DNR deserves applause
Despite a late spring and lingering spearing activity by the Chippewa tribes, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) found a way to get daily walleye bag limits adjusted for sport anglers prior to the monster Memorial Day weekend — a huge boost to tourism.
The daily limits were adjusted on 447 lakes statewide, including 270 lakes that reverted to the state’s general five-walleye daily bag. The big news here is that 207 of those 270 lakes are located in Vilas, Oneida and Forest counties.
Even if advanced word of the revised bag limits didn’t reach potential anglers and weekend visitors in time, the thousands of anglers who came to find higher bag limits will help spread the word statewide.
We’ve asked for years that the state act quicker to restore bag limits following off-reservation spearing by the tribes, mostly because they declare a quota on hundreds of lakes they never visit and indirectly impact the angling harvest during the spring peak. Figures show 60% of the annual angling walleye harvest occurs in May.
The DNR has taken the brunt of our critical remarks in years when they failed to adjust the limits in the timely fashion, sometimes after Memorial Day weekend because of a traditional time frame for reviewing the spearing harvest that had been established with tribal officials.
So today, giving credit where it is due, we praise the agency for responding to the needs of anglers and the tourism industry. It has become clear that the tribes are consistently declaring a spearing harvest on hundreds of lakes they don’t regularly visit.
DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp also announced last week that the department will continue to focus on long-term efforts that will yield less fluctuation and more consistency with angler bag limits. It is our hope that such improvements can be accomplished without jeopardizing the court-approved safe harvest system or the DNR’s credibility as the agency with sole management authority over the fishery resources.
Historical group succeeds
The Eagle River Historical Society opened its museum doors late last month at its new location on Highway 45 south, the site of the former Knights of Columbus building.
The organization’s impressive collection of historic artifacts is now housed in a former camp building that has been meticulously renovated through tens of thousands of dollars in cash, material and in-kind donations.
Jeff Visner of Design by Visner in Eagle River deserves a huge round of applause for his help in designing the upgrades and coordinating much of the renovation work. So does every one of the board members and volunteers who worked on the project the past year.
Eagle River has a rich history and the people working hard to protect those stories and artifacts deserve the community’s support. We thank them for preserving all that important history in one easy-to-find location.
Behind the editorial ‘we’
Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Gary Ridderbusch and Assistant Editor Anthony Drew.
|Tuesday, June 03, 2014 10:04 AM|