Friday, August 17, 2012

Maine Turnpike toll increase is approved eff. Nov. 1

PORTLAND, Maine — Motorists traveling the full length of the Maine Turnpike will pay 40 percent more, with cash increases of 50 cents to a dollar at three toll plazas, under a plan approved Thursday by the turnpike's board.

The plan, effective Nov. 1, increases cash tolls by $1 at the York toll plaza and by 50 cents at toll plazas in West Gardiner and New Gloucester. Also, there are 50-cent increases for northbound traffic entering in Wells and southbound traffic entering in Gray. Maine E-ZPass rates will increase 1 cent per mile.

Under the new rates, the cost of traveling the entire turnpike from York to Augusta will increase from $5 to $7.

The president of the Maine Motor Transport Association said he was confident that the toll increase was necessary.

The rate increase will bring in an additional $21.1 million in annual revenue, helping to cover the turnpike's operating budget, maintenance and long-term debt service.

Director Peter Mills said that even with the increase, the Maine Turnpike remains among the bottom 20 percent among U.S. toll roads for cost. And it seems inexpensive compared to $12 to get under the Hudson River in New York and a proposed $14 toll for a new Tappan Zee Bridge outside New York.

"You're still getting a bargain for driving 109 miles in Maine," he said.

Critics pointed to inequities of Maine's toll system, where motorists can pay vastly different rates per mile depending on where they get on and off the highway.

Turnpike officials say E-ZPass electronic payments are more equitable because they're billed per mile up, allowing for potential savings over flat rates paid at toll plazas.

The board on Thursday directed the turnpike to take steps to make it easier for Maine motorists to participate in the electronic tolling system, which is in use in 14 states.

Already, the turnpike has reduced the cost of the transponder device from $25 to $10. And the turnpike is considering selling transponders at AAA branches and allowing online activation instead of the current system of mailing in E-ZPass applications to the turnpike headquarters, Mills said.

Mills predicted that within 10 to 20 years the Maine Turnpike will exclusively use electronic tolling. At present, 62 percent of Maine Turnpike revenues come from E-ZPass users; of that total 38 percent comes from Maine motorists and 24 percent comes from out-of-staters, he said.

The last toll increase was in February 2009. When the new toll rates go into effect, the cash cost for drivers will be $3 in York, $2.25 in New Gloucester and $1.75 in West Gardiner. Tolls will increase to $1.50 for northbound traffic entering in Wells and southbound traffic entering in Gray.


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CONCORD, N.H. -- The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department has set final season dates and bag limits for the 2012-2013 waterfowl hunting season. After considering comments from sportsmen at the August public meeting, New Hampshire’s proposed waterfowl season is much like last year’s, with a 60-day duck season with a 6-bird daily limit, and a 60-day Canada goose season with a 2-bird daily limit.

Fish and Game will continue split seasons for both ducks and Canada geese in the inland and coastal zones to allow early and late hunting opportunities. This year, there will also be a straight season in the new Northern Zone, where marshes and ponds tend to freeze over earlier than in areas south of the White Mountains. A map of the state's waterfowl zones can be viewed at

Following are the seasons for each zone:

    * The Inland Zone waterfowl season will open on October 2 and run through November 4; then reopen November 21 through December 16, 2012.

    * The Coastal Zone waterfowl season will open on October 3 and run through October 14; then reopen November 21 through January 7, 2013.

    * The Northern Zone waterfowl season will open on October 2 and run straight through November 30, 2012.

To hunt waterfowl in New Hampshire, you must have a New Hampshire hunting license, a New Hampshire Migratory Waterfowl License and a federal duck stamp. You also are required by federal law to register for the National Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP). Separate HIP permits are needed in each state you hunt. Licensed hunters should call 1-800-207-6183, or go to and click on "Buy a License Online"; you can receive a permit number at this site (there is no charge). Write the permit number on your hunting license. Each year, a random selection of hunters is asked to complete a voluntary harvest survey.

Hunters are asked to report all banded birds using the toll-free phone number, 1-800-327-BAND or go to

For more information on waterfowl hunting in New Hampshire, visit

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

NJ family rescued in NH’s White Mountains

Aug 15, 2012 02:58 PM

Rescuers have come to the aid of a New Jersey family stranded on a trail in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

Jed and Miriam Einhorn and their son, Chaim, of Lakewood, N.J., set out from a trailhead from Mount Lafayette to hike a nine-mile loop. They called for 911 for assistance about 9 p.m. Tuesday. The couple are in their 50s; Chaim Einhorn is 31.

The family had a small light with them, but it was not sufficient for them to navigate the wooded trail.

New Hampshire Fish and Game conservation officers reached the Einhorns about 11:15 p.m. and escorted them down the mountain.

Lt. James Kneeland said the family was familiar with the trail, but did not allow enough time to complete their planned hike.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Appalachian Trail Celebrates 75 Years As The World’s—Yes, The World's—Quintessential Hike | National Parks Traveler

Appalachian Trail Celebrates 75 Years As The World’s—Yes, The World's—Quintessential Hike | National Parks Traveler

Today is the 75th anniversary of the world’s quintessential hike—the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

Each spring nearly 2,000 people hoist unbelievably heavy packs and strain down a misty trail, intent on accomplishing the most difficult task of their lives: going the length of Eastern America’s Appalachian Mountains. This is a unit of the National Park Service—a footpath linking a tree-covered mountaintop in Georgia and a rock-capped summit in central Maine. The Appalachian Trail (AT) may have been the world’s first long-distance, organized recreational avenue to wilderness. Today there are many long-distance trails—but none equal the AT.

When first proposed in 1921 by regional planner Benton MacKaye, the idea for a Appalachian trail was labeled “an experiment in regional planning.” Actually, it was a lofty philosophical experiment, intended to dilute the hold that industrialism had on modern life. The AT would preserve the East’s wilderness while offering the laboring masses an uplifting escape from the manufacturing economy. The idea caught on dramatically. People recognized that the future of the logging-denuded and eroded Appalachians were at stake. And trail enthusiasts liked the idea of the path itself.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Mass. Hiker Succumbs to Medical Condition on Tuckerman Ravine Trail

Update: August 14, 2012 - The name of the hiker has been released. The victim was Gary Muise of Sharon, Massachusetts.

CONCORD, N.H. – A 57-year-old Massachusetts man hiking on New Hampshire's Mount Washington with his two teen-age daughters died after experiencing a medical emergency on the trail today (Monday, August 13). His name is being withheld until Tuesday morning pending family notifications.

The victim was hiking on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail this morning with his two daughters, age 15 and 18, when he collapsed approximately 2.5 miles from the Appalachian Mountain Club's Pinkham Notch Visitors Center. One of the girls ran back down the trail to the visitor's center for assistance, while the other daughter stayed with him. Other hikers stopped to help, and AMC staff soon arrived on the scene, but they were unable to resuscitate him. He was transported down the mountain to the visitors center at 2 p.m. by New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Conservation Officers, AMC staff and Mountain Rescue Service volunteers.

No further information is available at this time. The victim's name will be posted on Tuesday when more information becomes available.

Eagle Sighting along the Merrimack river in the Haverhill & Amesbury Area

While out driving with my wife today on one of our "out and about drives to nowhere in particular" my wife spotted a male Bald Eagle flying upstream in the opposite direction we were traveling.

I backed up and conveniently pulled into a turnout on the edge of the road that had been made into a scenic lookout area by one of the neighbors.

 He landed in a dead tree directly across the river from us and proceeded to groom himself on a limb.  This continued for about 15 minutes until he decided to move on further upstream.

Later on our way home this afternoon, I stopped for another sighting across the river which turned out to be a negative find only to look over my shoulder in front of the car to see a Red tail Hawk on the power lines just above the car.

All in all a great day!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Father, daughter rescued after getting lost on NH's Mount Shaw

MOULTONBOROUGH, N.H. — A father and daughter are safe after getting lost in heavy rain and fog on New Hampshire's Mount Shaw.

Fifty-six-year-old Michael Arcidy of Bedford and his 23-year-old daughter, Chiara, called for help Saturday night after straying off the trail. Fish and Game conservation officers located the hikers using GPS coordinates and used an all-terrain vehicle to reach and rescue them.

Officials say the father and daughter did have appropriate clothing and most of the recommended hiking gear, but they did not have a map that could have helped them get back on the trail.

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