A November 1955 photo of my great-grandfather, Robert G. Murphy, displaying a white-tailed buck at the Moniteau County check station, serves to remind me of the impact each generation has on the next. As a farmer and outdoorsman, he was dependent on the land to provide for his family’s financial, social and recreational needs. Having grown up in the early 1900s, the value of wise resource management was seen firsthand. His generation was eyewitness to the impacts of life with low fish and game numbers, depleted forest resources and extreme soil erosion problems.
History documents the unique commitment of Missourians to the outdoors and the many steps taken since the mid-1930s to support and enhance conservation. Conservation’s greatest successes have come about because of citizen commitment and the power of partnerships. It still works that way today.
Many partnerships may go unnoticed; however, the resulting benefits are huge. Each year, through a competitive bid process, more than 350 local farmers plant/harvest crops on land managed by the Department. Cooperative agreements are in place with more than 900 rural volunteer fire departments—our first line of defense against wildfires. Hundreds of agreements with communities provide citizens “close-to-home” fishing and outdoor recreational opportunities. County governments partner to assure area access roads are properly maintained and the public has access to conservation areas. These partnerships, and many others, allow priority forest, fish, and wildlife management practices to be completed while also providing additional far-reaching benefits to families, communities and the state.
Similar to past generations, conservation challenges still exist in Missouri. A few examples include invasive species, diseases, balancing needs of both abundant and rare wildlife, long-term demand of maintaining infrastructure (ranging from boat ramps to shooting ranges to wetland areas to nature centers), and limited revenues in a period of rising inflation and energy costs.
Encouraging, though, is the fact that—based on high citizen involvement levels and a growing partner list—Missourians remain committed to ensuring the legacy of wise resource management continues. A sincere “thank you” to all citizens actively engaged in Missouri’s conservation programs. For those looking to become more involved, I encourage you to contact one of your Regional Conservation Offices to explore opportunities. The future of our state’s conservation success story depends on continued citizen support.
My great-grandfather’s passion for the outdoors reinforces an important family goal. This goal is to provide my daughters, Emily and Lauren, firsthand outdoor experiences that help instill the value and importance of Missouri’s forest, fish, and wildlife. A solid understanding is essential for developing a commitment able to advance conservation to the next level—this fact remains as true today as it was decades ago.
Robert Ziehmer, assistant director
Editor In Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair
Art Director - Cliff White
Writer/Editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler