Nine years after the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine began advocating for a sportsman’s license plate, the plates were finally approved by the legislature and ready for purchase in 2008. I hope you have these plates on your vehicles.
Fifty percent of the money is dedicated to fish hatcheries, 25% to landowner relations, 15% to development of boat launches, and 10% to endangered species conservation.
In 2018 $561,578 was raised from the plates. $224,631 went to the hatchery maintenance fund, $179,705 to the boat launch facilities fund, $112,316 to the landowner relations fund, and $44,926 to the nongame endangered species fund.
Then-Senator Marge Kilkelly sponsored SAM’s first license plate bill, and then-Representative Matt Dunlap played a key role in getting the plate authorized. Then-Senator Bruce Bryant and then-Representative Troy Jackson finished the job in 2007, including leading a drive to collect 2000 signatures of sportsmen pledging to buy the plate – a requirement before it could be issued.
We also had quite a debate about the design of the plate. The state ultimately rejected SAM’s suggested design, in favor of the design we still have today, including a moose and brook trout.
It was ironic that by the time the plate was issued, Matt Dunlap was Secretary of State and in charge of issuing the plate.
In a press conference announcing that the plates were ready for purchase, Dunlap said, “Sportsmen from all over the country and world come here so they can enjoy world-class outdoor pursuits. Now sportsmen and others can display some of Maine’s amazing natural wonders right on their vehicles, thus celebrating our outdoor heritage while helping sustain the programs that benefit Maine’s lands and native species.”
If you don’t have these plates on your vehicles, please get them soon!