Thinking back at the significance fishing and the outdoors has had on my life, I’m constantly reminded of the importance of protecting the resource so future generations have access to the same opportunities we’ve had. That’s why you read so much in this column of the need to get involved in issues revolving around water quality. What’s equally important is how we introduce children to the natural world and fishing.
Gulf Coast Community Foundation President Christine Johnson put it well: , “Saving Orange Hammock Ranch has been a conservation priority for our community for decades! This property is a breathtaking slice of old Florida and holds the trifecta of land conservation benefits – protecting drinking water, preserving wildlife habitat, and providing exceptional public access.”
Fishing and the outdoors experiences have played a pivotal role in my life for almost seven decades and made me passionate about working to protect the natural world. That’s why I keep coming back to what I think is a crucial responsibility: being aware of how elected officials voted when it comes to the quality of the air I breathe, the water I drink, and the water that the fish I love to pursue swim in. It’s become painfully apparent to me that the politicians we elect all too often have a different agenda. That’s why I have decided I’m not a Republican or a Democrat. What I am is an environmental voter.
While it’s true that the water in the bay is crystal clear, and my experience over the last few weeks has been discouraging. There are signs of recovery, as bait enters the bay and mullet are again starting to make an appearance. Still, I believe this is one of the slowest recoveries I can remember since the early 80s.