Letter to the WI DNR: Don't make our parks "open until closed" to hunting and trapping

You might see traps soon in all but 2 of Wisconsin's state parks. Image.
On December 12, 2012, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource will discuss agenda item 3B1,  a proposal to make our state parks "open until closed" to hunting - a sharp turn from the "closed until open" policy that have kept our parks open to the public year-round, and a provision made possible by the passage of the 2011 Wisconsin Act 168.
Act 168 allows hunting, fishing and trapping (watch out kids!) in state parks. The official deadline for registering to testify at the hearing or submit written testimony was Dec. 11 at 4:00pm, but it's never too late to speak up and spread the word.  The meeting starts at 8:30am at Rm. G09, State Natural Resources Bldg. (GEF 2), 101 S. Webster St., Madison WI 53703.
Below is the letter I submitted as testimony. I hope many others did the same and know that both hunters, cyclists, and nature enthusiasts oppose the proposal for many and various reasons, not least is the increased liability to hunters and the increased danger to others enjoying the parks.

Laurie J. Ross, Board Liaison
Office of the Secretary
PO Box 7921
Madison WI 53707-7921

Dear Ms. Ross:

Please accept the following as formal testimony for your hearing on item 3B1 on the December 11, 2012 agenda (plan for management of hunting, fishing & trapping in Wisconsin State Parks in accordance with 2011 Wisconsin Act 168).
I do not support agenda item 3B1 because I believe it poses a direct and dangerous threat to both human life and the wildlife in our parks and unfairly relinquishes our beautiful parks to hunters at the expense of the thousands of families and individuals who enjoy them year-round. 

By making our parks "open until closed" to hunting, you make them "open to hunters and closed to the public."  I would not even consider visiting a park for hiking (as we often do now) knowing it was open for hunting.  This is patently unfair. 

Our parks are our greatest resource and the source of pride and recreational opportunity for all of us. 

I vehemently opposed opening the parks to unlimited hunting and will be forced to seek recreation elsewhere if this item passes, thus disenfranchising me from a public resource my taxes pay to protect.

Please choose wisely to protect our wildlife and safe, pristine parks that are a part of our heritage and tradition.  In this latter respect, I implore you to take seriously the call of two of our most exemplary defenders of the Wisconsin wild:

"Now, it never seems to occur to these far-seeing teachers that Nature's object in making animals and plants might possibly be first of all the happiness of each one of them, not the creation of all for the happiness of one. Why should man value himself as more than a small part of the one great unit of creation? And what creature of all that the Lord has taken the pains to make is not essential to the completeness of that unit - the cosmos? The universe would be incomplete without man; but it would also be incomplete without the smallest transmicroscopic creature that dwells beyond our conceitful eyes and knowledge."  - John Muir
“Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching- even when doing the wrong thing is legal.” - Aldo Leopold

The passage of Act 168 does not render ethical the wholesale release of our parks to special interests.  Please make the decision that both protects our parks and keeps them safe for all Wisconsinites.  Do not make our parks "open until closed" to hunting.

Thank you,

Heather DuBois Bourenane
Sun Prairie

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