Note To Our Readers
Our Unique Conservation Legacy
Today Missouri is known for world-class outdoor adventures (hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife watching, canoeing and boating, target shooting, camping). Missouri boasts a truly wonderful uniqueness with:
- More than 14 million acres of forest land;
- Prairies, caves; and
- Enormous diversity and quality of water resources—springs, rivers, streams, ponds, wetlands and lakes.
Director Robert Ziehmer assists with a tranquilized black bear for a research project in southwest Missouri.
Our state supports a citizen population of 6 million. Missourians enjoy an accessible network of lands, buildings and facilities with a prominent mission—helping citizens enjoy and understand our state’s forest, fish and wildlife resources. It is important to note these lands and facilities occur in rural areas and also in the hearts of major cities.
Conservation—wise use—of forest, fish and wildlife resources has a proven and important track record. These resources have a tremendous positive impact at the individual, family, community and state levels. Combining the numbers generated by hunting and fishing, wildlife watching, and forest industries shows the importance of conservation in our state.
- Supports approximately 95,000 Missouri jobs;
- Involves many citizens through active participation; and
- Generates positive business revenue to the state of over $11.4 billion annually.
History clearly shows the wisdom in Missouri citizens’ approach to conservation. In the early 1930s, it is reported there were fewer than 2,000 deer. Turkey were rarely seen, and beaver, bear, elk and many other animals were rare or already gone. Missouri, a state that once supported the largest sawmill in the world, had depleted the vast Ozark forests. Streams and the aquatic resources they supported had experienced major declines. From that low point, a groundswell of citizen support for conservation developed.
In 1935, concerned citizens from around the state met to discuss what could be done. From that meeting, the idea of a non-political conservation agency and a management approach based on technical research emerged. This concept, presented as a constitutional amendment, received overwhelming citizen support. Today, our state’s conservation system of governance is studied as the “model approach” across the nation.
Missouri conservation is unique—unique in its history, unique in the way the Conservation Commission derives its funding and authority from the people, and unique in the passion and commitment of Missourians to perpetuate this legacy. The Show-Me State’s conservation efforts have a broad management base giving consideration to forests, fish and all species of wildlife.
Missourians have accomplished some amazing conservation results.
- Restored and sustained dozens of wildlife and fisheries resources;
- Transformed forestry into a sustainable industry;
- Created a system devoted to serving private landowners—both rural and urban;
- Invested in the hearts of major urban areas to teach the value of the outdoor world;
- Developed an accessible network of lands, buildings and facilities with a prominent mission; and
- Partnered the entire way with citizens.
The journey of conservation is not complete. Many modern-day conservation issues create challenges to our state’s forest, fish and wildlife resources.
It is together as a team—Conservation Department and citizens—that we will build on past successes and continue advancing Missouri as a national leader in forest, fish and wildlife management. Thank you for your continued interest, support and active involvement in Missouri’s conservation movement. I encourage all Missourians—young and old alike—to look for ways to become more actively involved in conservation efforts during 2011.
Robert L. Ziehmer, director