Today is Earth Day. It’s also a great day for Michigan United Conservation Clubs to remind everyone that, for the outdoor community, every day is Earth Day.
“Hunters, anglers and trappers are the original conservationists. We were “green” before green was cool,” said MUCC spokesman Dave Nyberg. “The outdoors community celebrates Earth Day today – but we won’t forget about the natural world around us tomorrow. We live in the outdoors and, most importantly, we insist that conservation practices take center stage every day of the year.”
Today’s celebration of Earth Day promises to be dominated by discussions of emerging environmental challenges championed by many non-sportsmen groups. But for more than 70 years, MUCC has represented the interests of America’s true conservation community – the outdoors community. It’s the hunting, fishing and trapping community that most often speaks for conservation and, in fact, is one of very few groups footing the bill for wildlife and fisheries habitat protection, restoration and management, and conservation research, which benefits all wildlife species and the state conservation departments including Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources.
“Today it’s cool to be green, to be pro-environment and that’s a good thing in many ways. But we can’t lose sight of the fact that the wise use of our resources is the pillar of conservation,” Nyberg said “Hunting, fishing, trapping and outdoor recreation, are time-honored traditions that propel Michigan’s tourism industry and economy, and are the state’s primary funding source for conservation programs. “Conservation is not as much ‘green’ as it is ‘camo,’” Nyberg said.
On Earth Day, MUCC wants to remind Michigan residents about the primary role sportsmen and women have in sustaining quality wildlife habitat, clean water, and prime recreational opportunities based on the use of our tremendous natural resources.”
MUCC also points to quality forest management and partnership with Michigan’s forest industry as an essential component of habitat improvement and quality outdoor recreation opportunities. “Often times when people think about Earth Day, it’s easy to assume that cutting down trees is anti-environment; it’s quite the contrary. Through responsible forest management, commercial and private land owners can help regenerate new, early successional forests which provide outstanding habitat for deer, birds, and other game animals. Commercial Forest Landowners also provide over 2 million acres in hunting access to sportsmen in Michigan. Without quality habitat and access, Michigan stands to realize a continuing loss of hunters and anglers who spend $3.4 billion annually in the state, of which creates a $5.9 billion ripple effect on the Michigan economy,” said Nyberg.
The topic of “green,” renewable energy also has implications on wildlife habitat. Nyberg said that as Michigan moves to lead the charge on renewable energy, MUCC will encourage progress, but the organization also believes policymakers must pay attention to the implications that these new energy sources may have on wildlife and habitat. “There truly are some great opportunities that lie ahead – and the sportsmen and women of MUCC look forward to continuing the organization’s tradition of conserving, protecting, and enhancing our natural resources and outdoor heritage.”