- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Where do some surveying organizations get their numbers from, Mars? Certainly not from anyone on this planet.

Take a Colorado-headquartered outfit that calls itself the Outdoor Industry Association. The association says it provides trade services for more than 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, sales representatives and retailers in the outdoor industry, and it paid for a study by the Leisure Trends Group that tracked allegedly popular outdoor recreational activities. Included were backpacking; bicycling (paved road, single track and dirt road); bird watching; canoeing; camping (car and away from car); climbing (artificial wall, ice and natural rock); cross-country/Nordic skiing; fly-fishing; hiking; kayaking (recreational, touring and whitewater); rafting; snowshoeing; telemark skiing; and trail running.

Cross-country skiing? Artificial wall climbing?

Hello!

If you’re providing a trade service for 4,000 manufacturers, shouldn’t you include every manner of outdoor recreation, especially all types of fishing, hunting and golf? The OIA study apparently included only fly-fishing, which is so typical of people whose noses are so high up in the clouds they have no clue what goes on in the real world.

Take it from a fellow who — to mention only one of the aforementioned activities — has nothing against fly-fishing. In fact, I’m about to fly-fish for trout one day this week. But I do this fully aware that only about 5percent of the more than 60million anglers in the United States ever handle a fly-rod. Yet of all the fishing that is done, the OIA study only brought up fly-fishing.

Get real, folks.

According to the OIA study, the bulk of “participants” and “enthusiasts” participate in the cornerstone activities of bicycling (87million participants/20.4million), hiking (71.8million/10.5million) and camping (68.8million/ 10.8million). It did mention that the top adventure vacation activities were hiking/backpacking, swimming, fishing, and camping. Folks, probably more than 90 percent of all fishermen follow their sport on their days off, not just when they go on vacation.

Public goose hunt at Wye Island — Hunting migratory Canada geese at Maryland’s Wye Island Natural Resources Management Area (NRMA) will be permitted Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from Dec.18 to Jan.29 (excluding Dec.25 and Jan.1). Hunting is by permit only, and those are issued through a lottery drawing. Hunt applications must be received at Wye Island by Oct.22, with the permits selected by random drawing Oct.28 at 2p.m. (Results of the drawing will not be given over the telephone.)

To receive a goose permit application, send a self-addressed stamped envelope with a $5 check or money order made out to NRMA to Wye Island NRMA, 632 Wye Island Road, Queenstown, Md. 21658. The fee is nonrefundable. Applications also can be downloaded from the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/wyenrmapermit.html. Only one application can be used per hunter.

There will be a check-in station at the property and field pits. Hunting parties are limited to four people.

Public hunting in Southwest Virginia — The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) has entered into a licensing agreement with the Forestland Group LLC that will make over 19,000 acres of land in Dickenson County available for public hunting. This is the first such agreement under a program called Public Access Land for Sportsmen (PALS).

For area hunters, it’s a long drive to Dickinson County in the southwestern corner of Virginia. But considering the public hunting in the huge Jefferson National Forest — part of which is in Dickinson — the Forestland Group acreage adds yet another opportunity for game.

Located between Highway 63 and Route 600 (Frying Pan Creek Road), the property will be known as the Coalfield PALS Area. In the agreement, the VDGIF will manage hunting access. A special $12.50 permit, valid from Oct.1 through next June, is required to enter the property. The permit can be bought at the VDGIF’s Regional Office, 1796 Highway Sixteen, Marion, Va. 23454. Inquiries should be directed to Wildlife Manager Allen Boynton. Applicants must have a current license. Interested hunters can contact the VDGIF at 276/783-4860.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com

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