Outdoors digest 3/8/02

Friday, March 8, 2002

Corps offers hunt for the physically challenged

MONROE CITY, Mo.-- Mobility-impaired hunters can get help realizing their turkey-hunting dreams through the annual Mark Twain Lake Turkey Hunt for the Physically Challenged.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns and manages Mark Twain Lake, works with local community groups to make the hunt May 4 and 5 at Indian Creek Recreation Area a memorable experience. Twenty physically challenged hunters get VIP service normally associated with expensive guided hunts.

Participants supply their own guns and ammunition, 20 gauge or larger. A limited number of guides are available, but participants are encouraged to bring their own helpers. To qualify, applicants must be permanently disabled (nonambulatory or semiambulatory), have valid hunter safety certification cards and valid spring turkey hunting permits.

For application materials, contact the Corps of Engineers, Mark Twain Lake, Rt. 2, Box 20A, Monroe City, Mo., 63456, 573/735-4097. Application must be recieved by April 1. Reservations will be awarded by random drawing April 5.

Conservation Department aims to remove barriers

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.-- In an ideal world there would be no barriers to prevent persons with disabilities from participating in outdoor recreation. The Missouri Department of Conservation is working to assure its facilities come as close as possible to ideal for persons with disabilities.

Since 1992 the agency has dedicated at least $500,000 each year to capital improvement projects to make conservation lands, buildings and programs disabled accessible. Judging by reports on Conservation Department capital improvement projects, the agency has spared no concrete to remove barriers. Improvements to Conservation Department facilities include:

construction of fishing platforms at Montauk and Roaring River state parks and boat loading platforms at Noren Access, Seven Island Access and J.N. "Turkey" Kearn Memorial Wildlife Area.

installation of automatic door openers at Conservation Nature Centers in Jefferson City, Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield.

construction of accessible trails at O'Fallon Park Lake, Boathouse Lake, South Lake, Wilmore Park

Most of these projects consist of adapting existing facilities to meet the needs of persons with disabilities. Meanwhile, all new Conservation Department facilities are being designed with disabled users' needs in mind.

Besides working to remove physical barriers, Conservation Department offers its award-winning magazine, Missouri Conservationist, on audio tape, The Missouri Outdoors television series is closed-captioned, and close-captioned versions of Conservation Department video tapes are provided to libraries statewide. Conservation nature centers have sign-language interpreters for some programs and offer programs in multisensory formats.

Hunters with special needs can obtain special-use permits to reduce regulation barriers to their sports. Special hunts further address their needs. Anglers with disabilities can take advantage of special fishing programs.

If you would like more information on the Conservation Department's disabled accessible facilities, write to Human Resources Division, Missouri Department of Conservation, PO Box 180, Jefferson City, Mo., 65102-0180, or call 573-751-4115.

The Conservation Department also has a whole section of its Web site devoted to accessibility. Visit www.conservationist.state.mo.us/ and click on keyword "Accessibility."

State survey reveals conservation attitudes

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.-- A recent survey reveals that six in 10 Missourians consider themselves environmentalists. Eight out of 10 favor restoring animals that once lived in Missouri. And while only 25 percent of Missourians consider themselves hunters, a majority of Show-Me State residents approve of the activity.

These are among the findings of the Conservation Monitor survey conducted by the Gallup Organization for the Missouri Department of Conservation in May 2000. The Gallup Organization, headquartered in Princeton, N.J., conducts the Conservation Monitor opinion survey periodically to allow the Conservation Department to track public attitudes on conservation issues. The most recent survey involved telephone interviews with 880 Missourians.

The number of Missourians who said they consider themselves environmentalists was down from 1997, when the previous Conservation Monitor survey was conducted. That year, seven out of 10 participants accepted the label. The number who consider themselves "strong environmentalists" remained unchanged--48 percent.

Respondents were less likely to believe that the state's forest acreage is shrinking than they were in previous years, and they were less likely to consider prairie restoration important. The percentage of respondents who opposed draining wetlands held steady at 24 percent.

Eighty-eight percent of respondents said they approve of hunting for food. Fifty-eight percent expressed approval of hunting as a way of experiencing Missouri traditions and folk ways. Fifty-six percent said they approved of hunting for the outdoor experiences it provides, and 55 percent said they approved of hunting to be with friends.

Survey respondents came from all 115 of Missouri's counties. Twenty-five percent lived in rural areas. Another 21 percent came from urban areas, and the remaining 54 percent lived in suburbs or small towns. The sample was evenly divided between men and women.

-- From staff reports

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