The 6-year-old grandson sits in the front seat of the old aluminum canoe and casts a jig toward shore, working it back as skillfully as a professional bass angler, while his grandfather watches with a mixture of love, pride and anticipation.
There! An eager smallmouth grabs the jig, the boy lifts the rod, the fish is on, the fish is up and out of the water.
“That’s a huge fish, Addison,” I exclaim. His smile tells me that the use of Land for Maine’s Future funds to purchase the land surrounding this remote pond in the Kennebec Highlands was a very wise decision.
I once hunted and fished this area when it was privately owned, and saw no need for it to be purchased by the public. But the days when we enjoyed unfettered access to private land in Maine are over.
For the past decade, an epidemic of posted signs has squeezed sportsmen into smaller and smaller parcels. Recreational leasing of private lands has also established a foothold in Maine, and will expand as it has in every other state.
Public lands will be increasingly important if Mainers without money — and that’s most of us — and their children and grandchildren are to have places to hunt and fish.
This is why I’m voting yes on Question 3 that includes $6.5 million for Land for Maine’s Future.
George Smith, Mount Vernon