Stop bear baiting

Based on a survey sent to bear hunters, it appears the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is proposing to change bear-hunting laws. A hunter could kill two bears instead of one while hunting and another while trapping in a misguided effort to stabilize the bear population, as John Floyd noted in a Dec. 14 BDN blog post.

But such a change is simply more of the same ineffective management that has led to a growing bear population — a 30 percent increase between 2004 and 2014 — and continues to ignore the fact that bear baiting, hounding and trapping are indefensible.

One of the worst things that can be done to manage a bear population is to artificially increase the amount of available food in the environment and accustom them to human food and smells, which is exactly what happens when mounds of doughnuts, pizza, candy, popcorn and grease are dumped into the woods to attract bears for an easy trophy kill.

Wildlife biologists and management professionals warn that baiting alters bear behavior by habituating bears to human food, which increases the likelihood of conflicts. Baiting could contribute to growing bear populations. Baiting increases the likelihood that disease like rabies will spread because bears and other wildlife are concentrated near bait sites. Both bear hounding and trapping frequently involve the use of such bait as part of those unsavory methods.

It’s time to stop doing the same thing over and over and expect a different result. It’s time to stop feeding the bears.

Kathleen Waugh


Hold harassers accountable

A rise in sexual assault accusations is not indicative of a rise in sexual assault. The reckoning that we are witnessing now, repeatedly and inappropriately referred to as a “witch hunt,” is valid and revolutionary and should be approached with both understanding and attentiveness.

Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Roy Moore and other men in positions of power have historically been excused of their behavior. Rep. John Conyers’ announcement that he will not seek re-election, supposedly because of sexual assault allegations, is an example, though likely for reasons of self-preservation, of the kind of accountability and standard we need to hold politicians and all people abusing their power to.

Shame is powerful, and Conyers’ actions reflect that. Tribalism is anything but good-natured loyalty — as seen in the Alabama Senate special election with Moore — and complacency is compliancy. We must start to look at our candidates and elected officials, at our own family and community members and at the White House and hold them accountable.

Women’s rights are human rights, and women are being indoctrinated with fear and shame when perpetrators should be brought to justice for the actions that have been happening for centuries. Victims can come forward in a society rid of institutionalized victim blaming and complacency, and this corresponds with believing them and condemning those we know are wrong.

Katherine Fogg


Acadia park fee increase

I look forward to visiting Acadia National Park each summer and enjoying the various scenes and activities it provides. As a lover of the park, the price increase in passes for entrance to Acadia upsets me and will likely sadden many frequent visitors of the breathtaking park.

Though this inflation is the result of the $11.33 billion “maintenance backlog” of the national park system, it can be fixed by relying on the country as a whole to produce the money needed to reverse this issue, rather than targeting specific states or parks. Instead of drastically raising the entrance fees at only 17 of the 58 total national parks, the country could alternatively only slightly increase the entrance fee of all the national parks across the United States, putting less pressure on only certain areas to bring in enough revenue to accommodate for the debt.

By doing this, instead of raising the weekly vehicle pass from $25 to $70 at Acadia, for example, the cost could increase less radically and would allow for the country as a whole to solve the maintenance backlog in the park system.

Lauren Ismail