Defending Minnesota’s outdoor heritage
For Minnesotans, hunting, fishing, and exploring the outdoors aren't just hobbies -- they are a way of life engrained in our state's heritage and culture. And with the pheasant opener just around the corner, Minnesotans are preparing to take part...
For Minnesotans, hunting, fishing, and exploring the outdoors aren’t just hobbies - they are a way of life engrained in our state’s heritage and culture. And with the pheasant opener just around the corner, Minnesotans are preparing to take part in a tradition that has long connected families and communities.
My family shares in this tradition - my grandpa from Ely was an avid hunter. Every day, he went to work 1,500 feet underground in the mines, so those weekends when he could take the time to go hunting and be outdoors were all the more important to him.
Our state’s outdoor activities are not just a popular pastime - they help drive our economy and create and support many good-paying jobs. Every year in Minnesota, nearly 500,000 people hunt our fields and forests, while an estimated 1.6 million people fish our lakes and streams. These activities are critical to our state’s economy, with people spending nearly $4 billion on them each year in Minnesota alone. That money goes into the pockets of local retailers and small businesses that feed, shelter, clothe, and equip our sportsmen and women. And this money further supports our communities when those local business owners turn around and pay for the supplies and services they rely on.
We all have a vested interest in protecting this invaluable piece of our heritage and preserving this important segment of our economy. That’s why I’m leading efforts to pass the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015. This commonsense legislation will help preserve our land for generations to come, while ensuring that Minnesotans continue to have access to our state’s incredible natural environment. The bill also strengthens critical habitat investment programs, like the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and Partners for Fish and Wildlife, which each leverage at least three dollars of private investment for each dollar spent.
While we all share the goal of protecting our environment, it’s important that we do not add any unnecessary rules, regulations, or barriers on those seeking to enjoy the outdoors. To protect our hunters and anglers, I partnered with Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota to author a bipartisan provision in the Sportsmen’s Act that would ensure that ammunition and fishing tackle will not be inappropriately regulated as a toxic substance by the Environmental Protection Agency.
With 10 Democratic and 11 Republican cosponsors - along with the support of more than 40 major conservation and outdoor recreation organizations, like Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Safari Club International, and Trout Unlimited - our bipartisan bill represents a balanced and comprehensive approach to supporting our hunters while preserving our state’s natural beauty.
Like most Minnesotans, I grew up in a family that deeply valued the outdoors. And like most, I believe we do right by ourselves when we do right by the land that sustains us and supports the traditions - like pheasant hunting - that we hold dear. By working to pass the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015, we can continue defending both our proud heritage and the land on which it relies.