Georgia directs sales taxes to fish and wildlife

While we’ve never been able to win public funding for Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Georgia voters stepped up last election day and passed an amendment that will direct up to 80% of the state’s sales tax revenue on outdoor gear toward land water and wildlife.

Wyoming’s legislature is considering a $10 annual pass that would fund upkeep of trails used by hikers, bikers, and other nonmotorized recreationists.

And last September The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) hosted leaders from the outdoor recreation industry, sportsman groups, and state and federal agencies at a workshop in Paradise Valley to explore ways for recreation this to help fund public lands.

Yes, this important issue is getting lots of attention throughout the country.

I have talked to Gov. Janet Mills and DIFW’s new commissioner, Judy Camuso, encouraging them, someday in the future, to find a way for the public to pay for the work DIFW does for them. I also suggested that the department created a report informing the public of all that they do for them, and then continue to  publicize those projects in the future.

I am confident that Judy will significantly increase the amount of information DIFW provides to all of us, and that is step one toward more and fairer funding for this important department.

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. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.