By Johnny Sain
Fall ushers in all kinds of seasonal activities. Among those activities in 2014 is the citizen’s responsibility to vote. One of the issues to be decided is an amendment to the Arkansas State Constitution which would give the state General Assembly final say over any regulations proposed by any other state agency.
On the surface this sounds like a good idea. But what it means is that many state agencies that make decisions based on science or expertise will now fall under the rule of political bureaucracy. My specific concern is for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, which was designed to run without political control. While I don’t agree with everything the AGF&C does, and I’m not a fan of governor appointed commissioners, I can’t for the life of me see how letting more politicians get involved with wildlife conservation is a good thing. This amendment, in my opinion, will be just another way to muddy the water.
But don’t take my word for it. The Arkansas Chapter of the Wildlife Society – a non-profit scientific and educational association dedicated to excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education — is against this amendment for the same reasons. You can read their position statement below.
Read the statement, and when you stand at the ballot box think about whom you would rather have at the helm in regards to wildlife and conservation in the Natural State. A vote against Issue 1, Senate Joint Resolution 7 (SJR7) is a vote against more bureaucracy and a vote for science in the management of our wildlife.
Arkansas Chapter of The Wildlife Society Position Statement Proposed Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution
The Arkansas Chapter of The Wildlife Society opposes proposed General Election ballot item Issue 1, Senate Joint Resolution 7 (SJR7).
Upon approval of the voters of the State of Arkansas, the proposed amendment to the Arkansas
Constitution would give the General Assembly the ability to review state agency administrative rules and to further have the right to approve such rules before they could go into effect, perhaps taking more than a year in total. Amendment 35 of the Arkansas State Constitution created the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in its current form, largely to provide for independent science-based management of Arkansas’ fish and wildlife resources. The proposed amendment could take away the independence and power of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to provide timely, science-based regulations as proposed by Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologists. The Arkansas Chapter of The Wildlife Society is in favor of the continuation of this biologist-led modern fish and wildlife management structure.
A vote against this ballot item will allow the Arkansas constitution to remain unchanged and our wildlife
policies and regulations will continue to be constructed and approved based on the best available science while balancing the needs of the public.
My apologies to those among you who have missed seeing new posts on AVFTBR. I’ve been eyeball deep in school, and also editing a local magazine called ABOUT the River Valley Magazine based in Russellville, Arkansas. Busy times. Truth be told, October always seems busy because I’m always scrambling to get stuff done and get to the woods. But I haven’t been able to steal away to the treestand often, and my freezer is suffering because of it. Things are leveling out a little now so fingers crossed that the combination of more tree time and an approaching whitetail rut will bring venison home.
Being busy with school also cost me a trip to Fontana Village Resort in North Carolina. Fontana Village was the site of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association’s 50th annual conference where A View from the Back Roads took first place for the Realtree Website Horizons Award. The award goes to the website judged best based on written content, photo content and overall design. This was AVFTBR’s third award from Realtree, taking first place in 2012 and second place — along with my third place finish in SEOPA’s magazine short feature story category — in 2013.
Mind blown. That first win in 2012 still hasn’t really sunk in.
To be honored alongside some supremely talented outdoor communicators (which left me a little starstruck upon meeting them for the first time) is, in a word, surreal. As a kid and young adult I knew these men and women from their work on the pages of literally hundreds of outdoor magazines stacked in my bedroom. To think that I could ever share the stage with them seemed impossible.
So here’s to realizing a dream. And with graduation coming up in spring 2015, here’s to taking A View from the Back Roads even further.
Thanks for reading, y’all!