DIF&W Dollars Go Down the Drain

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A final grasp for public support went down the drain for Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife last week when the legislature killed Senator Kevin Raye’s LD 1652, An Act to Ensure a Reliable Funding Stream for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

 

The bill was an attempt by Raye, President of the Maine Senate, in collaboration with the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, Maine Audubon, and The Nature Conservancy, to find a revenue stream that would give DIF&W the public support and funding we’ve been seeking for decades.

While a lot of different possibilities were explored, the one they settled on was a small percentage of the sales tax, an idea that enjoyed overwhelming support from legislators last year, in a Constitutional amendment that carried in the House by two-thirds but fell two votes short of the two-thirds needed in the Senate.

Adventure Awaits in Maine's North Woods

City or Town: 
Greenville
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A group of mostly nonresidents were enjoying a spectacular LL Bean Discovery School adventure when we arrived at the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Gorman Chairback Camps 13 miles east of Greenville.

This is high-end comfort at reasonable prices, just the type of adventure that many of today’s travelers seek. Good food, historic camps, in the heart of the 100-mile wilderness.

We rented equipment from Northwoods Outfitters in Greenville before arriving at the camps on a Friday night in March, and feasted on our way home Sunday afternoon at Spring Creek Bar-B-Q in the heart of downtown Monson.

It was a weekend to savor, and remember  - until we return for a summer adventure!

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Dill Attacks Dunlap and Maine Gun Owners

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Charging that Maine legislators were, “spending our time making it easier for people to become vigilantes,” State Senator Cynthia Dill, a candidate for U.S. Senate this year, put gun owners and the National Rifle Association right in her sights today.

In the process, Dill sharply criticized one of her U.S. Senate Democratic primary opponents, Matt Dunlap. Dunlap was a champion for Maine sportsmen and gun owners during his tenure in the Maine House of Representatives. Most recently he served as Maine’s Secretary of State, and even spent a brief time as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine in 2011. He is currently a member of SAM’s Board of Directors.

Deer Feeding Discouraged

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Are you feeding deer? Stop it!

That’s what Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife would like you to do. The department contends that many deer feeders do more harm than good, by providing food that’s not nutritious, or placing the feed where deer must cross busy highways to get to it. Some deer feeding stations also draw coyotes for a feeding frenzy of their own.

DIF&W has had no authority to stop people from feeding deer, but they will have shortly. The legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee gave its unanimous endorsement to a deer bill, LD 1242, sponsored by Washington County’s Rep. David Burns. It’s certain to be enacted by the full legislature and signed into law by the governor.

Woodcock Chooses Three Fisheries Groups

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Three new fisheries groups have been chosen to provide DIF&W Commissioner Chandler Woodcock and his staff with advice, another signal that Chandler is making fisheries a strong focus of his tenure.

Each group consists of activists who have had a lot to say in the past about fish and wildlife issues and programs. I know most of them and can report that they provide a wide diversity of thought.

The brook trout group includes Gary Corson of New Sharon, John Whalen of Canaan, Matt Libby of Ashland, Ted Koffman of Falmouth, Dan Tarkinson of Portland, Dave Allen of T8R11, and Bonnie Holding. The previous trout working group has been disbanded.

Mainers Surrounded by Art, Music, Theater, and Writing

City or Town: 
Brownfield
Farmington
Portland
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Maine is awash in great art, theater, music, and writing. Recent trips to the Portland Museum of Art and the new Emery Community Arts Center at the University of Maine at Farmington reminded us of this.
And we’ll soon be making another visit to Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield, the best place to listen to music in the state. Last Friday night we enjoyed Red, winner of the 2010 Tony Award for Best Play, at the Public Theater in Lewiston.
 Portland hosts the Maine Festival of the Book on Saturday. And we’re pouring through Janet Mendelsohn’s very informative book, Maine’s Museums: Art Oddities & Artifacts, making a list of places to visit this summer. Join us!
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Predation Control May Gain More Bucks

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They’re not the big bucks Maine’s deer hunters are hoping for, but the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife may get more bucks for its predator control program.

Yesterday the legislature’s IFW Committee informed the Appropriations Committee that its highest priority for funding is LD 372, An Act to Reduce Deer Predation. That bill calls for $100,000 each year for three years for the agency’s predator control program.

I can’t say that this new money is exactly in our scope yet, but it’s moving around back there in the trees. I am skeptical these particular bucks will emerge from the Appropriation Committee thicket, but, just like deer hunting, we go forward in eager anticipation.

Ok, enough with the strained analogies.

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