Wildfire hits the hot spots

We taped three new Wildfire TV shows on June 10 and talked about some hot topics. First up was Representative Mike Shaw, the House Chair of the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee.

We ran through the list of what the committee did and did not do, and my cohost Harry Vanderweide challenged Mike on a couple of key issues including the lack of action on proposals to increase the moose harvest. We discussed the bear bill and referendum, IFW funding, the deer plan, fisheries bills and the committee’s decision to overturn some recent DIF&W rules, and probably hit the hardest on the $245 cost of killing each coyote in the agency’s special predation project.

Mike did a great job both on the show and throughout the session. His Wildfire episode will begin airing on June 19 through July 2.

Our guest on the second show was Lucas St.Clair of Elliotsville Plantation, organized by his mother Roxanne Quimby to purchase and manage woodland in the northern part of the state. Elliotsville owns about 160,000 acres, 70,000 of which Roxanne would like to turn into a national park.

I probably don’t need to tell you that her proposal has been very controversial. Lucas moved his family to Maine to take on the project, hired some exceptional folks from the national level with a strong background in hunting and fishing to help design a new plan for these lands, and is now traveling the state, gathering more input and informing people of his ideas and hopes for this property. I have had a lot of influence on this plan, working to protect wildlife habitat, keep these lands available for hunting, fishing, and snowmobiling, and trying to use the plan to help the folks in that area of northern Maine rebuild their damaged economy.

When you watch this show, I think you will be impressed with the progress and the decisions Lucas has made. This show will begin airing on July 3 and run through July 16.

Tom Doak, the executive director of the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine, was our guest on the third show. We covered a ton of issues from important research on landowner issues done by the University of Maine’s Jessica Leahy to a wild and crazy legislative debate over whether or not those who commercially harvest mushrooms on private land should have landowner permission. And we discussed a bill that would have required game wardens to have probable cause before putting up a camera on private land to spy on the landowner.

We also talked about the sorry history of landowner relations programs at state agencies, and Tom and I reported on a new project we will launch this fall called Keep Maine Clean. Tom’s show begins airing on July 17 and will run through July 30.

Wildfire airs statewide on the Time Warner cable channels: Wednesdays at 7 pm, Fridays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 7 pm, and Sundays at 8:30 pm. Each show premiers on a Wednesday night and runs for two weeks.

The show can also be seen on the Maine Audubon website (maineaudubon.org), the organization that now owns and sponsors the show. Check it out!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. George also hosts, with Harry Vanderweide, a TV talk show called Wildfire, now in its 13th year and focused on hunting, fishing, environmental, and conservation issues. The show is owned and produced by Maine Audubon and seen on its website as well as on the Time Warner cable TV station throughout the state.