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Opinion

Reminder to make your voice heard through Conservation Congress

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March 24, 2011

Complaints about government not hearing the public’s voice are as old as time.  Once elected, officials seem to go deaf and grow blinders in the face of public opinion.  We can hear the cries from Madison.  We heard much the same in Washington when the health care bill became law.  In some ways our voices will never be heard, but in Wisconsin we have an overlooked opportunity to participate in the decisions made regarding our wild things. 

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress is a unique organization.  Its stated purpose is to be, “…an independent organization of citizens of the state and shall serve in an advisory capacity to the natural resources board…” It gives Wisconsin citizens a platform;  elected delegates from each county represent their constituents and report public opinion on issues ranging from daily bag and size limits on fish to how public funds are used in state parks.

The public’s voice is heard every spring at meetings in every county.  This year the Spring Hearings will be held April 11, at the Ellsworth and St. Croix Central high schools for Pierce and St. Croix counties.  Everyone is welcome, not just hunters, anglers, and woodsmen.  The Congress has committees focusing on specific topics such as the Mississippi River, public and private land use, forestry, parks and recreation. If you hold an interest in birds, wildflowers, cross-country skiing, basically anything pertaining to the outside of Wisconsin, you can be involved. 

Matters concerning the DNR are often ignored until they directly and negatively affect us.  The Wisconsin Conservation Congress is designed specifically to prevent that from happening.  Take advantage of it or forever hold your peace, at least until next spring.