There are are lots of things to take up our fishing time in the middle of the great month of May. This year we've added a trip to Maine's Moosehead Lake as part of our itinerary. This trip mixes a bit of work with pleasure, as we'll be staying at Maynard's in Maine to take part in the annual Spring Safari of the New England Outdoor Writer's Association, which this old scribe has been a member for close to 45 years.
Moosehead Lake and the region surrounding it has been in transition, as has much of Maine's lake regions. Now recently a landmark agreement with a new owner of thousands of acres of forestland that contained a huge chunk of Moosehead Lake's shoreline has forever protected miles of the big lake's precious shoreline. A great thing.
At the safari, we'll have a very small and short business meeting and spend the rest of a long weekend fishing and enjoying the many friends that we've met through this organization as well as husbands and wives of the group's communicators. We say communicators because in this day and age of electronic communication and all the other means of professionally producing, outdoor media has in some ways widened the opportunities to be a paid outdoor communicator and in other ways diminished the opportunities. The diminishing mostly comes from both small and large newspapers that are fighting to stay afloat because of all of the competition from electronic media. They have seen the opportunity to drop a lot of outdoor coverage to cut costs. We feel saddened when some of the icons of the industry have lost the opportunities to provide outdoor information in the form of weekly columns because of this.
During the dot.com surge in the use of outdoor writers, we were overjoyed at the chance to put out simple columns for about three times the pay that we would receive for our work in print. Also it was a way to utilize the huge storehouse of previously written columns. But then came the dot.com failure and many of us lost those opportunities.
So when we're at Moosehead Lake, we'll be mixing with the new generation of outdoor communicators: radio and TV personalities; photographers and videographers; wildlife and outdoor artists, book authors and also those that are multi-talented and have the ability to produce all of the above.
Fishing and wild turkey hunting will dominate the outdoor pursuits while there. So far we've had a plethora of opportunities to be hosted for various activities: a guided trip on a drift boat on the East Outlet of the Kennebec River to fly fish for trout and salmon. Several opportunities to fish the lake itself. Fly-in trips to fish remote ponds and even a plane ride to view Maine's huge moose herd.
Recently our New England Outdoor Writer's Association has launched a youth outdoor writing contest that is being introduced at local middle and high schools throughout New England. In our first year we've seen a great deal of enthusiasm by several schools in many of the states and we feel the momentum is building for this to be one of our more successful activities. In New Hampshire we had some winning contestants and other schools that were interested in having their students take part.
The group of our members that put this contest together really used their gray matter. Instead of promoting a hook and bullet-type of set of rules, the rules are simply to write about experiences of just about any type of activity in the outdoors. With that as a format we've been accepted in schools that probably would have frowned on asking their students to write about hunting or gun use and some probably not about fishing either.
This culture actually now reflects the makeup of what was once a hook and bullet organization, but currently that couldn't be any farther to the truth. So we're kind of a hold-out in the hook and bullet group, but we've long had an intense interest in the conservation of our natural resources and have actively engaged in this as a life style.
When my wife and I are not involved in the great outdoor activities to be had while at Moosehead Lake, we'll be wearing out a cribbage board and trying to find anyone that we can sucker into a game with us. Every time this happens we've had to walk away with our tail between our legs. Some people just never learn.
Dick Pinney's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at DoDuckInn@aol.com.