outdoor issues blog. He goes all over the state. He listens. And he reports on issues of concern to sportsmen, conservationists, and environmentalists.

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.

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

 

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.

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.

Updated Profiles of Fish and Wildlife Committee Members

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Senator Thomas Martin of Waterville and Representative Paul Davis of Sangerville will chair the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee. Eleven members of the committee were endorsed or received grades of “A” from the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine in the 2010 election. That means they have already made many commitments to sportsmen. We’ll explore those commitments in a later blog.

Eight members of the IFW Committee return from last session’s committee, although the chairs are new, thanks to a Republican take-over of the Senate and House. Rep. Herb Clark, who served as the committee’s House Chair last session, returns as the Democrat’s lead (Ranking Minority Member) on the committee this session.

You can access information about legislative committee assignments and the legislators themselves at the excellent legislative website: www.maine.gov. Biographies and other information about many legislators are available at www.votesmart.org.

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