By The News-Star, Monroe, La.
MONROE, La. —
It’s somewhat remarkable that here in the Sportsman’s Paradise, wildlife-related recreation has increased 40 percent.
That’s the word from an annual survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which measures participation in outdoor-related activities like hunting, fishing and wildlife watching.
Louisiana is second only to Alaska — another state known for its abundant wildlife and natural resources — which saw an increase of 47 percent. ...
Hiking and canoe trails at our state parks and Black Bayou National Wildlife Refuge have made getting outdoors and on the water accessible to families who want to get close to nature but maybe don’t want to hunt or fish.
Walking trails and the soon-to-be-opened Raisin’ Cane’s Dog Park at Kiroli allow families (and their pets) the opportunity to watch wildlife and exercise.
Events like the recent observance of National Hunting and Fishing Day also help get parents, grandparents and children together to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine.
Dana Norsworthy, who works in the Monroe wildlife and fisheries office, said he has seen an increase in interest in northeastern Louisiana.
“We’ve seen an increase in women and some children taking up hunting and fishing,” Norsworthy said.
One program Norsworthy said the department has been trying to promote is its offerings of classes in middle and high schools.
“We try to get in there and introduce them to a variety of outdoor activities,” Norsworthy said.
In an area where public resources abound, it’s easy and inexpensive for families to move away from the flat-screen and head outdoors.
And as we are all becoming more aware of our need to adopt healthier lifestyles, there’s a ton of physical and emotional benefit to be gained from a day in the woods.