Every individual who has ever received value from seeing a whitetail fawn with its mother, watching a moose, seeing an eagle soar, hunting a turkey, using a state boat launch, hiking our mountains, or paddling our waters, needs to tune in to this issue fight now and support a fully funded Fish and Game for the fiscal year that starts in July.
The best way of accomplishing that is for the Legislature to restore the Fish and Game budget to its original request, which includes the $1.6 million in stopgap funding.
Let's make sure our representatives hear us loud and clear: Fish and Game has earned full funding from New Hampshire.
As has been widely reported, Fish and Game faces a financial shortfall because revenue is not keeping pace with the rising cost of doing business.
The people of New Hampshire contribute $50,000 to Fish and Game each year from the general fund as matching funds for nongame wildlife and habitat conservation--just 3.8 cents per resident.
What can New Hampshire Fish and Game do to get on firm financial footing?
The Fish and Game budget is bare-bones, totaling $27 million annually--we've already eliminated staff and dug deep for possible efficiencies.
One proposed legislative strategy is to capture some of the $579 million that hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers pump into the state's economy each year by allocating a small part of the state rooms and meals tax to Fish and Game. Here's how it would work: Currently, hotel and restaurant patrons pay an 8 percent tax.
Many citizens and media outlets seem to understand Fish and Game's need for a new revenue source, and have offered support.
Their actions will determine not only the future of Fish and Game, but of the wildlife, woods and waters that add so much to our quality of life.