Editorial - Local effort to get kids fishing deserves supportThe “Let’s Go Fishing Kids” effort outlined on today’s front page is a great idea. We hope it catches a lot of attention – from kids, parents, additional volunteers, supporters and the community.
The "Let's Go Fishing Kids" effort outlined on today's front page is a great idea.
We hope it catches a lot of attention - from kids, parents, additional volunteers, supporters and the community.
This is much more than putting a fishing pole in a kid's hand and wishing him luck. It's about children interacting with adults, spending time with other kids, developing social skills and learning a fulfilling pastime that can be passed on from generation to generation.
Sadly, that's not happening enough these days. Fishing is in trouble.
A recent story by Bob Geiger in the Minnesota House of Representatives publication, Session Weekly, detailed the problem. The story noted that between 2000 and 2010, participation rates of Minnesotans hooked on fishing or hunting decreased as a growing percentage of state residents made other choices on how to spend their leisure time. This, the story noted, has caught the attention of the Department of Natural Resources, which has proposed recruitment and retention efforts in HF2171, sponsored by Representative Tom Hackbarth (R-Cedar). The bill opens the door for the DNR to encourage outdoor activities, focusing on efforts to recruit and retain anglers, hunters and trappers of all ages, Geiger reported.
In terms of participation, the percentage of Minnesotans 16 and up licensed to fish has fallen from 40 percent in the late 1960s to 29 percent today - with the steepest decline among adults ages 25 to 44, according to Geiger.
There's more at stake here than just fewer anglers wetting a line.
As Geiger noted, the Great Outdoors is a powerful money-maker: Minnesota's hunting and fishing industry employs 55,000 people and generates $5.8 billion in annual spending, according to the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation and National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses. That $5.8 billion includes $1.6 billion in wages, $430 million in federal taxes and $415 million in state taxes.
What's causing the fishing slump? DNR leaders speculate that these days more kids are slumped over their Xboxes, cell phones and other electronic diversions.
The local Let's Go Fishing Kids effort aims to change that by getting kids off the couch and into a boat. It's a cause that should catch everyone's support.
The organizers - the Alexandria Youth Fishing Federation - would appreciate more volunteers or donations. To help or for more information, contact Rick Jones at (320) 491-9458, firstname.lastname@example.org, Mike Frisch at (218) 731-8141, email@example.com or Jeremy Schneider at (320) 491-7264, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations can be made out to "Fishers of Men" or "Let's Go Fishing" and sent to: 4978 Co. Rd. 42 NE, Alexandria, MN 56308.
Let's keeps a fun, rewarding pastime going strong in the lakes area. Let's go fishing.