Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about LL Bean - and More!

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Many Mainers will get and/or give Christmas gifts from LL Bean this week. For a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the company and all its players, turn to James Witherell’s exceptionally comprehensive book, L.L. Bean – The Man and His Company.

Published in paperback by Tilbury House of Gardiner, Maine in June of 2011, this 533-page tome is the definitive account of the rise of the nation’s favorite outdoor store, including the many stumbles along the way.

Well, ok, maybe that’s a bit of hometown cheerleading, but it’s my favorite outdoor store and maybe yours too. The quality of Bean’s products, and the lifetime guarantee, keep me shopping there, year after year.

Best Experiences of 2011

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Our first year as the Travelin Maine(rs) delivered great experiences, fabulous hospitality, and interesting lessons. Looking back, we marvel at the number of wonderful restaurants, inns, and events our state offers – and the people responsible for them.

In the 50 columns published this year, we told you about some of them. Today, we share our favorites of 2011.

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DIF&W's Deer Task Force Hears Report

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You missed the December 8 meeting of DIF&W’s Deer Task Force, but I was there to find out what has been accomplished since Governor Paul LePage announced the Maine Game Plan for Deer last spring.

I’ve written one blog post already, a brief account of the after-meeting reactions of DIF&W staff and task force members. My post disappointed John Pratte, who led the meeting and presented most of the information.

“I think you missed one of the key messages from yesterday,” Pratte emailed. “Addressing deer numbers in the north that are lower than public expectations is a long term process and commitment.”

“There are some short term projects that we are doing now to reduce winter mortality (deer/vehicle collisions, deer feeding, coyote predation, etc.) and then there are long-term projects (habitat management).

New DIFW Fisheries Director Announced

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Mike Brown was announced today as the new Fisheries Division Director for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. This is the position John Boland held until he was promoted to the top job as the leader of both the fisheries and the wildlife divisions.

Brown is switching teams after twenty years at the Department of Marine Resources where his duties included alewives, shad, and the Androscoggin River and it’s Brunswick fishway.

“He has a has a proven track record of success in his supervisory capacity and possesses high quality leadership, management, and technical skills,” Boland said of Brown. “His communication and leadership capabilities have allowed him to work effectively with stakeholders on many controversial issues in a variety of situations.”

Landowner Relations Conference Draws A Crowd

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 “I don’t think the relationship between landowners and land users has ever been better.”

That comment by Tom Doak, executive director of the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine, provided a great opening for this year’s landowner relations conference cosponsored by SWOAM and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.

But Doak’s comment was tempered by SAM’s executive director Dave Trahan, who said, “There has never been a strong commitment to landowner relations,” as he welcomed the group to the LL Bean Room in SAM’s Augusta conference center.

Both men are right, but Trahan aptly summarized the problem. We’ve talked about good landowner relations for decades, with little follow-up, to the point that we have jeopardized Maine’s tradition of free public access to private land. We need a little less talk, and a lot more action.

Dining in Good Company is Always a Delight

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We’re the fast food nation, grabbing what we can at the drive-through and eating in the car. Even many sit-down restaurants count on getting us in and out in a mere 60 minutes.

 A leisurely dinner in a comfortable relaxing setting in good company is worth savoring. And that’s just what we did at Rockland’s aptly named Main Street restaurant, In Good Company, where chef/owner Melody Wolfhertz delivers a unique and flavorful dining experience to her hometown friends, fans and visitors.

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Maine Deer Game Plan Examined by Task Force

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After nearly 6 hours spent hearing a status report on the Maine Game Plan for Deer from staff of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, comments from the members of the state’s Deer Task Force were remarkably modest, if not downbeat.

“Its pretty much status quo, where we were two years ago,” said Aroostook County’s veteran DIF&W Regional Wildlife Biologist Rich Hoppe.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” said task force member Matt Libby, a sporting camp owner, who asked some of the most pointed questions about the lack of progress in protecting deer wintering area.

“It’s coming. They’re doing something. But I know I’m too old to see it happen,” reported Don Dudley of Mattagamon, a leader of the Maine Professional Guides Association.

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