“Join or Die.” That was the motto on the revolutionary war flag featuring a cartoon attributed to Benjamin Franklin. The famous image featured a woodcut showing a snake cut into eighths, with each segment labeled with the initials of one of the American colonies. The idea of course was that if the colonies tried to solve their problems or take on Great Britain on their own, they would all be defeated.
Today we mostly take for granted our fishing and hunting heritage and the opportunities that we all enjoy here in the mid-west and especially in Missouri. We shouldn’t. Last week’s column addressed the ballot initiative in Oregon to ban hunting fishing trapping and most farming outright in that state. We have a low bar for ballot initiatives in Missouri so who knows what the future could bring.
What we have outdoors-wise in Missouri is unique. We don’t think anything about the fact that there is a boat ramp within 30 miles of almost every citizen in the state and no fee to use them. We drive in and out of our state parks without stickers or annual permits. I could go on, but the reason we have all these things in our state is we are the only state with two dedicated sales taxes for Conservation. 1/8 of a cent for the Department of Conservation and 1/10th of a cent for soil and parks. But there is no guarantee that we will have these things in the future if we don’t make the effort to protect them. The best way to do that for the least amount of money is to join the Conservation Federation of Missouri. This non-profit organization has been the leading advocate for hunters, anglers, birdwatchers, trappers, hikers, bikers, and anyone else that enjoys outdoor Missouri for 85 years. For a $35 membership, you get a magazine six times a year and are kept up to date on all legislation affecting conservation in Missouri. If you sign up for the e-mail alerts, you will be kept up to speed bi-weekly. You will have opportunities to advocate for regulation changes with a much louder voice than we have individually. Maybe it’s not “join or die,” but you should do it today. I did.
Contact the Federation at 728 West Main St, Jefferson City, MO 65101 or join them at www.confedmo.org/join.