2012-08-29 / Front Page

Phillips to celebrate outdoor heritage

By BJ Bangs Irregular Staff Writer

PHILLIPS — The outdoors will take center stage the weekend of Sept. 7 and 8 in what organizer Rick Rodgers hopes will become an annual event —the Phillips Outdoor Heritage Days.

A recreational safety coordinator for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Rogers said the fall timing is perfect for this event because people are starting to think about hunting, trapping and snowmobiling.

Phillips is a perfect place for an outdoors festival be- cause, “we do everything right here. We have beautiful water and mountains.” Rogers said he caught his first fish in Phillips, a long time ago. In years gone by, Phillips was the hub. You rode to Phillips to take the railroad to Rangeley.

The weekend will kick off Friday night when IF&W Commissioner Chandler Woodcock will hold a sportsman’s forum following a public supper at the Phillips Elementary School. The supper, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., is designed to raise money for the bicentennial mural that was painted at the end of Phillips Hardware earlier this year by Sonia Guy.

This forum is a great place for people to ask questions about the upcoming hunting season including the deer and moose populations. People will have an opportunity to ask questions about “all things outdoors,” he said. This gives the department a better handle on what the public’s concerns are, Rogers said.

Saturday’s event will be at Steve and Judy Townley’s field (across from the town’s fire station). At 9 a.m., the events will start. The national 4-H shooting sports program, archery division, run by the Maine Conservation School, will be available for everyone to try.

The idea of the archery program is to teach the fundamentals of archery marksmanship, rules and safety guidelines, make archery equipment, and shoot with sights and different bows. It will be a lot more than just information, Rogers said. There will be a chance for hands-on experiences.

This 4-H Shooting Sports program, run for over 50 years the University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Bryant Pond (formerly the Maine Conservation School), has strengthened children’s relationship to the natural world with a combination of inspired outdoor fun, practical woods-wise skills, and “hands-on” conservation education. It’s about proper training, creating an appreciation of natural resources and developing selfconfidence and responsibility, Rogers said.

Also scheduled to be on hand is the IF&W Outdoors Partners Program, which connects game wardens with the sporting public at community events, sporting shows, and other events. The OPP trailer includes a flat screen TV with the ability to host the internet and play information DVDs. It also has a display area for information related to fish and wildlife.

IF&W deals with “anything wild,” Rogers said. That includes turkeys, snakes, insects and butterflies. It’s a lot more than animals that are legally hunted. The department also spends a lot of time analyzing development plans like Plum Creek’s Moosehead plan and wind projects.

Representatives from the Atlantic Salmon Restoration Project will be on hand hopefully with updated information about how well the re-stocking program is going in the Sandy River. Rogers said because this program is under the Maine Department of Marine Resources and not IF&W, he does not have the latest information about the project’s success, but has heard there are glimpses of some relatively large Atlantic Salmon in the river. He said the river is perfect for Atlantic salmon because the bottom of the river is always changing. That’s the type of habitat that salmon want, he said. There are hopes to have more salmon here than there were 100 years ago.

The Maine Trappers Association will have trapping demonstrations. Rogers said trapping is the most highly regulated activity in the state. Trappers need to take a home-study class, take a law quiz and go through handson trapping to demonstrate that they know how to trap in a safe manner.

Saturday, there will be a Mountain Man and a Mountain Woman Contest with some special events that will be fun for all.

Rogers is still working on the details. He is tentatively planning for representatives from Trout Unlimited and the Department of Conservation to be on hand as well as a number of other organizations that he’s invited to the event. There are also rumors that Fly Rod Crosby will be walking around during the day.

Hunting, fishing and trapping are all about controlling surplus numbers, more than what the habitat can sustain. If there’s a surplus of deer, moose, turkey or bear, a management goal is established. The role of the fisherman, hunter and trapper is to help obtain that goal set by IF&W.

For more information about the outdoor heritage festival, contact Rogers at 639-5421.

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