June 20, 2018

Political Convention Finds Passed Out Participants on East River in New York

I’m guessing either there was some kind of political convention in New York City recently, resulting in at least one participant found passed out on the shore of the East River.

Or it’s some kind of unexplained “monster” that washed up on the shore.

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Open Thread – July 26, 2012

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Milt Inman Honored For Photography and Art Work

Running through the end of October 2012, the Arthur L. Mann Memorial Library in West Paris, Maine, will be honoring Milton Inman of Greenwood by displaying his photography and paintings. An open house was held at the library on July 13 in which over 100 friends and family stopped in to pay tribute to a great man as well as his craft as an extremely talented photographer and painter.

Most of you know that Milton Inman has been a contributing photographer for the years I’ve written on the Black Bear Blog and my newest blog TomRemington.com. He honored me by accepting an invitation several years to give him his own little “corner”, Milt’s Corner, to display a few of his fitting photographs. In addition he has kept us all entertained by providing pictures of odd things, asking readers, “Whatzit?”

Milt Inman was born on Pioneer Street in West Paris (sometime after the landing of the Pilgrims), a very fitting street for an adventurous person and a pioneer in many of his own ways.

His interest in photography began many years ago when he says he took his first pictures with a Kodak Brownie camera. I wonder how many readers remember what one looked like? Often Milt had to borrow a camera because he couldn’t afford one of his own. He says one of his first memorable photos was of a train wreck near the feldspar mine. He guesses he was 10 or 12 years old at that time.

Mr. Inman thrived in the outdoors. He loved to fish and hunt but those of us who knew him best knew his first and deepest love was fishing, having made several trips to Alaska specifically to fish…..well, he might have panned a little gold and done a few other perhaps “unmentionable” things while traveling with friends and family.

There were other interests that Milt had besides photography and the outdoors. He played basketball at West Paris High School and was a member of the team that won the Western Maine Championship in 1948. They lost the state title by one point that same year. Other interests included: Scoutmaster for 8 years, a founder of the West Paris Historical Society, and organized the first West Paris Soap Box Derby races. And did I forget to mention he was a member of the West Paris and Greenwood fire departments for 64 years?

Milt attributes many of the opportunities he has had to capture some of his breathtaking photographs by spending a great deal of time traveling. He says he has visited every state of the Union, except Hawaii and nearly every Canadian Province.

He graduated from West Paris High School in 1948 and went to work for Bell Minerals mining. After leaving the mines, Milt learned to be a very accomplished stone, brick and block mason along with many of the other building trades. He and his brother Vernon co-owned Inman Bros. Masonry. Some local buildings he built were the West Paris Fire Station, Town Office, Legion Memorial School as well as schools in East Sumner and Peru. There are many field stone fireplaces Milton and his brother have built in the area and I still take notice of them whenever I have the fortune to go by them.

If you visit his home in Greenwood City, take caution as to where you walk. You are apt to trip over one of his cameras. “I always keep three or four cameras and a tripod at the ready in my living room,” says Milt.

He and I have gone on a few photo shoots in various places over the years. At the open house, I teased him that I thought some of those photos must have been mine……..but I know better.

I have always been blown away by Milt’s talent as a painter. This is something that he began only a handful of years ago by taking a few lessons while wintering in Florida. Almost instantly it became obvious his talents far exceeded peeking through a camera lens.

Plan to make a trip to West Paris and take in viewing Milt’s work. It will be worth the trip as the saying goes.

Below are a few photos, all taken by Al Remington, during the open house.


Al Remington Photo


Al Remington Photo


Al Remington Photo


Al Remington Photo


Al Remington Photo

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Open Thread – July 24, 2012

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All in a Day’s Work


Photo by Tom Remington

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Open Thread – July 23, 2012

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A Leading-Edge Method of Funding Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

While it would appear my cries over the years to separate non game functions at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) from the game functions is never going to happen, perhaps it’s time to get creative and think up ways in which better funding can be accomplished without having to jump into bed with environmental and animal rights groups falsely believing we are all in this together with the same goals for the future as some sportsmen have been suckered into believing.

Historic accounts support the notion that, while initially the quaint partnership between hunting and fishing and environmentalists might work, they seldom do. If you think yours is working, give it time. For a most recent example of how environmentalism and the filth of money and the hunting community cannot and will not ever get along, the Olaus Murie family has notified the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (a very moderate conservation organization) that it will no longer provide funding for awards because of the RMEF’s stance of gray wolves. To read the complete story, follow this link.

But this is not the subject of this article. Make no mistake about it, MDIFW, like so many other fish and game departments, have chosen to and/or are being forced away from game management of game species and into preserving non game species for such things as bird watching, or simple wildlife viewing. Each of these activities directly draws resources away from game programs. The result of this attenuation of resources can be seen in a whitetail deer herd that is hurting badly in many parts of the state.

To date, the majority of funding for the MDIFW has come from license buyers and excise taxes collected from the sale of certain sporting goods and meted back out to the states according to some contrived formula partly based on how many licenses are sold. What has transpired is license buyers have been robbed and their monies used for programs many of them have little no interest in. We have also seen for decades now, those people enjoying the investment dollars of outdoor sportsmen and not anteing up one dime for that enjoyment.

Some have suggested that it is time to begin funding MDIFW out of general taxation. While this may appear as a simple solution to a complex problem, it presents a couple of major issues. One issue will be representation. With the demands for general taxation to fund MDIFW will also come the demands that environmentalists want representation on fish and wildlife boards and ultimately the commissioner’s job, appointed by the Governor.

The second issue is the equitableness of such a move. It would be no more fair to ask general taxpayers to fund all hunting, trapping and fishing activities than it would be to ask all hunters, trappers and fishermen to fund all outdoor activities. Therefore, we need some creativeness and so, I have been giving this some thought. I would like to share with you some of my ideas and look forward to your comments and feedback. I’m looking for positive ways to make this beneficial for everyone not all the reasons nothing will work.

As hunters are required to purchase varying licenses for the activities they wish to indulge in, so too should outdoor recreationalists. The same can be said for fishing and trapping licenses. After all, wasn’t the need for license fees to offset the costs of management and maintenance of species, etc. in order to provide opportunities for the sportsmen?

I suggest that certain outdoor activities be grouped into categories that will work together. For instance, hiking and bird watching could go hand in hand. That could require a license and fee. We could label it a color or letter. Another license might be for boating and boat access use. General wildlife watching might be a tough one but at least we could implement a requirement that anyone accessing any state-owned land must possess a license in order to view wildlife, hike, boat, etc. on that land. Cost of such licenses would be determined against the cost of what is being done presently to ensure that people have access to land for hiking, bird watching, boating, etc., i.e. the cost of building and maintaining boat and water access probably outweighs that of bird watching interests.

The first hurdle that will stump many will be the fact of how you require people to buy these licenses and then enforce the requirement to have it to participate. Granted it would be essentially impossible to do. Much like the “volunteer” but not so voluntary pay to use areas where people are supposed to stuff money in a pipe anchored in concrete, not all people actually pay but some do. Some money is better than no money and perhaps over time more and more people will see the benefits and be more willing to pay. Those not willing to pay will always run the risk of being caught participating without a license.

It’s time for the freeloaders to pay. I am required to pay more than my share to participate and so should all others. Each should pay for what they are interested in doing much the same way that I am for hunting, others are for fishing and trapping. Let’s end the foolishness of trying to convince the people that everyone should pay something, even if they never take advantage, and start at the beginning with a program that begins generating some extra revenue.

Once this programs has been implemented, the MDIFW will be required to annually present a very detailed report of who paid what and for how much and exactly where every dollar taken in went. A very necessary part of this program that will help make it work is that there must be absolute restrictions and separation of each license tag revenues. They must be collected separately and spent separately while being accounted for separately. That should not be a difficult thing to do and will help people better see the benefits of how their money is being spent and that a kayaker isn’t funding bird watching without choice to do so. This will generate more interest in people willing to pay their fair share.

Please present your ideas below in the comment section.

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DNA Studies – Smaller Native Wolves Existed in Northern Rockies before Canadian Wolf Transplant

By George Dovel (Republished with Permission)

In the Jan-Mar 2008 Outdoorsman Bulletin No. 26, the lead articled titled, “What They Didn’t Tell You about Wolf Recovery,” described the ongoing deception by federal and state biologists in their scheme to fill rural areas in the lower 48 states with wolves.

The article referred to 20 years of Dept. of Interior Solicitors (lawyers) changing the number of N. American wolf subspecies covered in the Endangered Species Act from 24, finally to two and back to four – and then to any or all wolves called “gray wolves” or “Canis lupus”. Then it told how FWS reclassified ESA-listed wolves as members of two “Distinct Population Segments”, which it later changed to three until a federal judge denounced the obvious attempt to circumvent the ESA.

The ongoing debate between wildlife scientists who classify species, concerns whether subspecies of elk (red deer), North American bison, grey wolves, etc., exist. Bona fide expert taxonomists include Dr. Valerius Geist who points out that changes in location, habitat, size and appearance alone do not necessarily change the genetic make-up to qualify an animal as a separate sub-specie.

However the Northern Rocky Mountains wolf subspecies – C. l. Irremotus – was documented by physical comparisons of skulls, etc., from larger wolves in 1959:

Page 2 of the 146-page FWS Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Plan dated August 3, 1987, contains the map showing the historical distribution of Canis lupus Irremotus in the lower 48 states, plus the 1987 distribution in black. It depicts immigration of Irremotus from southern British Columbia into Idaho and from B.C. or southern Alberta into the northwest corner of Montana.

It also shows the two 1987 Irremotus population areas in central Idaho, one of which included the three wolf pack territories mapped by Tim Kimmery between 1988 and 1991 (see Outdoorsman Bulletin No. 35).

Historical Impact on Wolf Subspecies

During the most recent (Pleistocene) ice age, water evaporating from the oceans became part of the glacial ice covering the land. Ocean levels dropped 300 feet or more and the Bering Strait between Siberia and Alaska dried up.
The exposed land bridge with little snow, later named Beringia, became a refuge for hardy Siberian animals and plants for several thousand years (see below).

Many scientists believe Beringia included a small human population from Siberia that was prevented from continuing into North America for 5,000 years by the North American ice sheets. Geologists report these continental ice sheets were 5,000-10,000 feet in depth and extended south in some places to the 40th Parallel below what is now the U.S.-Canadian border.

The artists’ three views of Beringia published by “Wikipedia” illustrate the changes that have occurred in the “Bering Land Bridge” during the last 18,000 years. But there is still disagreement among biologists about when, where and how several current mammal species first arrived on the North American Continent.

Subspecies Had Limited Opportunity to Crossbreed

Since 1995 a number of wildlife biologists have accepted the determination by Nowak that five subspecies of gray wolf (Canus lupus) inhabited North America during the early 20th Century. There is also agreement that Canis lupus occidentalis (the large gray wolf transplanted to Yellowstone and Central Idaho by FWS in 1995) had virtually no opportunity to influence the genetic make-up of coastal wolves in SE Alaska and Yukon and portions of five other Canadian Provinces where it existed.

For thousands of years the ice between interior Alaska, Yukon and British Columbia and the coastal area prevented the occidentalis wolves from mixing with the smaller wolves defined as C. lupis ligoni by Goldman in 1944. And the intensive efforts to kill all wolves in the early 1900s also left few of the large wolves alive in most areas where they might have mixed with the native wolves.

The map below in the study titled, “Legacy Lost: genetic variability and population size of extirpated U.S. gray wolves (Canis lupis),” published by Leonard et al in the 2005 Vol. 14 issue of Molecular Ecology, shows the five primary subspecies that existed in the early 1900s. The bold black line indicates the northern limit of gray wolf eradication that occurred in the 48 contiguous United States and Canada.

In 1995, C.l. nubilus, the primary subspecies common in the U.S. and Canada mainland included ligoni from the west coast of Canada, irremotus from the Northern Rocky Mountains and labradorius from Labrador. The “a” to “z” letters scattered on the map represent original locations of the various museum specimens whose DNA were recorded in the study.

A similar study titled, “Phylogeography of wolves (Canis lupus) in the Pacific Northwest”, by Weckworth et al (published in the 2010 (2) issue of the Journal of Mammology) used basically the same map, along with an expanded inset to illustrate locations of testing for the genetic difference between the smaller coastal wolves and the 30% larger occidentalis wolves from the Alaska and Yukon interiors.

Both of these DNA studies emphasize that the nubilus wolves migrated northward to populate Canada as the ice sheets and glaciers melted. They point out that the smaller wolves existed in the south before the larger wolves migrated into northern Canada, and the Weckworth study suggests the coastal wolves should be listed as a separate individual subspecies.

Court Allows Transplants – Then Orders Removal

Readers who actively opposed the FWS option to import Canadian wolves may recall the following events:
In 1994 the Farm Bureau, Audubon Society and other plaintiffs asked the Wyoming Federal District Court to halt wolf introduction because it could not legally occur where naturally occurring wolves already existed per the 10J Rule. But instead of issuing an injunction to halt the process while the arguments were presented, Judge Downes allowed FWS to go ahead and transplant Canadian wolves into Central Idaho and Yellowstone Park for three years until he issued his ruling in December of 1997.

Then after setting aside the final wolf introduction rules as unlawful, Judge Downes ordered FWS to remove all Canadian wolves and their progeny from both experimental population areas. This ruling was met with loud criticism by the wolf activists, including the state and federal wildlife agencies who apparently believed they could get by with ignoring both state and federal laws when it suited their agenda.

Judge “Passes the Buck” to Appeals Court

They quickly pointed out that it would not be possible to even locate most of the wolves – much less capture them. But even if that were possible, both Canadian Provinces refused to allow the wolves to return and there were not enough zoos willing to accept several hundred wild wolves so killing most was the only option.

Judge Downes could have prevented this disaster from occurring by simply putting wolf introduction on hold three years earlier until his decision was reached. But the second time he did essentially the same thing by later staying execution of his removal order pending an appeals decision by the 10th Circuit Court.

On January 13, 2000, five years after the first large Canadian wolves were introduced, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the December 1998 Wyoming District Court ruling that the reintroduction program was unlawful and should be revoked. The appeals court admitted that the evidence showed native irremotus wolves already existed when the larger Canadian wolves were introduced, but said FWS had the authority to determine what constituted a population.
The fact that the resident wolves coexisted with abundant big game populations and with negligible impact on livestock and human activity was already a matter of record in 1994. But on August 12, 1994, FWS Wolf Leader Ed Bangs sent a letter to Charles Lobdell telling him to stop issuing statements to the public advising that the number of reported resident wolves was increasing.

Bangs’ letter advised that FWS planned to introduce wolves from Canada and said: “From this day forward…confirmed wolf activity (will only include) individual wolves or members of packs that have been examined, radio-collared and monitored in the wild.” He also said he had transferred $9,000 to the FWS Boise Field Office to search for wolves and organize flights to locate any radio-collared wolves that might be in Idaho or the Yellowstone area during the summer and fall.

Bangs also included key issues to be presented to the public consistently by FWS:
“1. (I)t is likely that wolf populations would ultimately recover without reintroduction and breeding pairs of wolves would likely occur in Idaho before they would occur (in) Yellowstone.

4. Experimental populations will not knowingly contain a significant portion of the territory of any naturally occurring breeding pair that has successfully raised young. However once wolves are released all wolves in the area will be treated as experimental animals.”

Despite reported wolf sightings by more then 120 outfitters, trappers and others in less than two months, most in the same location where Kemery mapped three wolf pack areas from 1988-1991, and despite the USFS road closure to protect existing wolves (see Bulletin 35), Bangs dumped Canadian wolves halfway between the two known native wolf locations guaranteeing their extermination.

In February of 2012, I forwarded the Weckworth DNA study, without comment, to Dr. Valerius Geist. The following was his reply:

“Thank you, George, I have seen this study. To me it suggests that there was indeed a remnant of native wolves in Idaho that were finally done away with by introduced wolves from Canada. The native wolves would have been of the same clad as the coastal wolves. Anyway, that’s testable since some museum specimens of native Idaho wolves are still available for genetic analysis. However, somebody competent and trustworthy needs to do it. Cheers, Val Geist.”

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Open Thread – July 20, 2012

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Open Thread – July 19, 2012

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