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.