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THE WINKELERS For the South
American society has always struggled with the COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2021.
However, there were indications, some major ones, that at least there was hope that things would eventually return to normal.
Two major events, the Grand American and the Southern Illinois Celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Days, returned after a one-year hiatus in 2020. These are some of the best outdoor stories of the year.
Here are these 5 Top stories:
The Grand American of the Amateur Trapshooting Association returned to the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta in August.
The Grand American, the world’s largest trap shooting competition, moved to Sparta from Vandalia, Ohio, in 2006.
Due to Illinois’ tighter COVID-19 restrictions, the ATA had to move the Grand American to Missouri in 2020. However, when the pandemic moderated last summer, the event returned to Sparta. .
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The Missouri site was considerably smaller than the WSRC. The size of the resort and complications from the pandemic resulted in a significant drop in attendance in 2020. However, registrations returned to pre-pandemic levels when the event returned to Sparta last year.
Although the Grand American had returned home, it was not without drama. A variety of issues created labor shortages at the WSRC during the event, but the return of the Grand American was a success.
This year’s event, the 123rd, will take place August 3-13.
With more than 5,000 participants competing over a 10-day period, the Grand American generates millions of dollars in revenue each year for Southern Illinois.
The return of the celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Days in Southern Illinois.
The Southern Illinois celebration is widely considered to be the largest celebration of National Hunt and Fish Days in the country. Before the pandemic, the two-day event drew around 30,000 visitors a year.
Although the show is spread across much of the John A. Logan College campus in Carterville, state regulations would not allow the event to take place in 2020.
The show, a somewhat leaner version of itself, returned in 2021.
The waterfowl call competitions, one of the flagship events of National Hunting and Fishing Days, had to be moved outside. All events that were normally held inside the college buildings were canceled, but most of the outdoor activities returned.
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Drawdown of Crab Orchard Lake.
Last year, the US Fish and Wildlife Service discovered that the Crab Orchard Lake spillway was in serious need of repair. In order to facilitate the work, the level of the lake had to be lowered by almost four feet, exposing miles and miles of shore.
While it sounds disruptive, biologists agreed the six-month drawdown was good for the lake.
Grass grew on the exposed shoreline, providing additional food sources for the waterfowl. The same grasses will serve as nesting habitat and food sources during the fish spawning season this fall.
In addition, the refuge was able to organize a lake-wide clean-up during which tons of waste were removed from the lake bed. Refuge staff were also able to carry out repairs to the boat launching ramps and fishing docks during the low water period.
A series of rain showers in late December and January caused the lake to rise again. The lake should be at the normal pool this spring.
The release of “Shawnee Showdown: Keep the Forest Standing” by Cade Bursell.
Cade Bursell, professor of film and film at Southern Illinois University, released a documentary describing the work of local activists to combat clearcutting in the Shawnee National Forest in the early 1990s.
The net effect of the protests and subsequent legal action resulted in a 17-year moratorium on clear-cutting.
As well as being an important historical document, Bursell’s film also shows that engaged citizenship can affect government action. It is noteworthy that many activists cited in media reports in the 1990s were interviewed for the film, giving it a remarkable before and after effect.
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The retirement of Liz Jones as director of Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge.
Technically, Jones retired in December 2019, but we’re not going to quibble over a few days.
Jones worked in the Cache River watershed for approximately 30 years. Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge and Cache River State Natural Area have both grown in leaps and bounds thanks to Jones’ work in purchasing land from willing buyers.
She has also helped oversee the reforestation of large tracts of land in the Cache River watershed.
Jones was a trailblazer, one of the few women in leadership positions, in wildlife agencies.