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News Room

June 12, 2006
June is Great Outdoors Month
by James L. Cummins

During June, we celebrate our Nation's outdoor heritage; reaffirm our commitment to conservation and recognizing the many volunteers who help maintain public areas outdoor recreation.

Recreation ranges from fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing to riding recreational vehicles and all terrain vehicles. It is a $250 billion per year industry.

In June, we not only participate in many outdoor activities, but celebrate with many events such as National Trails Day, National Boating and Fishing Week, National Family Recreation Week to National Clean Beaches Week.

Mississippi has a special reason to celebrate. Mississippians are blessed by our state's diverse fish and wildlife habitats, scenic areas and beautiful public lands managed by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These resources play a major role in our state's quality of life. Outdoor recreation provides an opportunity for all of us, and especially our young people, to enjoy the splendor of our Nation's natural treasures.

Last year, President George W. Bush said, "We have an obligation to protect the Earth, and my Administration is pursuing responsible initiatives to make our air cleaner, our water purer, and our land better protected. In doing so, we are demonstrating the important principle that environmental protection and economic prosperity are both vital parts of being good stewards in the land we call home. Through these and other efforts, we will continue to build a cleaner, safer and healthier environment for all Americans."

President Bush also said that outdoor recreation is an excellent way to exercise and enjoy memorable experiences with family and friends. This is especially true in the South in combating heat disease.

At this time, I would also like to thank President Bush for his emergency funding request in addressing Hurricane Katrina's damages to the Gulf Coast's national wildlife refuges. As part of the president's funding request, $132.4 million is requested for clean up and facility repair needs at 61 Gulf Coast refuges. Last year's hurricanes devastated wildlife refuges in the Gulf States. I applaud President Bush for his comprehensive proposal to repair the damages and address a fundamental need for our national wildlife refuges."

I would like to join with President Bush and others and call on all Mississippians to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities and to enjoy safe outdoor recreational activities. And get a young person involved. They are the future of our great state.

James L. Cummins is Executive Director of Wildlife Mississippi, a non-profit, conservation organization founded to conserve, restore and enhance fish, wildlife and plant resources throughout Mississippi. Their web site is


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