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Jeff Lampe
Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors
 

Scattershooting

A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Quinn really does care about DNR

February 26, 2009 at 06:20 PM

We’ve all heard politicians mouth platitudes they quickly forgot or ignored.

And when Gov. Pat Quinn announced a few weeks ago that the Department of Natural Resources was one of Illinois’ most important agencies, I figured he was offering a sound byte for the moment.

Quinn’s quote came at the Capitol Building while naming Marc Miller as DNR director. So a certain amount of posturing was to be expected. But I’m starting to think Quinn actually believes what he said.

In less than one month the new governor has worked to restore endangered federal funding for DNR. He got rid of a politically connected director in exchange for Miller, a trusted aide with a background in natural resources.

His actions have collectively “changed the entire mood of DNR” according to one staffer. That was obvious Thursday when Quinn announced he was reopening the seven parks closed under former Gov. Blagojevich, the He Who Must Not Be Named of Illinois conservation.

To make the announcement, Quinn actually went to DNR headquarters. I doubt our former governor knew where that building is located.

At one point Quinn started saying he was going to “rebuild this agency” only to be met with applause from staffers that drowned out his remaining words.

The string of conservation coups has me wondering what’s next?

Is this the administration that can create an access program to benefit Illinois resident hunters and not just outfitters?

Is Quinn’s crew savvy enough to table politically motivated suggestions from last year’s deer task force in favor of science-based decisions?

What about tackling the thorny issues of stream access?

How about hiring a turkey biologist and making more permits available for hunters?

Some of those issues may be too much to tackle in less than two years and with little or no money. Even so, it’s nice to think positive changes are possible again.

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