June 24, 2018
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Wild places on the minds of many Mainers

By John Holyoke, Special to the BDN

It’s been an eventful April in Maine for outdoors enthusiasts, and we’re not two weeks into the month. We’ve successfully dug ourselves out after another foot of snow pounded many parts of the state. Open-water fishing is in full swing — if, that is, you can find any open water.The state legislature is busily debating dozens of outdoor-related bills.

And this week, three seemingly unrelated outdoor news items crossed my desk.

First, the Natural Resources Council of Maine unveiled the results of a survey that it commissioned, in which Mainers showed steadfast support for a clean environment and regulations that would keep it that way.

Second, in what is being called the first ranking of its kind, Maine was named the most peaceful state in the U.S.

And third, on Thursday a Maine judge invalidated Plum Creek’s massive rezoning plan for the Moosehead Lake region, saying that the state’s Land Use Regulation Commission did not follow its own rules and voted on a plan without a proper public hearing.

At the risk of further aggravating a certain subset of our readers — those fringe characters on both sides who have taken to framing every issue as a conservative versus liberal battle for what they, and their respective ilk, deem proper — those three news items do seem to share a common thread worth considering.

Many Mainers — most, I’d guess — love their wild places. They love clean water and clean air and living in a place where they can enjoy both. They love recreating in a state that still embraces its rural roots.

Adding jobs to our economy and turning Maine into a state where young students can graduate and thrive, rather than graduate and drive (out of state, to a place where jobs are less scarce) is a priority that many liberals and conservatives share.

How we get to that goal, and how much of what makes our state special we’re willing to give away in order to do so, seems to be a major point of contention.

As the political climate continues to polarize, both nationally and locally, finding a necessary common ground likely will become more challenging in the months and years ahead.

That’s not to say, however, that finding common ground, that meeting those challenges, wouldn’t be beneficial to both sides. Meeting those challenges also would be beneficial to the vast majority of us whose political, environmental and economic sensibilities lie somewhere in the middle of those extremes that are garnering so much attention.

Just a bit of food for thought on a Saturday morning.

L.L. Bean to talk turkey

Maybe you like to talk turkey. Perhaps you live with a gasping gobbler. Either way, you might want to head to L.L. Bean in Freeport on Saturday to take in the Maine Wild Turkey Federation’s open calling contest.

Some of the top turkey-talkers in New England are expected to show up for the 2 p.m. event, and the winner will qualify for the National Wild Turkey Federation national championship. In addition, the Maine champ will take home a $500 L.L. Bean gift card.

Any form of man-made calling will be allowed and competitors will be asked to perform five specific wild turkey vocalizations. An entry fee of $10 will be charged and all entrants must also be NWTF members.

Up the creek? Buy a paddle

Anyone looking to find a once-a-year deal on a canoe or kayak manufactured by Old Town Canoe Co. ought to seek out their local dealer during this weekend’s annual spring sale. And if you’re looking for a paddle or personal flotation device, you’re sure to find those, too.

This year’s sale won’t be held in Old Town. Instead, the company is taking the event to the dealers themselves, and will make those boats and products available at seven locations statewide during an event that began on Friday and runs through Sunday.

The locations: Ski Rack Sports in Bangor, Johnson True Value in Calais, Kayak Country in Fort Fairfield, Indian Hill Trading Post in Greenville, Maine Sport Outfitters in Rockport, Belgrade Canoe & Kayak in Belgrade and Al’s Sports in Lewiston.

Have feedback? Want to know more? Send us ideas for follow-up stories.

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