September 20, 2018

More On Baxtergate

Committee members of the Maine Legislative group, Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation met yesterday to begin debate over whether or not a compromise can be worked out regarding the Baxter land swap deal. Yesterday’s session was one of at least three that will be held over the next few days. I’ll try to post the schedule and locations for these meetings as they are open to the public.

Comments that were made yesterday by members of the Legislative Committee as well as representatives from the major players in this negotiation, indicated that a compromise isn’t too likely. To me it still appears that is an all or nothing viewpoint taken by the groups that secretly negotiated the deal.

Attorney General Steven Rowe repeated himself once again saying that the Katahdin Lake parcel was part of Gov. Baxter’s plan for a sanctuary and therefore it should be closed to hunting, trapping and snowmobiling as well as many other uses. Rowe went on to say that he had a map of this “unique” parcel of land and that he “knows what was on his (Baxter’s) mind”. Comments like this are ridiculous in my opinion and only serve to tell the rest of us that their ideas and plans are just that, theirs. I believe this is one of the reasons this entire deal was kept secret and they are playing the, “this is a fragile and complicated deal that can’t be messed with” card, hoping the citizens will fall for it.

But Rep. Roger Sherman (R) from Hodgdon reminded the committee that Baxter made changes and worked out deals and compromises from his original plan. He didn’t think the late Governor would “roll over in his grave” over a compromise. If you will notice, Sherman doesn’t talk about making it exclusionary. He’s looking for reasoning.

Department of Conservation Commissioner Patrick McGowan told committee members that if we tamper with the plan too much, the whole thing will collapse, saying it is just too fragile.

Committee members asked McGowan and Sam Hodder, a project manager representing the Trust for Public Land, if donors would be opposed to opening the land to traditional uses. The responses that I’ve been able to get indicate that neither person was much willing to answer the question.

There have reportedly been 6 major donors to the land deal. According to this artlicle in the Bangor Daily News, this is what Hodder had to say about whether donors would withdraw their support.

Sam Hodder, project manager with the land trust, at first hedged when asked whether donors would withdraw their pledges if the Legislature altered the deal.

After being pressed by legislators, however, Hodder acknowledged that some donors are “particularly intrigued or engaged” by the wildlife sanctuary designation. Other donors have made their pledges contingent on the land being annexed into Baxter.

His answer clearly is an attempt to dodge the question and not anwer it honestly. This is why I believe that this entire land deal has more rooted into it than simply a land swap to enlarge the size of Baxter State Park. It reeks of an agenda to promote groups desires to ban hunting and trapping. I hope also that you noted his response that pledges were “contingent on the land being annexed into Baxter”. There has been some talk of making the Katahdin Lake piece public land – bought and paid for by the state. I don’t believe that is a serious option available. Those advocating traditional use are asking only that that part of the park become open to traditional uses.

According to George Smith, Executive Director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, he contacted one donor who he says had no issues with opening the land to traditional uses. Smith says that a second donor voluntarily contacted him and voiced the same.

So who’s telling the truth or not the entire truth?

Baxtergate is already becoming mired in politics and personal agendas.

Previous posts on Baxtergate – here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

The next scheduled workshop is on Wednesday, March 8, 2006 at 10:30 a.m in room 206 Cross State Office Building (1-207-287-1312) The bill ID is LD2015.

Tom Remington

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Baxtergate And The Anti-Hunting Crowd

The Baxter land swap deal that appears to be headed for the cesspools with all the other political foopas, has reared its head to become what it really is – messing with a Mainer. We have all talked about the politics, the secretive negotiations, the economic factors, what the late Governor Baxter would have wanted, the access to the land and it’s limitations and any other excuse anyone can contrive as a reason it will or won’t work.

We have those who are now saying that the Republicans are using the Baxter deal to make the Democratic sitting Governor Baldacci, look bad during an election year. I got news for those who might think that. He doesn’t need any help from the Republicans. He did look bad, inept and uninformed about the deal, as did all the other bureaus and departments run by the Maine government, the Baxter Park Authority and any and all private groups involved.

We have talked about the secret talks that went on for 3 years without informing anyone in the public sector about this – like it was going to slide through without any debate.

There’s the economics too, most of which would affect the local economy of small neighboring towns like Millinocket.

We don’t want to forget Governor Baxter’s long time dream to have Katahdin Lake part of the park – whether he would have or would not have allowed hunting and trapping will always be debated, which brings us to the debate on access to the park.

Should the new addition, if of course it gets added, allow hunting, trapping and other tradional uses? This my friends is the ultimate question. Bring Maine residents, not the implants from other states, the real true born-and-raised-in-Maine folks into this equation and you’re going to get their dander all in a fuss. Your messing with their life, their traditions, their right to hunt and fish………. well, to do just as they darn well please. This is the issue.

Mainers don’t like nobody telling them what to do. They don’t like it when others wheel and deal behind their backs. They don’t like it when outsiders come in and buy up the land they have recreated on for centuries, and shut it down. This is what those who negotiated behind the backs of Maine’s citizens didn’t think about when they were doing it – including the Governor.

Small groups thought they nearly convinced Mainers to stop bear hunting. They now think they have a foothold on Maine and are ready to move in to stop all hunting in this state. Again, I got news for them. They don’t know real Mainers. They don’t have a clue.

The bear issue, which isn’t over, was one tiny issue that leaves Mainers split on how they feel about trapping, baiting and hounding bears. Try and tell them you’re going to stop all bear hunting. Now you’re talking a whole different story. Mainers might want to see officials get rid of trapping bears but when someone talks about doing away with it completely……. ain’t no way!

Mainers don’t like it either when others tell them they got enough land now to hunt and fish on. You might think so but tell that to the family that’s always hunted a certain piece of land for generations and now it’s closed because an out-of-state rich dude moved in and bought it up and put up “No Tresspassing” signs. Tell it to the hunter from Maine who went back to his favorite hunting piece last fall and found the “No Tresspassing” signs. Tell that to the Maine hunter who now has to travel 4 hours to find land that’s accessible for hunting.

I think what we are really beginning to see here is the evolution in the transformation of the identity of the Mainer. Mainers are trying to be squeezed out by big money and the anti-hunting and animal rights crowd. The new kid on the block is the elitist, the country club set, the ones who think that their way is the right way. They don’t understand respect and sharing. They don’t know what it is like to help your neighbor out by taking down a fence or two not putting up more fences and signs. When they run up against people like us Mainers, well, they think we’re pigheaded, stubborn and ignorant.

Another news flash! We are pigheaded and stubborn but we ain’t ignorant. We know what we want and we know how things should work. This Baxter deal ain’t working the way Mainers think it ought to. Those negotiating this deal went against real Mainers. They violated their trust. It’s going to take a long time to get it back too. Mainers have long memories, real long.

Mainers share, always have. Their isn’t one Maine hunter who wants exclusive rights to anything. Contrary to what the antis have to say, hunting is a safe sport. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Put in the woods with a bunch of hunters anyday versus on the highway with them fools. I want to share the woods with everyone during hunting season. I have changed my hunting plans before because I saw hikers or mountain bikers and even ATV riders nearby. It isn’t hard to do, that sharing thing, respect for others.

Maine hunters just don’t think it’s right for someone to take a big piece of their land away from them and then tell them they can’t do what they’ve always done – hunt, fish and trap. If you’re new to Maine and the Maine way, you’ve got a lot to learn my friend.

Just try sneaking another one by us dumb Mainers!

Tom Remington

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Work Session Schedule for Baxter Land Swap

The following is the schedule for work sessions regarding the Baxter land swap deal.

Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (287-1312)

9:30 AM Room 206, Cross State Office Building

L.D. 2015    WORK SESSION:  Resolve, Authorizing Certain Land Transactions by the Department of Conservation, Bureau of Parks and Lands (Sponsor: Rep. TARDY of Newport) (GOVERNOR’S BILL)

Tom Remington

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Maine's Bear Hunting Task Force Makes Recommendations

After the 2004 battle for bear hunting, in which millions of dollars were wasted on both sides of the aisle, Maine fish and game officials agreed after pressure from whacko, out of touch animal rights groups, to form a task force to talk about bear hunting and trapping issues. Why is beyond me.

The task force brought together members from the fish and game, Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, Maine Trappers Association, Maine Guides Association. Maine Bowhunters, as well as groups like Maine Friends of Animals and Wildlife Alliance of Maine, a group that formed after the referendum to fight the hunting lobby in Augusta.

First let’s cover the recommendations. Eliminate steel-jawed foot traps. Bear trappers can use only one trap instead of two. DIFW will study baiting and its affects. DIFW to study trappers, their habits, equipment, etc.

The first two items are simply rule changes that can go through the normal process but the other two require funding of which the department isn’t sure where any money would come from to fund these studies.

The meetings most of the time were spent arguing and fighting over the same crap that was argued over during the referendum battle of 2004. The animal rights groups are still using the same tired talking points saying there are more people in Maine who are non-hunters than hunters, blah, blah, blah.

Robert Fisk Jr. who is head of the Maine Friends for animals, has resorted to threats because he has no basis for his lame arguments. He is threatening another referendum battle in 2007. He also thinks that DIFW and all the rest of us need to start working toward change – just for him. He just doesn’t get it. Maine doesn’t want his change.
It is true that there are far more Mainers who don’t hunt than do but the overwhelming majority of Maine residents, with the exception of the anti-“anything” groups, fully support hunting and fishing as a strong and welcomed heritage of Maine. There are more Mainers who have issues with some of the methods used for bear hunting and trapping but the overall practice of hunting is perceived and accepted far more readily than Fisk will admit.

Daryl DeJoy, executive director of Wildlife Alliance of Maine, says his group has tried to get reasonable changes made through the legislative process without success. Maybe Mr. DeJoy should step back and ask himself why that is. Again, Maine doesn’t want his changes either.

It is time for Maine residents, hunters and everyone who enjoys the outdoors and wildlife, to take a proactive approach to the continuous onslaught of out-of-touch animal rights groups and send them packing. We don’t want there foolishness brought to our state. Maine needs to speak up once and for all and pass a Constitutional Amendment that will tell these groups, Maine supports hunting, trapping, fishing, hiking, camping, the wildlife management practices that utilize hunting and the longtime heritage that has made Maine what it is today.

Maybe it is time for those who think hunting is an inhumane activity, to go back to the city where they readily shoot human beings. (for you hyper-sensitive types, I don’t mean so you will be shot).
Tom Remington

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More Information on Baxtergate

As lawmakers continue to struggle through this fiasco, more prominent Maine people are letting their voices be heard on the issue. Today in the Bangor Daily News, V. Paul Reynolds, editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal and former information officer of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, has an editorial on Baxtergate.

Much of what Reynolds talks about are the same issues I have been spouting off about for days but he does shed more light on the issue of whether the deal would be good if it were simply a business transaction of buying and selling land.

I have stated my position and have also said what I feel would be a reasonable compromise. Where many have felt that they would approve the swap if the 6,000 acres being added to Baxter State Park were to remain open for all recreational access, I for one said it was not a good deal for Mainers and I stand by that. We would even then, be giving up far too much public lands. As Reynolds points out in his article, swapping sales of land and getting $750 an acre vs. paying over $2,000 isn’t such a good business deal in my opinion.

But, my compromise was either opening up the 6,000 acres to full access or guarantees that the state will buy comparable lands to replace what we lose. I stick by that and think it is fair.

What I don’t want to hear anymore are those that keep saying hunters, fishermen, hikers, campers, snowmobilers, etc. have more than enough land now. That is shortsighted and untrue. Available land in Maine for recreation is dwindling at a rapid pace and Maine is not keeping up. In a very short amount of time, I predict that Maine will be just like many states – land will bought up by wealthy city slickers and if you want to get in on some good entrepreneurial enterprise, start selling “No Tresspassing” signs. It is happening now right before our eyes and it’s not about the go the other way.

If you want to call me selfish, fine but at least try to understand that hunters and all recreationalists who depend upon private landowners generousity, are looking down the road to the not so distant future and we are not interested in finding land just for hunting and closing it off to others.

I hear the lame argument so often that the woods aren’t safe during hunting season. What I want to know is what the difference is between going into the woods with safety clothing on with or without a gun. Hunters by the millions have roamed the woods in Maine for centuries and it’s safer than being in a car driving down the highway. On days I’m not hunting, I have no problem putting on an orange vest and taking a walk or a hike up a hill. I have more faith in well educated hunters than I do those behind the wheel.

Let’s get beyond the hunters and trappers issue and look at what is good for Maine. This land swap deal is not a good deal but let’s not give up on it either. If Gardner Land Co. was willing to negotiate once, chances are they will again. Let’s find another way to protect Baxter without shutting out many to satisfy a few.

Tom Remington

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Maine's Governmental Leaders Have Messed Up – The Saga of Baxtergate

The Baxter land swap deal has turned into a political quandry. Maybe we should begin calling it Baxtergate. In all my years, I have never seen a secret negotiation involving the public trust, end positively. What were the government and government run entities thinking when they began the negotiations for the land swap? Maybe their intentions were good but to carry out this proposal to the point of agreeing to all finer points without input from the public has been disastrous and will prove to be a total embarassment to the Baldacci camp.

The skepticism runs high from Maine residents and out-of-state interests as well. If you would like to get an idea of a cross section of ideas and opinions, visit the Portland Press Herald’s story by John Richarson that ran on February 28, 2006. At the end of the article is a list – at the time of this writing had 41 comments – of comments collected as a result of just this article. The article is an opinion piece, so use your judgement when viewing the comments and remember the newpaper is a southern Maine publication which may not be expressing views of a greater sampling of Maine residents. The idea is to sample how differing the opinions of readers are and how they perceive things.

What has made this entire deal a debacle, is citizens had to run to Augusta to voice their concerns, comments and suggestions without first knowing facts. This is what happens when deals are decided on behind taxpayers backs. How can intelligent taxpayers and outdoor zealouts know how they line up on a passionate issue such as this one without first having facts. Did all the secret negotiators not believe this would be a much heated debate? Or, maybe they did.

It seems that we, the general public and I had no prior knowledge, were only told what the negotiators of the deal wanted us to know. And why would that be? This is what happens when things go secret and information withheld. You and I are left to assume. What is there to hide?

By the time this deal is either approved, re-negotiated or dead, we will not know but a very small percentage of what has transpired over the last three years of talks between all parties. This is a big loss to the Maine citizens and it now drives a wedge causing us to be distrusting of the Baldacci administration, the Baxter Park Authority, the Bureau of Parks and Lands, the Trust for Public Lands, the list goes on. (Sorry if I left someone off this VIP list).

This act is causing strife in many places. The little town of Millincocket, Maine is warring with its town council among others. They have been at odds for some time but this issue has further inflammed bad blood between townspeople and the council members. It seems the issue of the Baxter land swap, which is in their back yard, has citizens there upset for many reasons. Their livelihood depends upon the forests, the lakes, the park and nobody invited them into negotiations.

At a time when Mainers, just coming off a battle over bear hunting two years ago, should be banding together, we are being driven apart. Comments being made that refer to us and them. Hunters calling people names, non-hunters putting down the sport. Both sides of the aisle often get bum raps because they are misunderstood and ignorance refuses us to know what drives the other’s passions.

Do we know more today than yesterday? I think so. For those of us who did not attend the hearings on Monday, George Smith, Executive Director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, posted his remarks to the Committee at the SAM web site. I’ll leave his remarks for you to read if your interested.

What did interest me the most from his comments was some tidbits of information he presented to the Committee and the audience. According to what Smith wrote, he had no idea about this plan until last fall. At that time he says he was told the deal was done.

My first briefing on this project occurred last fall, from the Baxter Park Authority: Attorney General Steve Rowe, Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Dan Martin, and Maine Forest Service Director Alec Giffin. They told me they’d already decided to accept the parcel with the conditions that hunting, snowmobiling, and other current and traditional uses would be banned, although they said they were having some trouble convincing the Baxter family to support the project.

I find it a bit intriguing that this group was having trouble convincing the Baxter family to support the project. Why? I would assume that they would want to fulfill the late Governor Baxter’s dream. Maybe the Baxter family could see through the underhandedness.
Maybe you knew, maybe you didn’t. I didn’t know this.

Twenty five percent of Baxter Park is open to hunting: 51,000 acres, open to hunting in Baxter Park. Keeping this Katahdin Lake parcel open to hunting is not unprecedented, or even unusual.

And this is how it happened.

“By the end of 1954 he (Baxter) felt sufficiently pressured into maintaining the good will of the people in the area and of legislators to ask the governor and legislature to amend the deeds of trust of 1949 for lands in T6R9, north of Trout Brook, removing restrictions on the use of firearms, hunting, and trapping in the area. The lands were removed from the game sanctuary. This was done, he said, when he ‘learned that the closing of this area might be detrimental to the citizens in Patten and surrounding territory who operate stores and camps.’ In his last deeds for land in T6R9, T6R10, and T2,R9, he did not impose the restriction.”

Smith further writes about finding information on whose idea it was to ban hunting and trapping from this land deal.

Following my first briefing by the Baxter Authority, I met with a representative of The Trust for Public Land and staff at the Department of Conservation. In that meeting, I was told that it was the private donors to this project who wanted to ban hunting. They had to be accommodated to make the project attractive.

Through continued meetings with the Department of Conservation, Smith was able to find out who some of the larger donors were to this project. He found out one and contacted them.

I kept meeting and talking with DOC officials, and eventually I discovered who one of the large donors is – and I talked with that large donor. In fact, I have talked with that large donor more than once. And I am pleased to report, from my first conversation to my most recent, this large donor has firmly supported hunting on the Katahdin Lake parcel.

And then he had a second donor contact him.

Just last week I was contacted by a second large donor – with the same result. This large donor does not oppose hunting and other traditional activities on this parcel. It is not the donors who insist that hunting be banned. Commissioner McGowan has confirmed this to me and I have heard him say it in other meetings as well.

And here’s an interesting jewel. You can take this however you choose but the bottom line is I think the Governor should know what’s going on.

When Ed Pineau and I met with Governor Baldacci on February 13 to discuss this project, the Governor expressed strong support for our position, and told us he’d never been informed that hunting and snowmobiling would be banned on the Katahdin Lake parcel. He was not happy. He asked Commissioner McGowan, who attended our meeting, to redo the deal and restore hunting and snowmobiling on the parcel.

We have all been blindsided by authorities who have gone beyond what they should have to acheive this land swap. Because the public was left in the dark for three years, their plans have backfired, regardless of whether a compromise is reached in time to save the deal.

The focus of these discussions seem to be on whether hunting should be allowed or not or perhaps it is because I am making it my focus. There are some real issues that we shouldn’t lose sight of no matter how we feel about the plan. To some extent, small towns and communities in and around all the lands affected by a land swap, will be influenced – maybe to a much greater degree than most of us realize.

There are also privately owned camps and businesses on Katahdin Lake that stand a good chance of going out of business and we all have lost sight of the fact that Gardner Land Co. is a viable business with rights and a say in this matter. They have every right to work within the laws that govern them to harvest their timber and manage their forest how they see fit. It is giving of them to be willing to sit down and talk about this before they cut down their money wood. But they can’t wait for ever. They have bills to pay too.

I have made my opinions known that I support all recreational use of this land or I am agreeable to a plan of replacing public lands lost from the deal. But, no matter which side of this debate you line up on, we have all been shafted by Baxtergate. Once again, the taxpayer loses.

Tom Remington

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Hindsite Deer Preserve Gives $100 off to MHT Members

Mark Luce, Owner and Maine Guide, from Hindsite Deer Preserve will be giving all card carrying members of Maine Hunting Today a $100 discount on all Trophy Hunts in the future. If you haven’t yet registered up as a member it is absolutely free for everybody in and out of state. Go here to become a member.

Make sure to check out Mark’s website for pricing. He also has great photos posted of recent hunting successes.

Hindsite Deer Preserve

Steven Remington

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Baxter Debate Heated

As expected the debate yesterday about adding about 6,000 acres of land to Baxter State Park became heated and passionate, each side with their own strong views.

What appears to be shaping up as the dividing issue is how to use the land if and when it becomes part of the Park. Those pushing hardest for the deal say the 6,000 acres needs to become part of the sanctuary as set up with the vast majority of the rest of the Park, meaning limited access and limited use, locking out hunters, trappers, snowmobilers, ATV riders and seaplane access to Katahdin Lake.

On the other side, you have those who do not oppose adding the 6,000 acres providing it gives normal recreational access. Unfortunately for everyone, it appears to be shaping up as a we vs. them battle.

The deal which has been negotiated behind the scenes over the past 3 years, would allow a nationally based, non-profit organization called Trust for Public Land, to raise $14 million dollars to purchase lands, including about 7,400 acres of Maine public lands. The group would then swap their purchase with the 6,000 acre piece that includes Katahdin Lake, owned by Gardner Land Co. It’s a very complicated deal and because it involves public lands, the Maine Legislature would have to approve the sale by a 2/3 majority vote.

There are those passionate in taking advantage of this opportunity to fulfill what they call Governor Percival Baxter’s dream of including Katahdin Lake as part of the park project. They say his vision included both Katahdin Mountain and the Lake. Their passion seems strong enough that they are beginning to alienate themselves from the rest of Maine’s outdoor enthusiasts who want to see the land opened up to multi-use purposes of recreating. A definate divide has emerged between the two sides threatening the deal.

The deal as written would exclude certain uses of the park and any changes in the deal, including how the land will be used, would bring all sides back to the bargaining table to renegotiate.

Alfred Cooper, owner of Katahdin Lakes Camps, who attended the hearing yesterday said that he resented the fact that he is being treated as inferior because he likes to hunt and trap. He encouraged the Legislature to change the plan to safeguard traditional uses of the land.

The real divide that is growing rears its ugly head in comments made by John Glowa of South China when he said that hunters, trappers and snowmobilers don’t have a lock on Maine’s outdoors and outdoor heritage. He also said that being one of the 90 percent of Mainers who don’t hunt, he’s tired of the outdoor extremists trying to impose their wills on the rest of us.

These attitudes are what are becoming more and more prevalent across Maine as the make-up of the Maine citizen changes. It is changing for a couple of reasons, the biggest being the influx of out-of-state residents who do not enjoy the hunting, fishing and outdoor heritage in the same way that Maine natives do. This is creating the great divide. Fortunately for everyone, there are enough still around willing to fight for the continuation of that heritage. I say everyone in that I still feel the groups pushing for the exclusive, limited uses of the park lands is selfish and shortsighted.
The Millinocket town council presented the Legislature a resolution stating in essence that the town supported the purchase of the Baxter land as long as it remained open to traditional uses.

George Smith, Executive Director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, said hunters and trappers never exclude others the way some users are now. He said about those wanting to exclude hunting and trapping from the park, “They’re the newcomers to the wilderness. Hunters have been there for centuries. Why do these people think hunters don’t deserve the same experience, the same solitude? If Gov. Baxter were here today, he would stand with me.”

The debate will rage over the next few weeks as lawmakers try to find perhaps a compromise that will work. Many fear that as it is written, there is not enough support to get the deal passed.

I have made my voice clear that I am willing to compromise in having the state guarantee the purchase of the same amount of public lands lost in the swap that would provide the same quality traditional recreational uses as we are giving up. I think that is a fair and reasonable request. And, as a hunter, hiker and all around outdoor enthusiast, I would be willing to share that land with everyone.

Previous posts here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
Tom Remington

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Why The Baxter Land Swap Shouldn't Happen

An editorial this morning in the Portland Press Herald exactly points out why the Baxter land swap shouldn’t occur. The editorial hits the nail on the head by showing readers how selfish, elitist, and ignorant of the truth they are, while at the same time blaming those opposed to the land swap of being just that.

The writer calls it a rare “win-win” situation when in fact it is not. At the same time they attempt to paint a picture of how the land around Katahdin Lake is not suited for hunting and snowmobiling.

The principle, apparently, is that they’re fed up with elitists locking off land from traditional users like them. Except that Katahdin Lake offers marginal hunting and has never been popular with snowmobilers.

The writer then goes on to call outdoorsmen and some Legislators shortsighted, pointing out that Maine has more land open to hunting, fishing and snowmobiling than we need.

Forget for a moment that vast stretches of Maine are already open to hunting. Forget that snowmobilers can already sled from Freeport to Rangeley and beyond on their own trails.

Forget that hunters and snowmobilers represent a distinct minority in Maine.

What the author of the article doesn’t see is the obvious, which is what upsets not just hunters but all those who enjoy outdoor recreation. Yes, hunters and snowmobilers are a minority of the total population in Maine but I can guarantee you that outdoor enthusiasts far outnumber the limited few who are allowed to use Baxter State Park each year because of its limited access policies.

What troubles me is by adding 6,000 acres of limited access land to Baxter by removing 7,400 of total access public lands, is defeating the whole purpose in owning public lands. The more I read and see from this entire issue makes me think that this Baxter land swap is being promoted by a special interest group.

If those wishing to add land to Baxter State Park really want to get it done, then it needs to be above board and find a way to purchase the land without having to give up public lands or be willing to open the sought after parcel to all forms of recreation.

It’s very simple. Most people opposed to the swap aren’t willing to give up lands now open for recreation for land that will be closed with limited access.

Tom Remington

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Monday Morning Podcast

[AUDIO:http://www.mainehuntingtoday.com/b2/audioblogs/baxter.mp3]

Good morning. Today in the Maine Legislature, debate begins over the Baxter State Park land swap issue. This podcast deals with issues that I think are extremely important to taxpayers of Maine as well as hunters and recreational enthusiasts.

Tom Remington

*Note* If you do not have high speed Internet access, right click on link and “save target as”

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