Changing demographics and the death of 40 hour work week mean outdoor enthusiasts are more likely to watch birds and hike trails than take days off to hunt and fish. It isn’t bad, but here’s the rub: state conservation agencies are largely funded by hunting and fishing license sales. A birdwatcher may not be paying into the system that protects their quarry, a hiker may not be paying into the system that maintains their trails.
Western state agencies are possibly the worst off. More than 90% of the Wyoming Game and Fish department’s funding comes from license sales- the state legislature provides practically no financial support, and many legislators prioritize mining, timber, grazing, and private property interests over stewardship of natural resources.
The decline in license sales has left state agencies scrambling for new revenue. One idea is a non-consumptive recreation fee attached to Yellowstone National Park. The big question is whether revenue would be directed toward non-consumptive activities like hiking and birdwatching, or into the old hook-and bullet crowd.
Fly Fishing Clubhouse
Crazy. That’s what I thought when I saw the new Shasta-Trinity clubhouse. The new facility provides opportunities to engage the public in fly fishing, casting, tying, and other aspects of the sport- looks pretty neat.
One up, one down.
The good news? Conservation efforts in Texas (Texas!) has led to delisting of the black-capped vireo.
It makes you hopeful to see multiple state and federal agencies plus private landowners come together, across thousands of acres, for the sake of a single species. It makes you hopeful about the Island Marble Butterfly, recently rediscovered and native to about 800 acres in Washington’s Puget Sound.