News Column

How to Pack an Outdoor Survival Kit, and Other Budget Tips

Nov. 19, 2012

Brad Dokken, Grand Forks Herald


Snow covers the ground in much of the region, and travelers last weekend got a harsh reminder of how difficult winter driving can be when Mother Nature delivered a nasty dose of snow and freezing rain.

Enviro-Log, a company that specializes in "eco-friendly" products for home heating and outdoor activities such as camping, hiking and tailgating, suggests motorists carry a survival kit in their vehicles. Kits should include the following items:

--A first-aid kit.

--Blankets or sleeping bags.

--A cellular phone or two-way radio.

--A windshield scraper with snow brush.

--Flashlight with batteries.

--Extra winter clothes including shoes, hats and gloves.

--Compact shovel.

--Traction aids (bag of sand or cat litter) and tow chain.

--Emergency flares.

--Jumper cables.

--Nonperishable food and bottled water.

--A laminated road map.

--Do not store liquid fuels in your vehicle.

--Any special-needs items for children, seniors or people with disabilities, who might be traveling with you.

--Water and supplies for any pets in the vehicle.

Sequestration, Brrr

Natural resources advocates are urging the public to contact members of their congressional delegations in an effort to minimize the impact of looming budgetary "sequester" cuts on conservation and natural resource programs, which make up only 1.4 percent of federal spending.

According to the National Parks and Conservation Association, there are 300 million visits each year to national parks -- visits that support more than $31 billion in spending and about 258,000 jobs. The potential cuts could force the closing of national parks, park campgrounds and visitor centers, which would negatively impact the economy and private-sector jobs tied to the park system.

"If Congress fails to find a solution by January, more than $200 million could be cut from the National Park Service budget, which would likely close visitor centers and campgrounds and could put as many as 9,000 rangers and other park employees out of a job," Craig Obey, senior vice president of the National Parks Conservation Association, said in a statement. "These cuts could close as many as 150 park sites across the country."

Cuts also could end major programs at more than 130 national wildlife refuges, forcing many sites to close, resulting in job losses in rural communities and jeopardizing 200 wildlife management jobs, the NPCA said. Law enforcement officers would be cut by more than 15 percent, weakening safety for visitors and wildlife.

Herald Staff Report

U.S. senators in the next few days will be voting on one of the most comprehensive packages of sportsmen's legislation in recent years. Introduced Sept. 10, the Sportsmen's Act of 2012 (S. 3525) includes 15 bills that will benefit anglers, hunters and recreational shooters by providing for increased access, habitat conservation and improved fish and wildlife management.

Introduced by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and 14 Democratic cosponsors, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., the bill includes the following provisions:

--The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act (S. 838): Blocks ongoing attempts to federally ban lead in recreational fishing equipment and ammunition by amending the Toxic Substances Control Act.

--National Fish Habitat Conservation Act (S. 1201): Authorizes the National Fish Habitat Partnership, the most comprehensive effort attempted to conserve, restore and enhance fish habitat on a range-wide scale.

--Making Public Lands Public Act (S. 901): Increases access for angling, hunting and recreational shooting on federal lands by directing 1.5 percent of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to ensure access to fishing, hunting and other recreational activities.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: (c) 2012 the Grand Forks Herald (Grand Forks, N.D.)

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