MDIFW honors George Smith for a lifetime of outdoor achievement
AUGUSTA — Charlie Mann of Winthrop and George Smith of Mount Vernon, who has a camp at Nesowadnehunk Lake on the edge of Baxter State Park, were each honored with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award. MDIFW Commissioner Judy Camuso presented the award to Smith and Elaine Mann, Charlie’s widow, at the annual Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine banquet on Sept. 7. The award, one of the department’s highest honors, celebrates a lifetime of achievement and mentoring in Maine’s outdoors.
Smith, a lifelong hunter and angler, grew up in Winthrop. Smith turned his passion for Maine’s outdoors into a career, becoming the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine for 18 years, host of the TV show “Wildfire,” a 30-year columnist for the Kennebec Journal and outdoor blogger for the Bangor Daily News.
Smith was instrumental in establishing the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, which has provided millions of dollars to protect and enhance Maine’s fish and wildlife resources, the department’s outdoor license plates and ensured hunting and fishing were an integral part of the land for Maine’s future program. He also led successful efforts to revive Maine’s moose hunt, defend Maine’s bear hunt, simplify Maine’s hunting and fishing laws and expand opportunities for hunters, trappers and anglers.
Charlie Mann was honored posthumously, but learned of his selection prior to passing away on Sept. 4. Mann founded the department’s Hooked On Fishing, Not On Drugs Program over 25 years ago, and served as the department’s volunteer coordinator, scheduling programs and getting volunteers to assist in those programs.
Mann was also a well-known and avid fly tier, tying at many national shows and in recent years, devoted much of his time to “Back In The Maine Stream” where he taught disabled veterans how to tie flies. He also he also created and tied commemorative flies including the Gove. Angus King Streamer, the Maine Warden Service Streamer, the Maine Guide Fly and other streamers commemorating individuals throughout the state.