A PRODUCTIVE IF NOT PARTICULARLY THRILLING LAST WEEKEND has inspired this week’s column. It’s time to attend to some housekeeping.
A year ago, the Outdoor News Person of the Year was Ruth Hoefs, of Le Center, a longtime Ducks Unlimited volunteer. She joined an outstanding and lengthy list of Minnesotans recognized by this publication who continue to selflessly make the outdoors of this state better for all.
A year earlier, the honor went to Scott Rall, a Pheasants Forever volunteer from Worthington. In 2020, retired DNR Fisheries biologist Gary Barnard, of Bemidji, was our award winner. Each of the past several years, it’s been my honor to inform the recipient and/or present the award.
Well, it’s that time of year again, when we ask our readers to submit nominations for the annual award created in 1999. This year’s winner will be our 24th. Crazy.
If you know of someone deserving of recognition – whether they think so or not; some folks are way too modest – send me an email (email@example.com) with their name, some basic info regarding their good works, and contact information. The deadline will be Feb. 24.
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CAPITOL ’23. Legislation that affects the hunters and anglers among us isn’t exactly coming fast and furiously this session. But it will come. Oh, yes, it will come. Here’s a sampling, thus far:
• Rep. Sandra Feist, DFL-New Brighton, has introduced a bill that, according to the group Save the Boundary Waters, “extends the existing permanent state ban on mining in the BWCAW to also prohibit sulfide-ore copper mining on state-owned lands and the issuance of sulfide-or copper mining permits, licenses, and leases within the Rainy River Headwaters.”
You most likely already have an opinion on BWCAW-area mining.
You don’t need mine. A companion bill is sponsored by Sen. Kelly Morrison, a DFLer from Deephaven.
• Rep. Sydney Jordan, a DFLer from Minneapolis, has authored a bill that would provide funding for the DNR “to evaluate fish designated as rough fish in the state to determine if fish species are properly designated and if there are rough fish species that are in need of additional protection through regulations and to determine any research needs.”
• And, Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL, South St. Paul, has authored a bill with funding “to examine the impacts of neonicotinoid exposure on the reproduction and survival of Minnesota’s game species, including deer and prairie chickens.”
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ROUNDTABLE. Last, excitement is building for the latest DNR Roundtable event, slated for Friday in Bloomington. The agenda recently was released for the no-longer-invite-only event (although there was limited space) that will feature Gov. Tim Walz and keynote speaker Emily Larson, mayor of Duluth.
Other topics on the agenda include a look at what’s new in the state regarding elk, moose, and wolves; state wildlife management areas – “a foundation for the future” – and plans for WMAs; protection of the state’s diverse native fish; considering climate change in water management; using technology to support outdoor recreation and connections to the natural world; and more.
We’ll have a full report next week.