DIFW presents me with a lifetime achievement award

            Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife presented me with a lifetime achievement award recently at the annual banquet of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. DIFW’s Commissioner, Judy Camuso, presented the award, along with Deputy Commissioner Tim Peabody.

            I thanked them and told them the award meant a lot to me, which it did. There was a big audience there and I told them that it was kind of amusing to receive this award from the department, after I spent a career irritating and aggravating them. That got a good laugh.

            But it is true. Throughout my career at the Sportsman’s Alliance we often submitted legislative bills to force the department to do things they did not want to do. I guess in retrospect they realize that a lot of those things were important.

            I especially appreciated the work of SAM’s fisheries committee, which led the way to protection of our native brook trout in lakes and ponds. We could not get DIFW to do that so we proposed a legislative bill to do that. And the department opposed our bill. But when they figured out that the bill was going to be enacted, they agreed to do it.

            I told the crowd at the SAM banquet that I am very pleased, thanks to Judy Camuso’s leadership, that DIFW recently extended that protection to the tributaries of those native trout lakes and ponds.

            I am especially grateful to SAM executive director Dave Trahan and Secretary of State Matt Dunlap for their generous remarks about me. I enjoyed working with both of them when they were in the legislature, and we really did get a lot done.

            Because of my illness, ALS, I don’t have much energy in the evenings so Linda and I planned to leave right after I received my award, but I was having so much fun visiting with old friends and people I had worked with over the years, that we stayed for all the rest of the awards and the dinner. It was a great evening!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.