Wisconsin celebrates 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22
People who hunt, trap and fish know about the special places.
If you are a duck hunter, you know the magic of sunrise and sunset on your favorite duck marsh.
The cattails, water and distant bluffs tell you that you are in a special location, reinforced by the sound of whistling wings overhead.
The deer hunter has his or her favorite stand, the tall woods, sounds of crunching leaves with an approaching deer.
The turkey hunter hears the first tree gobbles in darkness while walking to a large oak tree, cardinals and robins begin to welcome spring, and the warmth on your back as the sun comes up and brings the woods to life.
The grouse hunter knows the smell of wet leaves on the ground, while working through thick tangles of alder and young aspen.
The pheasant hunter sees excitement in the dog while working open grasslands and weedy fencerows.
The trout angler believes that spring creek fishing offers the loveliest places on earth, rippling water with hatches of mayflies and stoneflies.
Each place is special and unique, reason that those of us who hunt and fish encourage landowners to preserve what natural land Wisconsin has left, and to thank leaders such as Warren Knowles and Gaylord Nelson for public lands.
Taking care of these special places is the obligation of a conservationist. They can disappear all too quickly, as developers envision replacing trees, fields and wetlands with concrete and houses.
Some politicians see increased revenues and require public agencies to sell “excess” public land or reduce funds for buying more public land.
April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. It is a reminder that what we have won’t necessarily always be there unless those who care do something.
The definition of a conservationist is one who advocates for the protection of natural resources. That should be printed on every hunting, trapping and fishing license sold in Wisconsin.