The economy of America and most of the rest of the world is not as good as we would like to see it and it is affecting almost everyone and will possibly change the way the Department of Natural Resources manages parks, the EPD and fisheries programs.
We possibly could see a reduced number of trout that are stocked as well. Not only that, but some State Parks may be closed, hazardous waste sites may not get cleaned up, several Wildlife Management Areas my be lost and there may be a trout hatchery and fisheries biologists to get the axe also.
Even the Clean Air Campaign and the Wildlife Conservation Rangers, Game Wardens who enforce the hunting and fishing laws will loose some of their funding.
The governor has asked the DNR to have a budget reduction with targets of six percent, eight percent and 10 percent for each of the next two fiscal years.
At the eight percent level, Burton Trout Hatchery will close, the two biologists that work with trout stocking, wild trout habitat and populations as well as trout stream monitoring and trout stocking survival will be eliminated.
Currently 1.1 million trout are stocked annually and the new stocking goal will be 31 percent less.
Trout stocking in 115 smaller North Georgia streams that have somewhat limited public access will be reduced or eliminated.
The budget reductions will eliminate a minimum of nine Conservation Rangers at six percent, and 22 at the 10 percent level.
With fewer rangers across the state, an increase in poaching is likely and with Wildlife Management areas that are on Federal Lands closing no matter which budget is adopted we all lose out.
Talk about hitting home, the proposed campground at the Berry College Wildlife Management Area will be eliminated from the budget if even the six percent takes affect.
You can view the proposals by going to www.coosavalleytu.org.
I have only covered those that will affect the outdoorsman but other items include historic sites, solid waste trust funds, boat registration and state owned golf courses just to mention a few.
Unless the taxpayers let their state legislators know their concerns these budget cuts may go through and the next time you go to a local stream there may not be any trout there.
Contact your senator or state representative and let him know your feelings. Dont let these cuts happen without expressing your thoughts.
Please go to our Web site and check the budget proposals out and write a letter, make a phone call or send an email. No matter what, let your opinion be heard.
The State budget meeting is Thursday, Sept. 25 at the state capital at 9 a.m. The DNR budget is slated to fill most of the morning. Save our hatcheries, protect our streams and keep our state as one of the best places in the nation to be out doors.
Again, contact your legislators immediately and let them know your feelings, or attend that meeting.
Outdoor adventure day
Outdoor Adventure Day is Saturday, Sept. 26 at Sloppy Floyd Park just south of Summerville.
It is an opportunity to get out and enjoy the outdoors and is mainly focused on children.
There will be fishing, archery, canoeing, a climbing wall, lazer shooting systems, a snake shows and live animal exhibits.
Trout Unlimited will be giving fly casting demonstrations and instruction. For more info, 706-295-6041.
Chili Cook Off
The 13th Annual Trout Unlimited Chili Cook Off will be Saturday, Oct. 11 at Ridge Ferry Park.
This is a chance to taste a hundred or more varieties of chili, mingle with the crowds and enjoy a great line up of music all while helping to raise money for the many great causes for which Trout Unlimited stands for.
Again, the funds raised will go to scholarships for students in cold-water fisheries studies at the University of Georgia, support of local youth education and the Arrowhead Environmental Education center on Floyd Springs Rd. as well as stream habitat improvement projects. For info, go to www.tuchilicookoff.org or call me, Paul, at 706-766-5083.
The Coosa Valley Chapter will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25 at the Landmark Restaurant.
This is probably the most important meeting of the year and members are urged to attend, and the public is invited. This is the final planning meeting prior to the cook off. Please be there