A lot fewer people are visiting and enjoying the lands in the North Maine Woods. That confirms my research when sporting camp owners told me their greatest challenge is the loss of hunters and anglers.
In the last eleven years, visitor days fishing in North Maine Woods have declined from 21,143 to 12,365. Hunting days actually peaked in 1991 at 74,536. In 2017, hunter days totaled only 33,391.
The loss of the deer herd in that region was a key reason for the decline in hunter numbers. I don’t know why angling declined, because that region still offers great fishing.
Overall, visitor days peaked in 2001 at 283,816. In 2017, visitor days totaled 149,482.
I’ve heard a few complaints lately that access fees have gone up, but that was caused entirely by Maine’s increase in the minimum wage. The fees go entirely to the staff at the entrances. A lot of people don’t understand that they contribute nothing to all those roads we drive. The landowners pay for the roads.
We are very lucky to have such great access to those millions of acres of private land.