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Rep. Duchesne aims to promote Maine’s sporting opportunities

Measure would support rural economy by boosting efforts to market hunting and fishing

March 4, 2015

AUGUSTA – Rep. Bob Duchesne, D-Hudson, seeks to promote Maine’s outdoor heritage and support the state’s rural economy by boosting efforts to market hunting and fishing opportunities.

“Hunting and fishing are critical parts of the rural Maine economy,” said Duchesne. “This bill is intended to help the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife improve its ability to market our state’s unique sporting opportunities.”

The bill, LD 668, which was referred to the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee Tuesday, would create a comprehensive marketing program within the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. It would also require the department to collaborate with the Office of Tourism and the Department of Economic and Community Development to enhance its marketing efforts.

“Promoting outdoor recreation and sporting opportunities is a win-win for rural Maine,” said Rep. Michelle Dunphy, D-Old Town, who is cosponsoring the measure. “It gives us the opportunity to grow this crucial economic driver while remaining true to our heritage.”

According to studies of the economic impact of recreational hunting and freshwater fishing, resident and non-resident sportsmen contributed a total of more than $6.5 million to the state’s economy in 2013 alone. The economic impact is particularly important to the success of rural businesses, including those which benefit directly, like guides and sporting camps, as well as those that benefit indirectly, like restaurants and general stores.

Former director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and prominent outdoor writer George Smith urged support of the measure in a recent column, writing: “It’s time to market Maine’s hunting and fishing and restore the state’s reputation as THE place to hunt and fish.”

The bill will be scheduled for a public hearing in the coming weeks.

Duchesne is serving his fifth term in the Maine House and represents Alton, Corinth, Hudson, Milford and Argyle Township. He is a member of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee as well as the Government Oversight Committee.

Dunphy is serving her first term and represents Old Town and Penobscot Indian Island. She is a member of the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee.