All of the critical issues of concern to outdoor recreationists remain unresolved at the legislature, although some will be debated this week in the House and Senate.
The list of unresolved issues includes: ATV stops by game wardens; installation of culverts to allow fish passage; a saltwater anglers’ license; invasive plants; guns in Acadia National Park; the merger of natural resource agencies and the budgets of those agencies.
Last year the legislature directed each of the state’s natural resource agencies to adopt a policy regarding entering private lands for nonemergency purposes.
You may not think this is important. But it is very important to private landowners and to state agency staff trying to collect data on everything from bird populations to vernal pools. And that makes it important to every one of us who recreates on private land and enjoys the resources we find there.
This is not about fishing. It’s about relationships.
For more than a decade, the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine’s Fishing Initiative Committee (which I chair) and the Fisheries Division at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife have been at war over fishing issues.
We see the waters of Maine as half empty of fish, while DIF&W sees them as half full. That’s the simplest way to describe this disagreement.
Seventy five percent of Mainers are benefiting from the work of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife without paying a nickel for that work. And three major state organizations have launched a campaign to change that.
Two reports to the legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife last week brought clarity to the problem and hope for the future of this under-funded and over-tasked agency.
One of Maine’s largest and most significant conservation projects may be funded in the next month and most people have never heard of it. Even the name of the project has caused confusion.
Some are calling it the Great Maine Forest Initiative. A Maine Steering Committee now calls it the Keeping Maine’s Forest initiative. The federal government, which is expected to provide the funding, calls it their Treasured Landscapes project.
Gathered around the small conference table in Room 126 at the Cross Office Building were an interesting mix of interests including lake associations, bass clubs, state agencies, and legislators, all called to this noontime meeting on January 28 by Representative Jane Eberle, an environmental activist and member of the Natural Resources Committee and the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee.
Mainers are proud of their environment and we have some of the toughest environmental regulations in the nation. On some, we followed California, long a leader in environmental protection.
So when I heard a recent radio interview with a Californian gubernatorial candidate, suggesting that the state ought to suspend pending greenhouse gas rules due to the recession and jobless rate, my ears perked up.
I wondered: is there any move in Maine to suspend our environmental rules, to foster job growth and lower the cost of doing business here?
News stories last week about a broken agreement to protect deer wintering area in northern Maine have opened a wide-ranging debate. Fingers of blame are pointing in many directions for the demise of northern Maine’s deer herd, and large landowners are getting their fair share of criticism for cutting too hard in deer wintering yards.
Energy independence starts with you and me. I’ve already started. How about you?
This year the government will even pay you to do it. But that’s not the best reason to weatherize your home.
Wife Linda and I started in the fall of 2007, with seven new energy-efficient windows spread across the front of our 1790’s home in Mount Vernon. We received a small tax credit as encouragement.
The demise of deer in the north country has hit the outdoor industry hard, and some have renewed the call for Sunday hunting as one solution to bring more nonresident hunters to Maine. It is the most unlikely solution because private landowners fiercely oppose Sunday hunting.