Hunters and fishermen care about the environment
A letter to the editor in a recent issue of Pennsylvania Outdoor News caught my attention.
"Most Pennsylvania outdoorsmen are Republicans and we don't want to see articles and editorials about climate change and the dangers of fracking Marcellus natural gas wells. Stick to hunting and fishing and leave the left-wing bull#@&% out of the newspaper," it stated.
Since I wrote a series on Marcellus shale gas development, "Trouble in Paradise," for Outdoor News last fall, I was a little taken aback by the letter writer's comments. My first thought was, "What would Teddy
Roosevelt – hunter, conservationist, naturalist, war hero, Republican and our 26th president – think about that?"
Since when has a healthy environment become a party issue?
I don't know, but maybe people like the letter writer just loved the 1940s and 1950s when King Coal ravaged much of Pennsylvania to harvest "black gold" – leaving in its wake over 3,000 miles of polluted streams and a scarred landscape. We are still spending millions and millions in an attempt to clean up that mess.
Is this a Democrat/Republican issue, or an important issue to all Keystone State hunters and anglers?
Before I lost faith in our readers, the Feb. 28 issue of Pennsylvania Outdoor News arrived – containing a commentary and a letter to the editor reflecting the opposite views.
One reader commented, "I'm thankful that Outdoor News devotes balanced coverage to legislative and environmental issues with a discernible effect on our woods and waters and their inhabitants. Regardless of our preferences in the voting booth, Pennsylvania sportsmen can't ignore the visible, physical impacts of Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling and infrastructure."
In that same issue, another reader wrote, "Please continue to research, report on, and publish information on Marcellus gas drilling, acid rain, climate change and other important topics that affect our environment and our sport."
The March 14 issue arrived in the mail with yet another letter on the subject. That reader wrote, "I will never understand how clean air and water and saving our wild places are "left wing" or radical causes. How can any outdoorsman, hunter or fisherman not make the simple connection between their enjoyment of the outdoors and the health of the environment?"
Bottom line – Whether I (or you) agree with a position, it is important to air all views about any subject pertinent to our outdoor sports. It seems that I didn't need to get excited or upset – Pennsylvania Outdoor News
readers are the best readers in the world.