Recently, they made the right choices...
It's important for hunters, anglers and outdoor writers to serve as watch dogs and raise a concern when our state agencies make a decision that we feel will negatively impact hunting or fishing.
As long as one sticks to the facts and doesn’t engage in personal attacks, it’s not a bad thing to be critical or point out a negative.
But it’s also important not to overlook the positives or offer praise for a good deed or correct decision.
Last month there were two good decisions made when it comes to the outdoors.
In January, more than 40 sportsmen and conservation organizations sent a letter to Gov. Tom Corbett urging him not to lease additional state forest land for oil and gas drilling. The groups stated that such a move could impact the revenue generated from outdoor recreation that occurs on the state forests and, more importantly, the character and environmental integrity of such places.
Thanks in part to the 40 outdoor groups that spoke up in January, Corbett did not include any plan to lease additional state forest acreage when he released the state budget.
It was a good move – one that Corbett should be commended for making.
Days after the budget was released, Ken Undercoffer, president of the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited, praised the governor.
“We’re pleased that the governor listened to Pennsylvania sportsmen and women and did not sacrifice Pennsylvania’s forests by turning them into a revenue item in the state budget,” Undercoffer stated in a press release.
Undercoffer went on to request that Corbett provide permanent protection for the un-leased portion of the state forest land – another good move.
On a different front, in January there was talk that the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission board was strongly considering a move to do away with the requirement to display a fishing license.
I wrote two columns opposing such a move and questioned why it was even being considered by the board.
When the commission's board held its quarterly meeting at the end of January, the display requirement was discussed at length. In the end, the board decide not to eliminate the display requirement, citing concerns with law enforcement’s ability to check hundreds of anglers at a stream or lake to see if they possess a valid license.
Keeping the display requirement in place was the right call, and the commissioners deserve a pat on the back, so to speak, for not pursuing the change.