Attention New York state sportsmen/women: You have a voice and a vote

The sportsmen and women of our nation are the original conservationists – they have done more to protect wildlife, open space and encourage wise use of our natural resources than all other groups combined. (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation)

By Tom Williams

Hunting, fishing, trapping and other traditional outdoor pursuits contribute over 5 billion dollars annually to the New York state economy, according to state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. In fact, New York ranks second in the nation in this area, a fact often overlooked by state, federal and local elected officials.

The sporting community in New York state has great power, but it is seldom used to the extent it could be. Well, Election Day is almost here, and your voice can be heard at the voting booth – but, you must vote to be heard.

Many sportsmen and women I know tend to be quiet about their outdoor activities – they just go about their business and hope to be left alone to enjoy these traditions without government interference or negative stereotypes. I am telling you now, that you must be involved – you must use your voice and your vote, to help preserve what you value most.

The sportsmen and women of our nation are the original conservationists – they have done more to protect wildlife, open space and encourage wise use of our natural resources than all other groups combined. License sales in New York state provide over 40 million dollars annually for fish and wildlife management and conservation related programs. This is further reinforced with more than 30 million in dedicated matching federal funds. When you add it all up, it shows the incredible contribution the sporting community makes to both the economy and the environment of New York State.

I am not writing this to tell you who to vote for – that’s up to you. But I am adamant that you must vote, if your voice is to be heard. If you are a sportsman/woman, you know what values are important to you – make sure the politicians know, too, on Nov. 6.

(Editor’s note: Tom Williams is a member of the state’s Conservation Fund Advisory Board. He resides in Claverack, Columbia County.)

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