EAST MACHIAS, Maine — Jacob van de Sande will not give you the GPS coordinates of his favourite hunting spot, but he will give you a hint: It is on a piece of Washington County-conserved land that numerous persons assume is off-limits to hunting.
That leaves van de Sande in a challenging spot. He’s a land protection project manager for the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and a couple of his targets are to convince a lot more persons to make use of conserved land, and to look at becoming aspect of a increasing land conservation movement.
So when he does not necessarily want dozens of other hunters joining him through deer season each and every November, he does want a lot more hunters to know that there are thousands of acres that they may perhaps by no means have viewed as hunting that are readily available to hunt, as properly as to hike, fish and mountain bike.
“I’ll run into persons and speak about the operate I do and speak about a distinct piece of land and say we’re conserving it. And their response is, ‘Oh, that is as well undesirable, mainly because I like to go there, and we go hunting,’” van de Sande stated. “And that is a single of the causes we’re conserving the land.”
Van de Sande stated that in Washington County alone, about 25 % of the land is beneath some kind of conservation status.
Representatives of other land trusts and conservancy groups agree: There’s a lot a lot more land that is open to all types of recreational activities than most persons believe. At a current meeting, the Maine Coast Heritage Trust was joined by reps from the Downeast Coastal Conservancy and the Downeast Salmon Federation — all significant landholders in the Washington County area — all of whom stated they’ve come to recognize that numerous persons misunderstand what a piece of conserved land genuinely is.
“[People hear ‘conserved’ and assume] it is just there to go for a stroll. But in truth, most of our land, and I believe that is accurate of all the other organizations at the table, are open to conventional makes use of — hunting and fishing,” van de Sande stated.
Van de Sande stated the Maine Coast Heritage Trust has parcels of land up to two,400 acres, and that on land exactly where hunting is permitted, all the other hunting state laws are in play — you have got to get permission to erect a tree stand or place up a trail camera, for instance.
And on MCHT lands, indicators are posted advising persons that hunting is permitted, and that wearing hunter orange through hunting season is advised.
Melissa Lee, a regional steward for the MCHT, stated she normally hears from non-hunters who also have false assumptions.
“I believe a lot of persons who come to hike on conservation land have a tendency to believe that hunting is not permitted,” she stated.
For that reason, these indicators can assistance inform two diverse user groups. They inform hikers that hunters may perhaps be present, and remind hunters that there’s a trail network exactly where they’re apt to encounter hikers.
Jon Southern is the executive director of the Downeast Coastal Conservancy, as properly as becoming a regional coordinator of the Maine Division of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s hunter security applications in Washington and Hancock counties. These dual roles have permitted him to assistance fledgling hunters far better comprehend exactly where they may possibly obtain land they can hunt.
“I interface with many thousand new hunters each and every year. And overwhelmingly, when I speak about my part in the Land Trust planet, the response back is, ‘We didn’t recognize we could hunt conservation lands,’” Southern stated.
And Southern, who moved to the U.S. from England in 2001, stated permitting hunting on conserved lands tends to make very good scientific sense as properly.
“We recognize that that hunting is a vital wildlife management tool in the North American wildlife management model,” he stated. “So it tends to make each and every sense with numerous of our properties, in order to sustain a wholesome habitat and maintain carrying capacities at a wholesome level, hunting is a vital tool.”
Acquiring areas to hunt is becoming a great deal a lot more complicated, Southern stated.
“One issue that I’ve encountered in my [DIF&W] part is the massive amounts of land access that we’re losing in Maine appropriate now,” he stated. “We’re losing public access to land at an all time record, price. Some persons have argued it is up to 9,000 acres a week of access that is becoming lost appropriate now.”
Some of that land is posted when it modifications hands from massive land owners to smaller sized landowners, and some is posted by these who have grown tired of other people abusing their home. Other people move to Maine and assume that permitting other people to access their land presents a liability challenge, when Maine has liability laws that are pretty protective of landowners, Southern stated.
Along the road to a single conserved parcel in Cutler, “No hunting” indicators have been posted along the road all the way up to the home line exactly where MCHT lands started, and hunting is permitted.
Kyle Winslow, a website stewardship director for the Downeast Coastal Conservancy stated that when persons do obtain out that a piece of conserved land is open to hunting and choose to hunt there, they normally turn into wonderful stewards themselves.
“They’re pleased to be in a position to go out and use these properties. And so oftentimes, they’ll supply their volunteer assistance to sustain trails or monitor the home or that sort of issue,” he stated.
Dwayne Shaw, the executive director of the Downeast Salmon Federation, stated his organization holds about four,000 acres of conserved land. And he stated that it has turn into increasingly vital to encourage persons to take benefit of the access possibilities that abound in the area.
“In Washington County, we’re at exactly where we’re considering about how do we get a lot more persons out there on the land? How do we market the truth that we want persons hunting?” he stated. “It’s not just permitted, it is a heritage, it is a very good outside activity. It is very good terms of self provisioning meals, for households.”