Michigan's wise management of its natural resources has been a model other states have adopted for decades now.
Like anything, occasionally a system needs reviewed, revised and updated and that is where outdoor enthusiasts find themselves today. A license fee structure that has allowed biologists to manage wildlife success stories from elk to brook trout, wolves to sturgeon, was in need of updating.
The "fur and fin" division of the Department of Natural Resources needed a financial revitalization and frankly, after 17 years, we thought the boost was long overdue. Have you managed to maintain your home on the same budget you had in place 17 years ago?
Last increased in 1997, Michigan's license fee structure for hunting and fishing licenses was "among the nation's cheapest" according to a Bridge Magazine article analysis earlier this year.
Obviously, none of us likes the prospect of paying more for services. However, sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts in Michigan know the value of the time spent outside and frankly, all would agree that value is ultimately "priceless."
As a result, most of them also would agree the license fee increases passed this week by the Michigan Legislature made sense. Sportsmen understand the value in wise wildlife management, and they know by adopting increases in their license fee structure, they are providing DNR staff with the financial resources they need to continue that practice. And, legislators included provisions in the bill to allow for full transparency on how the funds are being spent.
We believe the increases ultimately will be a vital asset for maintaining a healthy wildlife population in Michigan not only for today, but also tomorrow.