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Come July 1 the DNR Volunteer Programs Office that recruits, refers, coordinates, trains, supervises, and recognizes many of the volunteers will be eliminated. This could have a huge impact on all sportsmen and activities. I have an official response from the Dept. and what we can do. Can we post it?

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Dear esox,

You asked if all of the DNR's volunteer programs are scheduled to be
eliminated come July 1. Not exactly - All of the volunteers will not
disappear overnight, but what will be eliminated come July 1 is the DNR
Volunteer Programs Office that recruits, refers, coordinates, trains,
supervises, and recognizes many of these volunteers. The volunteers
will continue for a time, but without support and coordination, the
numbers are sure to start falling. Closing the Volunteer Office will
also mean that citizens will no longer have a central placement center
to assist them in signing up to volunteer with the DNR in their part of
the state, and DNR staff will no longer have anyone to support their
efforts with training and recruitment of volunteers. With looming
budget shortfalls, now would be a better time to expand, rather than
eliminate, the volunteer program. DNR Volunteer Programs is one of the
few ways that citizens are ensured access and participation in managing
our state's natural resources. We all need to be good stewards of our
environment. The DNR cannot do it alone.

If you disagree with this proposed cut, feel free to contact your local
legislators and Governor Pawlenty to voice your concerns. They are the
only people who can save the Volunteer Program now. Feel free to send
them information from the DNR Volunteer Opportunities newsletter or you
may direct them to the same information on our web site at
http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/volunteering/index.html If you received
a copy of the newsletter in the mail, you'll notice on the web site
the percentages are different from the printed version. The numbers
correct, but I incorrectly figured the percentages for decreases rather
than increases in numbers. So the percentages on the web are actually
BETTER than I originally reported in print.

If you are unsure who your legislators are, you may find them at
http://www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/geninfo.asp Just look up your
senators and representatives by your city or zip code. Now is the best
time to reach them before the legislative session gets into full swing
and they are swamped. Phone calls and letters are actually the most
effective, but emails will work, too. There is definitely hope that
program can be saved if legislators hear that their constituents want
to continue!

It would also be helpful to contact the legislators named to the
various natural resources committees. Since the Volunteer Program is
statewide, it would affect people in their districts even if you're not
one of their direct constituents. Members of the House Environment
Natural Resources Finance Committee have been named and are listed at
Dennis Ozment of Rosemount has been named the Chair of this committee
for 2003. He can be reached at [email protected]

In the Senate, the Environment and Natural Resources Committee members
can be found at
Senator John Marty of Roseville has been named Chair and Senator Tom
Saxhaug of Grand Rapids has been named Vice Chair.

The Senate Environment, Agriculture, and Economic Development Budget
Divison has named Dallas C. Sams of Staples as the Chair and D. Scott
Dibble of Minneapolis as Vice Chair. Committee members named are Ellen
R. Anderson, Michele Bachmann, Thomas M. Bakk, Richard J. Cohen, Steve
Dille, Dennis R. Fredrickson, Gary W. Kubly, Steve Murphy, Pat
and Julie A. Rosen. This list can be found at

Other information you can direct legislators to is the Minnesota State
Agency Profile on the DNR. The DNR's purpose and mission is to "work
with citizens to protect and manage the state's natural resources,..."
and to "share stewardship with citizens and partners, working together
to address often competing interests,...". If the goal of the DNR is
"to foster an ethic of natural resource stewardship among all
Minnesotans", what better way than through the DNR Volunteer Program?
This can be found at http://www.budget.state.mn.us/profiles/r29.shtml

Thank you for concern and feel free to contact me if you have any
further questions.

Renee Vail
Director, DNR Volunteer Programs
500 Lafayette Rd, St Paul, MN 55155
651-297-1448 651-297-7388 FAX
e-mail: [email protected]

Check out the DNR's web site at
for the latest in volunteer opportunities.
Thanks Rick

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This could have a huge impact on just about everything even remotely connected to the DNR. If they don't have the money to repair their equipment, nets, boats, etc., they can't stock the lakes, or even grow the fry. There's more programs then you can imagine that could be affected, fish hatcheries, state parks, waterfowl and big game management, just to name a few. Besides these programs they are tapping into the dedicated funds also, this could almost shut them down if it's not stopped.

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