Restaurant Awards Banquet and Expo were great events!

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            It’s become one of our favorite events of the year: the Maine Restaurant Association’s Annual Awards Banquet.

            Imagine wandering the room during the pre-dinner reception, eating amazing appetizers from some of the state’s best restaurants and chefs including the new chef at The Nonantum Resort, a spectacular place on the water in Kennebunkport, and the chefs at the Harraseeket, one of our very favorite inns, restaurants and taverns in Freeport.

Moose bills get some traction at legislature

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 Members of the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department have sent us mixed messages on the many moose hunting bills considered this session.

In divided votes, the following moose bills were rejected by the committee:

A bill to double the number of moose permits auctioned by DIF&W for conservation camp scholarships for kids from 10 to 20;

A bill to allow those who trade permits to include, in the transaction, some cash payment.

On the other hand, the committee endorsed some changes, including these:

A bill that allows kids under 8 years of age to apply for moose permits and accrue points, but not win a permit.

Foraging on private land without permission is illegal

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 The debate has been brutal. And we’ve learned a lot.

Turns out it’s already illegal to forage on private land without permission. So Senator Tom Saviello pulled the bill he sponsored at my request. LD 128 would have required landowner permission before we pick their mushrooms, fiddleheads, or other crops.

The bill drew a strong and angry response from people who feel entitled to do this without permission, along with news stories from London to the Wall Street Journal.

Along the way, we learned that current law prohibits foraging on public lands and in state parks, but a policy allows it on public lands, while it remains illegal in state parks.

Most recently, we were all surprised to discover that foraging is already illegal on private land without permission. You’ll find that law in Title 14, Part 7, Chapter 739, Subchapter 2: Trespass. Here’s what it says:

You'll enjoy going to Camp at Sunday River

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            Sunday River’s Grand Summit Hotel is certainly grand, and it was packed with skiers including many families with kids. Guests were there from all over the northeast, and we even saw three vehicles from Nova Scotia. The views are really spectacular here, and we enjoyed riding up and down the mountain to check out all the inns and restaurants.

Brook trout bill continues to stir debate

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The effort at the legislature to extend protection of Heritage brook trout continues to stir debate, focused on disappointment with the opposition and testimony of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Today I’m sharing testimony that Gary Corson provided to the IFW Committee after the hearing. Gary was listening to the hearing online and was deeply disappointed in the department’s testimony offered by Fisheries Division Director Francis Brautigam.

Gary was the driving force behind the successful effort by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, when I was SAM’s executive director, and its Fisheries Initiative Committee to win legislative approval for SAM’s bill to name our native brook trout the state’s Heritage fish and protect them in nearly 300 waters that had never been stocked. DIF&W also opposed that bill.

Foraging Bill Angers Pickers Who Feel Entitled to Crops on Private Lands

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 My bill to require permission from landowners before we pick their mushrooms, fiddleheads, or other crops has drawn a strong and angry response from people who feel entitled to do this without permission.

Senator Tom Saviello sponsored LD 128 at my request and has taken a lot of flack for it. I have spent much of my life advocating for more respect for private landowners and better relationships between those of us who recreate on private land and the owners of that land. We’ve made a lot of progress, but still have constant complaints and problems.

It is very irritating to find that someone has grabbed the fiddleheads or mushrooms off my woodlot before I got to them. And clearly, anyone who is on my land to commercially harvest something ought to be required to have my permission.

DIFW testimony on brook trout bill was embarrassing and inaccurate

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DIFW testimony on brook trout bill was embarrassing and inaccurate

The testimony of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife on my bill to add new protections to our Heritage native brook trout waters was embarrassing, inaccurate, and very disappointing.

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