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OUR VIEW: Support SD's lakes: Buy a fishing license

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opinion Mitchell, 57301

Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

One of the biggest struggles in today's fast-paced world is finding time to relax and recuperate.

Work, school, sports and other obligations seem to take all of the day's time. Summer is especially busy.

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But summer is also the perfect opportunity to go to the lake and get away from the hecticness of everyday life. That's why we were happy to see a report earlier this week that showed South Dakota's fishing license sales, with both residents and nonresidents, were up from last year at a similar point.

According to the report, there have been 1,493 more resident fishing licenses sold this year compared to last year. That includes one-day, annual, senior and fishing spearing/archery licenses. That does not include annual combination licenses, which allow for residents to fish and hunt small game.

Even more significant is the increase of non-resident fishing licenses compared to last year so far. Combined, there have been 5,869 more one-day, three-day, annual, family and youth fishing licenses sold to nonresidents this year compared to a year ago at this time.

Chris Petersen, director of administration for the state GF&P, simply attributed license sales to good weather and good fishing.

He said Thursday that by the end of the calendar year, the estimated revenue impact in the additional fishing licenses will be $600,000 above last year's sales. If that happens, 2014 will be the third straight year fishing license sales in South Dakota have increased.

The GF&P uses license sales fees toward fish management, such as fish stocking, and keeping South Dakota's lakes accessible for boaters and outdoor enthusiasts. That money also will help offset the expected decline in deer hunting license sales, which is expected to drop about $700,000 this year compared to last, Petersen said.

The GF&P's Division of Wildlife 2012-13 budget, the most recent available, was just shy $50 million. About 61 percent of that, or about $30.5 million, went directly toward management of wildlife, habitat and fish. Those dollars are mainly collected by license sales.

Quite simply, more sales means more funding available.

So support South Dakota's lakes, rivers and wildlife by purchasing a fishing license.

It's a great way to get away from all of life's stressful obligations and continue to aid the future of the outdoors.

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