September 22, 2018

Maine Gubernatorial Candidate Woodcock Endorsed By Maine Snowmobile Association


Norridgewock Man Sentenced To Teaching Gun Safety

Scott Rioux, who was charged with child endangerment and providing ammunition to minors that resulted in the death of a teenager last year, was sentenced to 50 hours community service. Most of that time will be spent helping to teach others about gun safety.

Rioux pleaded no contest to the charges in order to avoid dragging family and friends into a public court scene. Rioux’s son Cody, who was 14 at the time, accidentally shot and killed his friend Joshua Sawyer last March.

The Morning Sentinel has more.

* Previous Posts *
Maine Teenager Charged With Manslaughter
Update on Death of Pittsfield Teen
Shooting Death of Teen Was Result of Playing With Guns
Update on Maine Shooting Accident
Child Killed in Hunting Accident

Tom Remington


No Endorsements From SAM For Maine's Governor

The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine has decided not to endorse any candidate for Maine’s governor. It is unclear at this time exactly why but it appears that no one candidate stands out from another either good or bad in the eyes of SAM.

Although SAM has opted out of picking a candidate, they didn’t fall short of issuing grades. Executive director for SAM, George Smith, in an article in the Sun Journal, said his organization gives both incumbent Baldacci and republican candidate Woodcock, an A while issuing a B to independent hopefull Barbara Merrill. Green party candidate Pat LaMarche got an F.

Political posturing on the announcement has the Baldacci campaign claiming a victory because SAM gave them an A. A Woodcock spokesman says that because SAM wouldn’t endorse an incumbent it is a victory for them.

Smith cited two big pluses for Governor Balcacci. One was his support in protecting the bear hunters in the referendum that was hotly contested during his watch and the other was Baldacci’s willingness to better fund the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. On the downside, SAM says Baldacci’s position on access involving the Allagash Wilderness Waterway and Katahdin Lake created “some pretty big negatives”.

While the focus seems to be on Baldacci and Woodcock, independent hopeful Barbara Merrill gets a B simply because she doesn’t have much of a past record to go on. Smith said if she was running for reelection to the House, she could have gotten an A but because she was a candidate for governor, she only merited a B.

Maine Hunting Today and the Black Bear Blog have chosen at this time not to participate in endorsing candidates at any level. As most of you know, recently I conducted online interviews with Baldacci, Woodcock and Merrill and spent extensive time and energy analyzing each candidates responses. For those interested in reading what each one had to say about issues directly affecting hunters, fishermen and outdoors people, you can find the interviews and analysis at Maine Hunting Today.

Tom Remington


More Reasons To Debate Baxter Land Swap

Before you read this article, you need to read this story I did earlier today about legitimate reasons to reconsider the Baxter land swap. I’ve discovered some more interesting events that raise big red flags as well. If I keep digging deep enough, I’m sure I am going to find things that are very disturbing.

After I posted my article this morning, I spent several hours doing some more research on Roxanne Quimby. Don’t get me wrong. I am not out to hang Ms. Quimby. As long as she is within the law, as strongly as I disagree with her choices, they are hers and should be respected. In particular, I wanted to find a map that clearly showed Quimby’s land holdings, along with Baxter State Park and the proposed addition of lands from the land swap that is in the works.

I was able to find the website of the Maine Environmental Policy Institute. There I found a news story done by Phyllis Austin and a map. The map I posted after the fact with my story this morning.

In this news article I came across, there are some interesting bits of information that don’t seem to be finding their way into the mainstream media or being shared by other groups such as the Governor and his task force, the Department of Conservation, the Baxter Park Authority, et al. Would it be more comforting to know that the reason for this is that they don’t know?

During the discovery period when Maine residents where finding out the state had been secretly negotiating a land swap, I had heard some rumors that Roxanne Quimby was in the process of buying another large parcel of land next to Baxter State Park. According to this article, that was in fact true.

Quimby was vacationing in Alaska when word leaked out that the deal with the two prominent landowners/contractors had closed. She had signed a purchase/sales agreement with them six months previously but held off closing to give the state time to complete the bitterly debated Katahdin Lake purchase and avoid agitating critics more.

I find it hard to fathom that Ms. Quimby being the land grabber that she is, would sit back quietly to allow time for the state to negotiate the land swap for land that she had indicated she wanted initially. This is another reason I am led to believe that there were also secret negotiations going on between Quimby, Baxter authorities, Department of Conservation and who all else. Of course I have no proof of this and it is merely speculation on my part but this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me nor does it completely add up. It is easy for all parties to declare that any meetings involved the parcel of land east of the East Branch of the Penobscot that Quimby swapped with Gardner as part of the total Baxter land swap deal.

The state of Maine has an option to purchase 8,000 acres for public lands in the middle of all this, known as the Wassataquoik Valley land. This piece would be mostly sandwiched between Quimby’s holdings. For those thinking this would provide access to the 2,000 acre parcel to be declared multiple use, it would still mean crossing the nearly segregated 4,000 acres declared wilderness.

In this article it states another interesting development that nobody is talking about either.

While all the focus is on Quimby at the moment, another conservationist/businessman may increase his stake in the management of the Katahdin Lake lands. Charles FitzGerald, owner of Katahdin Lake Wilderness Camps in the 4,000-acre block, is negotiating with Prentiss & Carlisle Inc. to buy their 17 percent interest in T3R8. Spokesman Ralph Knoll of DOC said the deal will give FitzGerald a stake in the 4,000 acre and the 2,000 acre parcels and thus a say in the management of the lands. Like Quimby, FitzGerald is a strong wilderness advocate.

Was anybody aware that if not FitzGerald, then Prentiss and Carlisle would have a say in how this land would be managed? I certainly wasn’t privvy to that information. Are there others who will have a say in how the state’s public lands will be managed? Is this how we want our lands managed?

Quimby’s latest deal includes a deeded right-of-way to Gardner and to a couple of small inholders in T3R8 but does not provide for public use.

Let’s get this straight. Gardner, as refered to above, is the present owner of the Katahdin Lake parcel that is included in the land swap. The Katahdin Lake parcel currently has a deeded right-of-way across the newly acquired Quimby parcel.

This statement doesn’t make clear whether the so-called “couple of small inholders” in T3R8 are located within the Gardner parcel or her new parcel. If they are inside the Gardner parcel, one can only surmise that they too would have some say in how the land gets managed. If they are inside the Quimby piece, are they going to get booted?

In a hasty and secretively negotiated land swap, these and who knows how many other hidden issues are reasons why this deal needs to be re-examined. I’ve said it before. If our Legislature pushes this deal through because it was a difficult effort the first time, it would be irresponsible. Maine residents have been left in the dark about this deal either intentionally or not. What information is finding its way into public forums seems to be just what the proponents of the land swap want.

I’ll keep digging.

Tom Remington


There Are Legitimate Reasons To Reconsider Baxter Land Swap

Honestly, it seems that people, hunters, snowmobilers, ATVers, conservationists, anti-hunters and just about everyone else with an opinion, can’t seem to see beyond the end of their noses on this Baxter land swap issue and the land purchases of Roxanne Quimby.

The anti-hunters refuse to see because of their determination to foil all hunting, that there really are some serious issues that can affect us all. These issues are not imagined. If everyone would just get beyond their self-absorbed biases long enough, I think they would begin to see that this issue really is NOT about hunting. It’s NOT about preservation. It’s NOT about traditional recreation. What it IS about is a good or bad use of taxpayer money and the possibility that those who wish to keep Baxter State Park a protected wilderness might be putting that classification in jeopardy.

If the Baxter land swap were to continue as planned, and most everyone involved in Governor Baldacci’s working group on this project seem to indicate there is no way the Maine Legislature is going to modify the agreement from last winter, 4,000 acres will become part of Baxter State Park. This 4,000 acres will include Katahdin Lake and the land surrounding the lake. To the north, 2,000 acres will become public lands managed by the Bureau of Parks and Lands.

*Update* 11:35 am Friday, Sept. 15, 2006 Since I published this story, I was able to locate a website (Maine Environmental Policy Institute)that contained a map. Scroll to bottom of this page for a map.

Roxanne Quimby, a preservationist and an obvious anti-hunter, anti-trapper and anti-motorized recreational vehicle person, has been buying up vast amounts of land in northern Maine. Quimby, the former owner of Burt’s Bees, has made no bones about the fact that any land she buys she closes it to hunting, trapping, snowmobiling and ATV riding.

Quimby is in the process of buying between 23,000 and 25,000 acres of land to the east of Baxter. This is a parcel that the state of Maine tried, although we’re not sure how hard they tried, to buy last year. It is my understanding the state offered the owner, a timber company H.C. Haynes/Crawford, the appraised value and the offer was rejected. Quimby jumped in with an offer of somewhere around $10 million dollars, significantly above the market value.

What this purchase does is essentially landlock the 2,000 acres that will become public land from access. Hunters and the like are now asking what good is this 2,000 acres of public land if we can’t get to it? Preservationists are ranting their same rhetoric saying that hunters have too much land to hunt on now. Because of their dislike of hunting, they may be selling their soles to the devil to win their battle.

In theory, should the Baxter land swap come to fruition and Quimby’s purchase of the 23,000-plus acres go through, Maine taxpayers are left with 2,000 acres in which they need to find a way to create access.

For those who don’t know, it is Maine law that says that no land can be landlocked without access being provided somehow. Providing that the Maine Legislature is looking out for the best interest of its people, they would go to work to find the best way to gain access to this land. This process could become extremely time consuming and complicated as well as expensive.

Some on the task force that are working on this issue are saying that we need to negotiate with Roxanne Quimby. Should we? Rep. Patrick Flood, R-Winthrop in referencing Roxanne Quimby, had this to say at Monday’s meeting. Flood sits on the Governor’s task force for the Baxter land swap.

“I would hope we could work with the landowner and find some solutions,” said Rep. Patrick Flood, R-Winthrop.

This is wishful thinking and I would suppose that miracles do happen but Quimby’s track record on these kinds of things isn’t strong when it comes to sharing her land.

Bart DeWolf, who works for Quimby in her land preservation foundation called Elliotsville Plantation, yesterday had remarks that were not encouraging to those hoping she would leave her land open to hunting, trapping, snowmobiling and ATV riding.

But DeWolf predicted that, like other land purchased by the Burt’s Bees founder, the property likely will be off-limits to hunters, trappers, snowmobiles and ATVs.

But DeWolf went on making comments that are misleading.

DeWolf took issue with any suggestion that Quimby is “closing off” the land to others. In fact, her actions may have maintained public access to heavily cut timberland that otherwise might have been subdivided, developed and closed to all users, he said.

“At least now with our ownership we do not preclude fishing, for example,” DeWolf said. “We encourage hiking, canoeing, camping … and all of those other uses on the property.”

It is my understanding that there are cases in which Quimby has closed her land to everyone but the issue here isn’t what Roxanne Quimby can and cannot do with her land. We all know she has the right, within the law, to do with it as she pleases. The real issue is whether Maine taxpayers want to be beholding to someone like Quimby with the track record she has for access to land owned by the public?

This is a very serious issue that needs closer scrutiny on the part of the committee, the Legislature and the Governor regardless of how difficult it was to reach an agreement last winter.

Let’s take a minute and look at another issue that I doubt few have considered. Once again supposing all plans on the table come about. Maine now owns 2,000 acres that needs and is required by law, access. Where is this access going to come from?

Many keep talking as though if we schmoozed with Quimby, she would grant us access. Whether she would or wouldn’t, with her past record of forcing the termination of easements and leases on other property she has bought, I don’t think this is a good idea.

What few if any are looking at is the obvious means of access to this land. I’m sure there are other possibilities but what is the best way to gain this access? There is a distinct possibility that if this entire debacle ended up in the courts, and it may very well before it’s done, access may be granted via Baxter State Park. If that were to happen, well, I’ll let you think of the possibilities.

Yesterday, George Smith, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and Bob Myers, executive director of the Maine Snowmobile Association, said that with this change of Quimby’s land purchase, they want to see all 6,000 acres become part of Baxter State Park. They say the money realized from the sale of 7,000 acres of public land as part of the negotiated deal, should be recovered and used to buy other public land near the Millinocket area.

If there is some kind of ploy behind this new proposal, we have yet to see but I think it is playing right into the hands of the preservationists who are looking to expand Baxter State Park and continue the growth toward a much larger wildlife preservation that would ultimately kill any and all economic hopes for the residents in the Katahdin region and render the massive amounts of acreage unusable by the majority of Maine’s citizens.

My point in all of this is that no matter which side of this issue you sit on or maybe you don’t even have a side, consider seriously all aspects in the realm of possibilities. I would ask everyone to move beyond their hatred, anger and prejudices and ponder whether this acquisition of the 6,000 acres as it is proposed, is worth the possible nightmare it can cause. Seriously consider if you will, the distinct possibility that some of Baxter State Park will have to be chopped up in order to grant access to this 2,000 acres. This may have to be done in the form of a road leading to the 2,000 acres.

Roxanne Quimby is who she is and Mainers have to learn to live with it. As much as I personally believe her actions to close her land is un-Maine, it is her right. We don’t know her real motives behind her philanthropic endeavors but for me, I think it is a safe bet that attempting negotiations that would be in the best interest of Maine, would be a futile one at best.

Consider the possibilities.

This link takes you to my last article on this subject called, “Something Smells Really Bad Around Baxter Park And Hunters Will Lose – Again“. Following that story at the end are links to all previous posts about the Baxter land swap issue.
Map showing land holding of Roxanne Quimby

Tom Remington


Forget Everything You Know About Tracking

This was to be the title of J.R. Absher, The News Hound’s, article at his blog at ESPN Outdoors. He opted out of the story but sent his information over to me to see if I would be interested in picking up on the story. Thank you J.R. and by the way readers, if you haven’t been over to read the News Hound, I highly recommend it.

After I got the info I thought to myself, “Oh, cool! This is interesting.” And then I remembered getting a photo back last year, 2005, during the Maine moose hunt that will be directly related to this story. With the blessings of J.R., here’s what he had written.

Forget everything you know about deer tracks!

In one of those “you’ve got to see it to believe it” stories, alert News Hound blog reader Bruce Norton of Rushford, Minn. scanned and e-mailed this clipping from Sunday’s Winona (Minn.) Daily News showing a whitetail deer with the most bizarre footwear we’ve ever seen.

Besides sporting respectable headgear, this buck that recently fell victim to a vehicle near Alma, Wisc. has hooves that appear to be at least five to ten times the average size.

Not only would one expect that these malformed toes led to this nice buck’s demise on the roadway, it’s hard to even fathom what kind of track it left in soft soil when it walked.
The photo’s caption indicates that Jarrad Fluekiger at The Main Channel Fishing Shop in Alma intends to have a full mount made of the unique animal.

The caption also notes that biologists believe that a diet high in specific minerals or proteins may have led to the oversized hooves.

Unfortunately, the Winona paper has not posted the photograph on its Web site.

So once again, we turn to our astute blog readership. Have you heard or read anything about this specific deer—or are you aware of this anomaly occurring in other ungulates?

Let us know!

Included in the story was a copy of a photo. I cleaned it up as best I could. Below the picture, I will include the caption that came with it.
Elf Deer killed by automobile in Alma, Wisconsin
This deer killed by an automobile recently in Alma, Wis., has overgrown hooves and biologists believe it is likely the result of eating something high in minerals and protein, said Jarrad Fluekiger of Alma. Fluekiger said the deer was recovered and placed in a cooler at the Main Channel fishing tackle shop in Alma. Doreen Burt at the shop said the owner, Lee Fluekiger, plans to have the whole deer mounted.

Not to be outdone by those in Wisconsin, Maine has a similar story but on a grander scale – of course you don’t really think the first story has a chance do you?

Last season during Maine’s annual moose hunt, the below cow moose, affectionately nicknamed the Elf Moose, was bagged by a hunter in northern Maine. Here’s the short story that accompanied the moose followed by the picture.

An interesting cow, referred to as the “Elf Moose” which has been observed around the Beaver Brook Road (T14R5) for the last two years was harvested this past week by Traci Bushey, the Ashland IFW Headquarters Warden Service Radio Operator. A real oddity as observed in the attached picture is the excessive growth of the hooves.
This cow had rear hooves over 15 inches long that curled upward. The animal did seem a bit skinny, perhaps due to reduced mobility from the hooves, but there was no problem with the meat.

Elf Moose killed during 2005 Maine moose hunt.

Tom Remington


Something Smells Really Bad Around Baxter Park And Hunters Will Lose – Again

I have repeatedly said that we haven’t heard the last in the Baxtergate land swap debacle and that we are barely scratching the surface in terms of the backdoor politicking and deals that took place.

According to articles this morning in the Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News, Governor Baldacci’s group that he pulled together to further study the Baxter land swap and aquisition project revealed new and disturbing information about the efforts of conservationist Roxanne Quimby.

As best as I can explain it, here’s the deal. Governor Baldacci’s administration, through three years of secret negotiations that excluded Maine’s citizens and its lawmakers, agreed to trade out some of our public lands combined with purchases of other private parcels, in exchange for 6,000 acres of land adjacent to Baxter State Park and surrounding Katahdin Lake. It’s a complex operation utilizing the efforts of the Trust for Public Lands (scroll down for links).

Through misinformed negotiations that were prompted by the Baldacci camp’s urgings that time was of the essence, the rushed through compromised deal would set aside 4,000 acres around Katahdin Lake for the exclusive use of the Baxter State Park users – meaning no access for hunting, trapping, snowmobiling, ATVs, etc. – and setting aside a whopping 2,000 acres for “traditional” uses.

This latest development comes as no surprise to me and I am shocked to think that anyone involved in any of this knowing the track record of Roxanne Quimby, would be surprised. Quimby’s foundation, known as Elliotsville Plantation, Inc., has purchased around 23,000-25,000 acres adjacent to this 6,000 acres that Baxter State Park is about to acquire.

In short what this means is there will be no access to the 2,000 acres that was part of the deal to guarantee hunters and other traditional land users, access to the land – all part of the negotiated deal.

The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine along with the Maine Snowmobile Association are asking Baldacci to take another look at this land swap deal. It is pointless for Maine to swap out land, around 7,000 acres of public land, and end up with 2,000 acres of unusable woodlands.

Furthermore, as part of the overall picture, Maine is contemplating using some of the monies generated from its undervalued selling price of the 7,000 acres, to purchase 8,000 acres on the east side of Baxter State Park. Once again rendering the land useless should Quimby post her land to prohibit access across it.

The citizens of Maine deserve at the very least for the Governor to revisit this issue and I believe an investigation is in order. The investigation should look into whether or not there were other behind the scenes deals made by Quimby, members of the Baxter Park Authority and other so-called conservationists. This entire deal smells of a bunch of dirty rats.

What also angers me are the comments being made by those who think we should just move ahead and hope things work out. This is how Paul Carrier put it in his article in the Press Herald.

But other participants at the meeting, which was held at the Department of Conservation, said state officials should first meet with Quimby to determine how she plans to use the 23,000 acres purchased from Lakeville Shores Inc. in Winn and from R.A. Crawford and Son Land and Timber Inc. in Lincoln, and what activities will be permitted.

Is it in the best interest of the overburdened taxpayers to be left at the mercy of a land owner who has a track record of buying and closing land? Why should Maine negotiate with someone whose objective is to buy up land and close it off?

Members of this group that met recently also said we should consider looking into “value swaps” with Quimby. What’s a value swap?

A value swap would allow the state to ban hunting on its proposed purchases if Quimby allowed hunting on her foundation’s land south of Katahdin Lake.

Others still insisted that we should work with Quimby on finding solutions.

“I would hope we could work with the landowner and find some solutions,” said Rep. Patrick Flood, R-Winthrop.

Flood said he does not expect the deal that the Legislature approved this year to fall apart, despite the concerns raised by Smith and others, because it took “so much will and energy” for the Legislature to cobble it together in the first place.

This is total irresponsibility on the part of this committee and our Legislature if they don’t take a closer look at this issue. If they plod along hoping for the best while being at the disposal of Roxanne Quimby, simply because this was a long involved and complicated negotiation, is flat out wrong. So what! Who really cares how complicated it was! Two wrongs don’t make it right.

Baldacci’s aid, following this case for the Governor and Conservation Commissioner, Patrick McGowan, both think we should just do the best we can with what we have so far.

Davies, the governor’s aide who is following the issue for Baldacci, said what is more likely is that all of the interested parties will try to reach agreement on limited changes that could then be ratified by the Legislature, without having lawmakers rehash the entire transaction.

“I don’t think the Legislature is likely to go back on this thing,” said Conservation Commissioner Patrick McGowan. “We have to work around it,” he said of the Quimby land purchase.

Roxanne Quimby has every right to buy as much land as she wants. She also has the right to post it or open it or limit its uses. This is not what is at issue here. If there were negotiations that went on prior to and during the first negotiations to acquire the Katahdin Lake parcel, with the intent to deceive the people, then this is wrong. We the taxpayers deserve to know for sure. We also have to have absolute guarantees of access to our public lands for recreation, otherwise this would be the worst investment anyone could ever make.

For our lawmakers not to take a second look at this would be blantant disregard in looking after the interests of the citizens of Maine. Personally, I have a strong feeling that this whole Baxtergate landswap involved a lot more than any of us know. I also have a stinking suspicion we will never be given the opportunity to find out.

Follow this link to a story about the Baxter land swap. At the end of the story you’ll find all the links to all the stories I’ve written about this issue.

Tom Remington


Black Bear Bagged In Woodstock, Maine

160 lb. black bear shot in Woodstock, Maine
This 160 pound female bear was bagged by Don Jackson on September 1, 2006. He was sitting in a treestand in the late afternoon looking over his bait high on a mountain top in Woodstock, Maine. both photos taken by Randy Baker
Don Jackson with his 160 lb bear taken in Woodstock, Maine

Tom Remington


Maine Any-Deer Permit Drawing Results

You can find them here at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website.

Tom Remington


Governor Baldacci And Congressman Michaud Will Address Maine Wardens on 9/11

Governor BaldacciCongressman Mike Michaud

What: Congressman Mike Michaud and Governor John Baldacci visit Game Warden Technology Training on five-year anniversary of 9-11.
Where: Department of Public Safety Building
Take I-95 to exit 112. Head north on Route 27. Department of Public Safety is located 1.2 miles north on Route 27, on the left at the Central Maine Commerce Center.
When: 1:00 pm, Monday, September 11, 2006. Congressman Mike Michaud and Governor John Baldacci will address game wardens at 1:15 p.m.
Focus: The first phase of the plan to equip all Maine Game Wardens with laptops has started. Twenty Maine game wardens will be in Augusta on Monday, September 11 as one of the first groups to participate in the initial stage of implementing the Maine Warden Service Data Solutions Project. The project, funded by a $600,000 COPS federal grant secured by Maine Congressman Mike Michaud, will equip all Maine Game Wardens with laptop computers.

Congressman Mike Michaud and Governor John Baldacci will visit the laptop training at the public safety building at 1:15 pm on Monday September 11, the five-year anniversary on the attacks on the world trade center. They will speak to the game wardens concerning the importance of working with other county, state, and federal agencies in the wake of 9-11.

The laptops will be invaluable tools that will allow game wardens to manage incidents and investigations from the field and on scene where the actual work is performed. This project will also allow the Maine Warden Service to link with other state and federal law enforcement personnel through computer aided dispatch and electronic information storage and retrieval.

Tom Remington