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"... but hunters and anglers who oppose the increases are cutting off their noses to spite their faces".


ERIC SHARP

Pay now or pay dearly
April 22, 2007

BY ERIC SHARP

FREE PRESS OUTDOORS WRITER

After a tidal wave of opposition greeted its plans to double and triple hunting and fishing license fees, the Department of Natural Resources now hopes the state Legislature will pass new bills that gradually increase fees by about 25% annually for four years.

DNR spokeswoman Ann Wilson said fishing license increases would begin in 2008 and continue until 2011, when they peak at $20 for a restricted license and $40 for an all-species license, which includes salmon and trout (the present fees are $15 and $28). Hunting licenses would see similar increases, with a deer license gradually climbing from the present $15 to $30 and small game from $15 to $20.


And rather than increasing by 300% immediately, as was proposed originally, licenses for anglers and hunters 65 and over would cost only 40% as much as a regular license until 2010, then increase by 5% a year to peak at 60% of the cost of a regular license by 2013.

The DNR also wants to offer three-day licenses to occasional anglers for $15 (it now sells one-day licenses for $7) and charge $2 per year for anglers under 16.

It's a reasonable plan that will get the department out of a deep financial hole. If significant fee increases don't pass soon, the DNR will have a budget deficit of $10 million next year and $40 million by 2010. That's going to result in decreases in DNR services that will further infuriate those people who oppose the fee increases because they say the agency isn't doing enough for hunters and anglers now.

I've made it clear that I agree with doubling hunting and fishing license fees to bring Michigan in line with other states, and mostly to make up for serious errors by top DNR managers of the '90s, who failed to anticipate future operational costs increases and seek license fee increases to pay for them.

That support has ensured that my telephone and e-mail communications haven't lacked for comment.

I can sympathize with the frustration behind many people's sentiments, but hunters and anglers who oppose the increases are cutting off their noses to spite their faces, as my grandmother used to say. I also, however, believe that the present mess illustrates the biggest problem with most government agencies -- the lack of consequences when they screw up.

Any business that had been run as inefficiently as the DNR while this financial crisis developed would have gone under long ago. But this is government, not the real world. DNR employees don't have to worry about their jobs being moved to Mexico or India in a cost-cutting move. And until recently, they didn't have to worry about lay-offs, although that real-world specter is starring at them now.

I hope that the Legislature passes the fee increases, especially since the Legislature has to bear a fair amount of responsibility for putting the DNR in its present bind. But this time around, we need to keep a close eye on how the new money is used to ensure that it keeps the DNR solvent and provides improved services for the people who are footing the bill.

Contact ERIC SHARP at 313-222-2511 or [email protected].
 

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boat launch fee's
camping fee's
park access fee's
trail permit fee's
how come were being singled out?????
I'm not opposed to the fee's BUT MAKE THE INCREASE ACROSS THE BOARD NOT JUST US!!!
 

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jimmyboy said:
At last reason and prudence have finally dawned on the formentors of the riduculous original proposal.
Who is that mask man? You in town....m:D
 
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