The following Op-Ed by Minnesota BHA Board Member, David Lien was recently published by the Duluth Tribune, here.
Anyone who has heard a bugling bull elk likely remembers the first time. In North America, only the haunting chorus of a wolf pack or ethereal evening calls of loons can come close to matching the mystical qualities of a bull elk’s bugle. Unfortunately, Minnesota’s native elk, although originally distributed over most of the state, were extirpated by the early l900s.
But this year Minnesota celebrates the 100th anniversary of its elk reintroduction, after the Legislature allotted $5,000 to rekindle the herd in 1913. And today there are three small elk herds totaling about 120 animals roaming far northwestern Minnesota.
Most Minnesotans are likely unaware that some 6,000 members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation live in our state, spread out among nearly 20 state chapters. And about 7,000 Minnesotans apply to chase elk in the West each year.
Minnesota BHA held its second annual Rendezvous during August 15-17. A group from around the state set camp in southeastern Minnesota’s Whitewater State Park & Wildlife Management Area. And in the words of one attendee, BHA Life Member Melinda Miller: “What a terrific weekend!! … Great location, great company, great food, great activities.”
Some of our activities included trout fishing the Whitewater River, encountering multiple groups of wild turkeys in the state park and adjacent Whitewater Wildlife Management Area, hiking the bluffs trails in Whitewater State Park, and taking in the astounding surrounds from atop the nearby Elba Fire Tower National Historic Lookout. We also toured MN BHA member Jim Vagts’ farmland, hunting camp and related wildlife enhancements (including multiple native prairie CRP plots) near Harmony, Minnesota.
The following is an Op-Ed published May 1, 2014 in the Duluth News Tribune.
As winter ever so slowly turns to spring here in Minnesota, outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen turn their thoughts toward hunting turkeys and morel mushrooms, trout angling and walleye fishing — and the clean waters that define our state, making most of these outdoor pursuits and enduring traditions possible.
Water is nearly synonymous with Minnesota. The state claims 10,000 — some even say 14,000 — lakes. The mighty Mississippi starts here. The Great Lakes begin in northern Minnesota. And the St. Croix River was one of the first major waterways to receive federal protection as a National Wild and Scenic River. All in all, the state has 90,000 miles of shoreline; that’s more than California, Hawaii and Florida combined.
However, many of Minnesota’s waterways were put at risk thanks to two politically charged Supreme Court cases in 2001 and 2006 that threw out 30 years of legal logic and stability. The court took away Clean Water Act protections for intermittent streams.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers seeks to ensure North America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands and waters.