Matters of Opinion
Our lives have changed. As I write this, with two weeks remaining in April and the threat of the COVID-19 virus in our communities a continued reality, it’s difficult, at best, to predict with certainty when things will get back closer to how we remember them.
While we live in a different time nowadays, a time that would have been difficult to wrap our heads around just a year ago, life continues in North Dakota. There have been changes, major changes, in how we go about our daily lives, yet we’ve adjusted.
Here at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, we are challenged to “protect, conserve and enhance fish and wildlife populations and their habitats for sustained public consumptive and nonconsumptive use.”
Agency personnel have continued to embrace this challenge, with, of course, some adjustments. In this issue of North Dakota OUTDOORS for example, readers will see that Department fisheries staff adopted some precautionary methods – traveling singly in agency vehicles, wearing face masks and working behind Plexiglas – to spawn northern pike. The same precautions will be used for the walleye spawn on Lake Sakakawea and trapping and transporting adult yellow perch to lakes in parts of the state.
These efforts, while not immediately noticeable, will continue to fuel the wonderful fishing opportunities anglers have grown to appreciate across North Dakota’s landscape.
Our top concern for Department fisheries staff and all other agency personnel as they go about their jobs at this time, is their wellbeing. I imagine, despite having to take extra precautions that may at times slow their effort, they appreciate the opportunity to get outdoors and get their hands dirty.
I’ve said it countless times and have written it in this space often, but it bears repeating that North Dakota’s outdoors, and the array of activities available outside our homes, is one of the big reasons many people call this great state home.
Understanding this, and knowing that people were itching to get outdoors to enjoy the spring-like weather just as our world was being turned upside down, we encouraged people to venture outdoors, while also recommending that they avoid crowds and practice social distancing.
Again, while it is impossible to predict when things will get back to “normal,” we recognize the want and need to get outdoors and enjoy much of what North Dakota has to offer will only grow. Even so, we encourage everyone to follow whatever guidelines our state leaders are recommending at the time.
Be safe and be courteous of others while you enjoy North Dakota’s great outdoors.