The last chance for introducing MUCC conservation policy resolutions will be at the March 11 MUCC Conservation Policy Meeting at the Munising Township Hall in Wetmore, Michigan.
This past week, the Department of Natural Resources gave a presentation to the new House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources. It was a standard introductory presentation to the new committee, of which only one member returns from last session's Natural Resources Committee (Rep. John Kivela, D-Marquette, who won MUCC's Legislative Conservationist of the Year Award in 2016). In the presentation, DNR Director Keith Creagh rattled off some amazing facts about Michigan's natural resources, for instance:
- Michigan has 763,618 hunters, #3 in the nation, generating $2.5 billion annually and supported by 4.5 million acres of state public land.
- Michigan has 1.1 million anglers, 11,000 lakes and 1,300 public boat access sites
- Michigan's over 4 million acres of public land state forest generates $20 billion and 35,000 jobs each year
Listening to these facts, I couldn't help but reflect that some of these figures are a direct result of resolutions passed by Michigan United Conservation Clubs members over the years. For instance, in 1939 we campaigned for legislation to provide public access sites to Michigan lakes and streams using hunting and fishing license fees. And how many of those hunters would we have if MUCC didn't support mandatory hunters' safety in 1970, or the elimination of the minimum hunting age in 2011? How many acres of that public land would we have if MUCC didn't stop the diversion of game and fish funds to non-conservation uses in 1940 or support legislation creating the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund in 1976?
Each of these actions taken by MUCC in decades past helped conserve the natural resources we enjoy today. But what will be our legacy for generations to come? Each year, our members decide what actions we will take to conserve natural resources for future generations through our conservation policy process. Members propose resolutions at conservation policy meetings and vote on whether to advance those to our Annual Convention in June, where delegates representing our affiliated local sportsmen's clubs and individual members vote whether those actions should be MUCC's policy. In recent years, successful resolutions have led to the elimination of the 150-yard "no hunting" zone for bowhunters and trappers, the year-round coyote and bass seasons, our efforts to protect fisheries from net-pen aquaculture, and increases in poaching fines, among many other things.
MUCC Vice President George Lindquist, of Negaunee, speaks during the September Conservation Policy Meeting.
Any MUCC member or member club can introduce a resolution, but the last chance to do so this year is less than a month away. The last Conservation Policy meeting before our Annual Convention will be held on March 11 at the Munising Township Hall in Wetmore, Michigan, just outside of Munising. If there is a conservation action or position you believe strongly that Michigan United Conservation Clubs should take, now is the time to make your voice heard. You can complain all you want about what MUCC should or shouldn't do, but unless you introduce a resolution stating why and convince our members that you're right, we cannot take action.
This is the last chance to participate in the democratic grassroots process which determines MUCC's conservation policies. Since 1937, this process has helped to provide the hunters, anglers, trappers, conservationists, public land, fishing access, fish and wildlife we enjoy today. Sign up here to register for the March 11 Conservation Policy Meeting to pass it on to the next generation.
Have an idea but can't make the meeting? Email Amy Trotter, MUCC Deputy Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help Michigan United Conservation Clubs conserve our natural resources for future generations by making a donation at www.mucc.org/donate! Or, stop by the MUCC booth at Outdoorama Feb. 23-26 and purchase a 50/50 Conservation Jackpot ticket!