November 30, 2022

Director of North Maine Woods Fears Loss of Jobs Over Bear Hunting Ban

Al Cowperthwaite is the executive director of the North Maine Woods. One of the responsibilities of the North Maine Woods is to track and control traffic onto large parcels of private land, mostly for recreational use. Cowperthwaite believes that if the Humane Society of the United States is successful in banning bear hunting with bait, trapping and hunting bears with dogs, a lot of people will lose their jobs due to lost revenue.

Cowperthwaite’s entire article on this issue can be found in the November 2013 issue of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. (Print publication or by subscription online.)


The North Maine Woods Ain’t What it Used to Be

George Smith, outdoor writer and activist, shares with his readers that visitors to the North Maine Woods has increase for some activities and decreased for others. Al Cowperthwaite, the manager of the North Maine Woods (NMW), says the numbers he provided Smith “is pretty raw data which is interesting but I caution using it to come to any conclusions.” What’s to conclude? Visits are what visits are. (Yeah I know. That sounds stupid.)

While it appears that some hunting activities have seen increases over the years, deer hunting has disappeared (no surprises there) but there is one observation that should be made. (Note: This is not a “conclusion”. Only an observation.)

So, where have the declines in visitor days come? From some surprising places. Think eco-tourism.

Visitors days by canoeists have steadily declined from 23,850 in 1999 to a shockingly low 4,755 in 2012. Given that this region includes the storied Allagash, this is hard to believe. I remember the bitter battle over attempts by some interests to reduce access to the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. Turns out they had nothing to worry about. While access remains at most of the traditional places, visitors have abandoned the AWW in droves.

Considering that much of the “greenies” say we need more wilderness spaces, perhaps the question begs to be asked, “For what?”