Because the outdoors and fishing is my livelihood, I may be a bit biased but I truly believe some of the best people in the world live in its domain.
Just about every day I see something that involves folks who are like-minded doing good things, so it’s pretty easy for me to feel that way. Just in the last few years outdoors people have made their mark, not only for their own benefit, but for the benefit of the community.
There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t get approached by folks in the community who see them in action and often times I get asked why I fish. The answer is simple and it’s much more than the cool gear, the catch or even the time in the outdoors away from the hustle and bustle. It is about friends and camaraderie. There are no better people to spend time with, in my opinion, than those who chase little green fish.
Our world isn’t perfect by any stretch and we have our ups and downs, but those friends who fish are always there. They are the people you call in the middle of the night if something goes wrong and they are the folks who make us smile when things are going well.
I would imagine those who camp, golf or ride bikes have the same feelings and no doubt they are making a difference not only for their own well being, but for our parks and folks around them. When two or more gather, the conversation always returns to the activity.
Cooperation between all outdoors interests is vital. We have to share the space, the ramps, the woods and the feelings better. Outdoors people are a gritty bunch and groups such as the Friends of EverBloom, Friends of Moraine View/Prairieland Anglers, the Lake Bloomington Association, Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, and the McLean County Sportsmen continue to contribute to outdoors and community efforts equally.
It staggers me to think of all that goes on with little fanfare or notoriety. We have so much good that is overshadowed by things most of us have no control over on the negative side. It is time for us to speak out about the good things. It would serve us all to be more positive each day.
In the last few days the Friends of Moraine View started a sizable project in conjunction with the IDNR and the State of Illinois on the renovation of the ramp area of that park. New ramp, new sidewalk, better lighting and enhancement of the parking lot are just a few of the neat things going on there. Many of the aforementioned are long overdue, but it’s neat to see them happening.
This past spring the Prairieland Anglers worked with the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department to build a pier at White Oak Park that is something special. Area bank anglers are taking advantage of that dock on a daily basis. Combined with a very nice walking trail, it is a nightly stop for walkers, bikers and casual outdoor enthusiasts and the beauty is it's right here in town.
Miller Park in Bloomington also is a perfect spot to cast a line or just sit and enjoy nature. There are others such as Tipton Trails and Constitution Trail that the community has embraced and are unique to the area. You don’t have to drive hundreds of miles to enjoy the outdoors. It’s right in our backyards.
Wildlife has found Bloomington-Normal to its liking, too. Turkeys, deer, fox and other animals are seen on a daily basis inside the city limits. There is one turkey at the corner of Raab and Linden in Normal who calls that area home and just about every day is out strutting his stuff. Every now and again, a few other turkey buddies come to visit him near that location.
As a youngster we never saw turkeys and since their introduction in Avon numerous years ago, they have proliferated all over McLean County and the surrounding area. I have received a couple of reports of a bobcat also being sighted in north Normal and an occasional coyote in the Twin Cities.
Thanks to all of the organizations, communities and most of all the “friends” who make this a great place to live. With their help it will only get better.
The Sam Leman EverBloom Tournament trail winners last weekend at Lake Bloomington were the team of Steve and Jake Golden with 17.61 pounds. Second was the team of Taylor Umland and Nick Kirkton with 15.66. Big bass of 6.12 was caught by Stuart and Jake Hoselton. We had 11 smallmouth weighed in and released at this tournament, so stocking is working.