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Camo on Capitol Hill

September 30th, 2011

Thanks to our partners at the National Wildlife Federation, I was able to represent MUCC in Washington, DC to celebrate and advocate the sportsman’s angle of our outdoor heritage during “Great Outdoors America Week” hosted by a partnership of NWF, Trout Unlimited, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and the Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance.

The trip also served as a chance to meet with legislators and staff, and DC based partners in conservation to introduce myself and start mapping out how we can partner together to advance strong conservation based national policies.

Over the course of the trip I was able to meet with the staff of Michigan Representatives Fred Upton, Mike Rogers, Dale Kildee, Dan Benishek, in addition to our Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow.

The basis of the conversation centered on our outdoor heritage and the need to ensure that heritage for our future by being prudent that important conservation programs do not get disproportionately cut. My message: we at MUCC want to partner with you and help you in your decisions to provide a sound fiscal policy for our future while not disproportionally hurting a resource that serves as a national tradition and an economic driving force for America’s society – the outdoors.

As you may have seen in the news recently, the federal budget debate has been the priority on everyone’s mind in Washington. With good reason.

Not only does the federal government have a spending budget that it needs to pass, but it is, once again, time to put in place a new Farm Bill that will be the bulk of agriculture and conservation funding for the next 6 years. That is why it was important to stress to our legislators the important effect that the outdoor community has on our state and national economy, and that these programs help dictate what conservation will look like over the next decade.

According to 2006 information provided by National Wildlife Federation, Michigan alone has over 2 million hunters and anglers. These hunters and anglers combine to spend close to $3 billion dollars per year. And that is only hunters and anglers. Think of what else you do when you aren’t out hunting and fishing – camping, wildlife watching, biking, and snowmobile riding? You get the idea. We mean business.

The take away: We are very important to our economy and way of life in Michigan and throughout the United States, and what is done in Washington could affect our ability to get outdoors for the next decade.

Kent Wood

Legislative Affairs Manager, MUCC

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