This Michigan Out-of-Doors Update was sent to MUCC member on February 27. To receive information like this, as well as links to conservation news stories and upcoming events (and a subscription to Michigan Out-of-Doors magazine), become a member at www.mucc.org/join_mucc!
We've been hearing concerns from many of our members about proposed updates to the state's commercial fishing law. We share many of those concerns. We have learned that for the past few years the DNR has been negotiating with the commercial fishing industry over updates to the commercial fishing law, which was last updated in 1970s. However, it wasn't until recent weeks that the sport-fishing and conservation community was made aware of this.
The proposed changes are already taking the form of draft legislation and there are a number of changes that are of concern. Among them, allowing some sport fish species, like walleye, to be retained as by-catch. We are working hard to learn more about all of the proposed changes and will keep you up to date on any legislative hearings or other public meetings we hear about. To be sure, some updates to the commercial fishing laws are needed and MUCC will also be working with the Legislature to ensure that any changes are consistent with the interests of our multi-billion dollar sport-fishery and conserving the recreational fishery of the Great Lakes. We will keep you updated through the Michigan Out-of-Doors Update as this issue proceeds.
This past weekend was also the Outdoorama outdoor show, hosted by MUCC Conservation Partner Showspan. MUCC had its regular booth, where old members renewed, new members joined, and parents learned about the Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp. There was something new this year, though. Youth Camp Director Tyler Butler and MUCC Education Director Shaun McKeon brought a collection of furs and taxidermy of native Michigan wildife and waterfowl to the booth, and I don't think there was a kid who didn't stop to look and touch the furs. They were mesmerized.
I overheard one mother, pointing at a stuffed fox on the table, say to her daughter, "Doesn't it look real?"
The daughter, maybe 10, replied, "No, it used to be real."
Kids have an amazing capacity to understand the realities of nature if they're made aware of them in a constructive way. MUCC's Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp does that; it seizes on that innate curiosity children have about nature and converts it into knowledge. Through our Youth Camp, which was started in 1946, we have educated over 57,000 kids about the natural world.
If you missed our booth at Outdoorama, don't worry: Registration for the Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp is open; register by clicking here.
You can also help our outdoor education efforts by volunteering for our Spring Volunteer Weekend April 28 and/or 29, where volunteers will help prepare the facilities at the Cedar Lake Outdoor Center, near Chelsea, for the annual summer camp season. You can find information about the volunteer weekend (and print out a flyer for the bulletin board at your sportsman's club) by clicking here.
Thank you to all the great volunteers who helped out at the MUCC booth this weekend, organized by the one and only Elden Montross of the Oakland County Sportsman's Club.
And congratulations to Jim Pryce, who was honored with the MUCC Presidents Award Saturday at the MUCC Region 8 meeting in Belleville. Jim Pryce has written numerous conservation policy resolutions through MUCC which have resulted in, among other things, multiple state laws increasing restitution penalties for poaching species like whitetails, elk, bear, waterfowl and turkeys. Don't forget that the March 11 MUCC Conservation Policy Meeting in Munising is your last chance to submit a conservation policy resolution for the 2017 Annual Convention!
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 the Ultimate Sport Show in Grand Rapids March 16-19 and purchase a 50/50 Conservation Jackpot ticket!