The Legislature considered a number of bills to create new state designations. One was to make “The Ballad of the 20th Maine” the official state ballad. Of course, we already have a state song, “State of Maine Song.” I’m betting you didn’t know that.

Today our state bird is the chickadee. But we have two species of chickadees, so they debated which of our two chickadees should be the state bird. And they decided to leave well enough alone, so both chickadees can be celebrated. I like that.

They also rejected a proposal to change our state flag, and I heard someone was advocating for a state horse.

A few years ago, we had a legislative bill designating the whoopie pie our state dessert. Amy of Wicked Whoopies in Gardiner proposed the bill and got me involved. It was the best legislative hearing I’ve ever attended, because Amy filled the room with whoopie pies.

Alas, the blueberry growers showed up and demanded that the blueberry pie be the state dessert. And that’s what the Legislature did, although they also designated the whoopie pie at Maine’s state treat. I suggest you enjoy both our state dessert and our state treat today. Do it to celebrate our state!

This all got me to thinking about new state designations. A lot of them could be used to draw tourists to places to see and experience them. We could even start a state designations trail and offer prizes to people who saw all of them. I’ll get this started today.

Our state lake must be Moosehead, the biggest lake in the eastern half of our country. Greenville and Rockwood are struggling economically, and this could help them. I will tell you, fishing this year at Moosehead has been spectacular.

It would also be good to designate a state sporting camp. Many of them are struggling. Perhaps every year we could designate a different camp.

The state river should be the Kennebec, which is beautiful, fun — and cuts through the heart of Maine. I expect this choice will be hotly debated.

The state wild animal would be the moose, already a tourist attraction. But I would add a second designation and make the fox our small wild animal. Foxes can be very friendly. We used to have one that would walk up onto the deck on the front of our house and lay on the bench.

Perhaps we could have a state nasty animal — I’d nominate the skunk.

Then we need a state duck. I’ll nominate the eider, so we don’t ignore Mainers who live on the coast.

And for them, let’s designate a state beach. Mine would be Popham, where we spent a lot of time, partly because we have a friend who owns a camp on the beach, and also because I could catch fish there.

We should probably designate a town, even though this will be a brutal debate. I’ll nominate Lubec, the prettiest spot in Maine. I won’t nominate my town of Mount Vernon because we don’t need any more visitors here.

And how about a state beer? For this one, we could sponsor a contest and invite both Mainers and tourists to participate. It would give us a great excuse to try a lot of Maine beers!

Our state fish must be our native brook trout, although we now catch twice as many bass as brookies. But we have almost all the native brook trout in our country, a precious resource which we have stepped up to protect. I was honored to participate in that effort.

We should have a state tree, wild mushroom, rock, lighthouse (West Quoddy for sure), vegetable, hiking trail, scenic road, owl, hawk, and politician (just kidding!).

We should have a state mountain, but I would choose one other than Katahdin, which is already too crowded.

And I love the idea of a state secret place. Of course, we would keep that to ourselves.

I would suggest a state sandwich, other than the already famous lobster roll. But after getting roasted for joking that we should have an eagle hunting season and the eagle sandwich would be very tasty, I won’t go that far.

My wife Linda suggests that we forget all this and simply designate Maine the most beautiful state.

Great idea!


George Smith can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or [email protected] Read more of Smith’s writings at

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