Monday, February 18, 2008

Ice fishing events in Forest Lake this Saturday. There's been a lot of talk lately about dwindling interest in outdoor activities, and dwindling interest in conservation as a direct result.

I've always been of two minds regarding the ecological benefit of outdoor sporting activities such as fishing, hunting, snowmobiling etc. On one hand, while there are many sportsmen (and women) who play both fairly and responsibly, there are those who see nature as an extension of their video game console. There are the hunters who sit in heated stands and use salt licks to draw their prey to point blank range; well within the range of their high-powered rifle; hunters who'll use the deer as a conversation piece on their living room -- who have no need for the meat. There are the snowmobilers who show no respect for trails or private property and think nothing of obliterating native growth (there are also the hikers and campers who don't think much of leaving a mess in their wake).

Even when sporting is done within legal and ethical bounds, something is still being taken away from a natural order that's already been marginalized; be it wildlife for the hunters or fishers, or swaths of trees and growth for snowmobile trails. On the other hand, sportsmen are one of the largest groups with an active stake in preserving open spaces and wildlife habitat; trumping naturalists, hikers, campers, bird-watchers and other "greener" hobbyists by far, and if all the hunters, fishermen, and snowmobilers were to stay inside watching television, there would be that much less interest (and as such revenue going into) conservation.


Lynne said...

I'm glad to see the Beyond Main Street site up and running. Does the admin email work? I've like the idea of an online flora and fauna catalog for MN. Are you accepting photo contributions? With your permission I would like to link to your site on my blog side bar.

Beyond Main Street Project said...

Certainly. I've liked the idea for a long time... am just attempting to data drive it using PHP to simplify things and also allow for the integration of a mobile site (so birders could check out our site from cell phones). Admin email is checked regularly, but for faster response times, you may want to peg me at: