Needed: Sportspersons
Written by Jackson Citizen Patriot   
Thursday, 28 April 2005 01:12
Here is the understatement of the month, if not the year: "We don't want to stifle outdoor activity." Becky Humphries, director of Michigan's Natural Resources Department, made the comment in an interview focusing on how the department needs to increase the numbers of hunters and anglers.

Despite Michigan's wonderful natural resources, DNR officials are witnessing an erosion of the department's core constituency. Hunters and anglers have been dropping in numbers for more than a decade. Is that because of increasingly higher fees?

The agency has come to depend on user fees to fund hunting and fishing programs. Thus, if a decision is made to lower fees or package permits and licenses, the result may be less revenue, which handicaps the department's ability to operate. But if fees are increased, it may discourage hunters and anglers.

That's why Humphries is taking a cautious approach. To her credit, she has named a task force to work with sporting groups, always a source of many ideas. One idea being discussed is a discount card for sporting goods. It would be available initially in a pilot program to those who haven't purchased a fishing license in the past year or two. The discount, offered through certain stores, would be an incentive to rejoin the sport.

Michigan needs its hunters. Imagine the state deer herd without anyone to thin it out but motorists. If you love the outdoors and want to see your beloved outdoor sports prosper, it would be a good time to send your suggestions to the top dog of the DNR:

Director Becky Humphries, Department of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 30031, Lansing MI 48909.

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