Out of doors Recreation Grants to Assist MN Children Keep Wholesome / Public Information Service

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Health experts say absorbing the outdoors and engaging in outdoor activities can keep kids on a healthier path as they grow. But not all of them have equal access to resources, prompting Minnesota officials to offer community-level grants.

The Department of Natural Resources has just begun accepting applications for its latest round of funding for No Child Left Inside.

Jeff Ledermann, supervisor of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ education and skills team, said the grants are targeted at local nonprofits and schools to improve outdoor recreation opportunities. For example, he pointed out that giving some young people a better chance to be outside when it’s cold has already helped the Minneapolis Nature Preschool.

“In some cases they gave clothing for winter activities or had clothing available,” noted Ledermann. “Because these kids don’t come with clothes that they have to take out. So, boots and hats and stuff like that.”

Elsewhere, in the Perham area, there is a program that helps children with autism connect with nature. The state legislature began funding the grants in 2019. The current phase includes $450,000 for local projects. The current application period is December 7th.

Ledermann emphasized that there is a body of research linking healthier outcomes to outdoor recreation, adding that this has become much clearer during the pandemic. He emphasized that increasing opportunities among younger populations also leads to increased awareness.

“When kids are young — who’ve spent a lot of time in nature — they care more about nature in nature and tend to care more about it,” Ledermann said. “Which is of course very important to us when we come from the DNR.”

Ledermann explained that recent years have given a boost to license purchases for activities such as hunting and fishing, but are returning to pre-pandemic norms with lower demand. Funding comes in mini grants of less than $5,000 or larger grants of up to $25,000.

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National Wildlife Refuge Week may be over, but public lands are important for wildlife year-round. There are about 600 wildlife refuges across the country, including nearly two dozen in Montana. The sanctuary system is the only public land system managed primarily for wildlife.

Christian Hunt, senior federal lands policy analyst at Defenders of Wildlife, said most major cities are within an hour’s drive of one.

“These places offer wildlife sanctuary — and truly human access to nature — in a world where both are becoming increasingly rare,” Hunt said.

Hunt said the sanctuary system supports about 1/3 of all species listed as endangered, which he says is vital, especially given a recent study that showed wild animal populations have declined nearly 70% since 1970.

Hunt said one of the biggest threats to refugees is lack of funds. Defenders of Wildlife argued that the system needs $1 billion but only about half of that is currently being allocated.

“Dollars are needed to provide all of these services that people and wildlife depend on in a larger sanctuary system,” Hunt said.

Between 2010 and 2022, the asylum system lost 25% of its staff. But Hunt notes that visits to those countries jumped 38% over that period.

“That’s a shame,” Hunt said. “Because places of refuge bring immense economic benefits to local communities. billions of dollars. They support thousands of jobs and generate a lot of economic output for the communities that surround those places.”

Montana refuges include the Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge, Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge, and the National Bison Range.

Disclosure: Defenders of Wildlife makes contributions to our fund for reporting on climate change/air quality, endangered species and wildlife, energy policy, public lands/wilderness. If you would like to support public interest messages, click here.

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President Joe Biden was in Colorado yesterday to designate the Camp Hale-Continental Divide area north of Leadville as a national monument.

Soldiers from Camp Hale are credited with helping turn the tide against fascism in Europe during World War II.

Bradley Noone is a Tenth Mountain Division veteran and explained that the Army recruited the nation’s best mountaineers and skiers and took them to the Rocky Mountains to learn how to be soldiers.

“The 10th Mountain trained at Camp Hale,” Noone said, “and then deployed to Italy and was able to capture a number of key points in the landscape that the Germans thought impassable and impenetrable — until they encountered the 10th Mountain Division.” “

Soldiers returning from combat helped start Colorado’s world-renowned ski industry and set the state on a path to becoming a leader in harnessing the economic power of the outdoor recreation economy.

According to a recent poll, 86% of Coloradans across party lines support the president’s designation of new national monuments to protect public lands from future development, but some Republicans have called the move a land grab.

Outdoor recreation contributed nearly $10 billion to Colorado’s economy in 2020, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Nancy Kramer – president of the Tenth Mountain Division Foundation – called the appointment a big win for gateway cities and businesses and believes it will bring even more visitors to the region.

“These cultural tourists, they come, they stay, they explore,” said Kramer. “They are spending more by staying longer and being more involved with the communities. So that has a very important economic impact.”

No one said spending time in Colorado’s wilderness after combat in Afghanistan probably saved his life.

He said visiting the pristine lands around Camp Hale also helps him reconnect with the lands he has pledged to protect.

“Public land acts as my church, it acts as my therapist, my playground, my gym,” Noone said. and other veterans can leave – to heal.”

Support for this reporting has been provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

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Conservation groups say more needs to be done to protect the natural and cultural resources of Utah’s Labyrinth Canyon from off-road vehicles.

The Bureau of Land Management is accepting comments on a draft voyage management plan for the Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges area outside of Moab until October 7.

Laura Peterson, an attorney with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, said more than 1,200 miles of off-road vehicle routes cover the area.

“Motorized vehicles are allowed in certain parts along the river and in some side canyons,” she said, “and that really affects riparian areas, habitats, soil, vegetation but also the experience on the river.”

The BLM has published four plan options to determine vehicle usage in the areas for the coming decades. Peterson claimed that the plan known as “Alternative B” was the only one that would protect the entire river corridor while reducing route density in Gold Bar Rim, Deadman Point, Day Canyon and other pristine areas.

There are 40 miles of Green River flowing in Labyrinth Canyon. Peterson noted that it is designated a Wild and Scenic River because of its recreational, scenic, environmental, and cultural values.

“It’s one of the few places in the West where you can experience a shallow-water wilderness. And it’s this unique situation where the Emery County side of the river is protected wilderness and the Grand County side is not,” she said. “And that leads to different management on both sides.”

According to the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, more than 94% of the land within the Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges area is within one-half mile of a designated 4WD route. Peterson said reducing route density and minimizing user conflict is important for those seeking quiet recreation in the area.

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