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Raleigh, NC - March 15, 2012 – In a show of force and unity, over 100 North Carolina sporting groups are calling on the General Assembly to restore critical funding for conservation. The groups, ranging from venerable statewide wildlife, turkey, waterfowl, deer, bear hunting organizations to trout, bass and local rod and gun clubs, are seeking investments in land, water and wildlife infrastructure in what amounts to less than 0.5 % of the entire budget.
The groups signed a joint letter which went to every member of the General Assembly (click here to view letter) urging restoration of funding after last year’s staggering and imbalanced 90% reduction.
“North Carolina’s rivers, lakes, streams, forests, and fields are essential for hunting and angling, providing fish and wildlife habitat and an economic boost to local economies,” said Tim Gestwicki, executive director for the North Carolina Wildlife Federation. “Every year, hundreds upon thousands of hunters and anglers spend millions of dollars to fish and hunt the gamelands and waterways across the state. Together, hunting, angling, and wildlife watching contribute an estimated $4.3 billion to the state economy annually with much of this economic activity located in rural areas where these activities are vital to local economies.”
“Our dollars are a huge economic driver and now our voices need to be heard,” said Damon Hearne, Southeast Conservation Coordinator for Trout Unlimited. “If we don’t work to conserve our land and wildlife resources, we put our outdoor economy and our sporting heritage at risk,” Hearne said. “For today and for future generations of sportsmen, we ask the North Carolina General Assembly match our commitment to conservation.”
“Our natural resources are perishable, a fact which cannot be ignored. Such disproportionate reductions will result in a disproportionate negative impact to our natural resources and the revenues they generate,” says Bryan Perry, president of the North Carolina Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation. “Now is the time for our voice to be heard as a collective one. The bottom line is that we all need habitat to enjoy the resource-based recreation pursuits we treasure. To that end, we respectfully call upon our elected officials to hear the call of the wild: the loud and unified voice of North Carolina’s sporting community.”
Restoring funding to the natural resource trust funds also will protect drinking water for millions of North Carolinians, support tourism at parks, preserve working farms and bolster outdoor recreation industries. Hunters, anglers and conservationists across the state are counting on legislators to help preserve the state’s outdoor heritage by investing in land for tomorrow for current and future generations.
The full letter and the groups linked here.
The North Carolina Wildlife Federation (NCWF) is an affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation. NCWF works to communicate, cooperate, and partner with the North Carolina General Assembly, state resource agencies, corporations, and other interested groups to advance the well-being of wildlife and its habitat. A 501(c)3 organization, NCWF is dedicated to all of North Carolina's wildlife and habitat. Additional information is available at our website, http://www.ncwf.org