Meridian Star

September 27, 2013

Tomorrow is the annual big outdoor gathering

By Otha Barham
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Tomorrow, September 28, the 23rd Annual Clarke County Forestry and Wildlife Festival will take place at the scenic Archusa Water Park east of Quitman. This event has become an exciting and successful tradition for lovers of the outdoors in East Mississippi and West Alabama. I have fond memories of special days spent at the festival. One in particular is the day Jack Dudley and I shared the podium interacting with outdoor enthusiasts, hundreds of whom flock to the lakeside under the giant pine trees and swap outdoor stories.

    Tomorrow, the festival will provide day-long music, other entertainment, arts, crafts, childrens' activities, food, exhibits, motorcycles and more. For more information, please call 601-776-5701.

    This year the festival falls on National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHFD). Check out for an inspiring review and challenge of this special day. Here is but one informative excerpt about this great tradition:

    “Over 100 years ago, hunters and anglers were the earliest and most vocal supporters of conservation and scientific wildlife management. They were the first to recognize that rapid development and unregulated uses of wildlife were threatening the future of many species. Led by fellow sportsman President Theodore Roosevelt, these early conservationists called for the first laws restricting the commercial slaughter of wildlife. They urged sustainable use of fish and game, created hunting and fishing licenses, and lobbied for taxes on sporting equipment to provide funds for state conservation agencies. These actions were the foundation of the North American wildlife conservation model, a science-based, user-pay system that would foster the most dramatic conservation successes of all time.

    Populations of white-tailed deer, elk, antelope, wild turkey, wood ducks and many other species began to recover from decades of unregulated exploitation.”

    Besides being proud of your part in this huge unselfish movement that has successfully enhanced our wildlife, you will learn from the website how the NHFD got its start from an idea by a gun shop owner in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. You will also learn that the 2013 Honorary Chairman of NHFD is angling star Bill Dance.

    There are few better ways to celebrate NHFD than taking the family to the Clarke County Forestry and Wildlife Festival. I will have a booth there, anxious to hear stories from my many friends who are drawn to the woods and waters of our fine country. Look for the canopy with the green top and stop by with your stories, advice or just to say hello.