September–October 2023

From the Editor

A Smart Investment

A new natural resource act will help protect the state’s great outdoors.

In May, Governor Walz signed into law the $2 billion environment, natural resources, energy, and climate act (ENECA)—a blockbuster measure notable for its combination of one-time investments and new policies. The media highlighted the big issues wrapped into the act, including chronic wasting disease, climate change, and modernizing fish hatcheries and state park infrastructure. But one under-the-radar statute—a ban on the commercial harvest of turtles in Minnesota—proves just how wide-ranging that legislation was, and will continue to be for years to come. You can read more about the ban in “Catching a Break."

Several other stories in this issue touch on topics linked to the ENECA. Naturalist Clinton Dexter-Nienhaus, whom we chat with in the Q&A, is passionate about bogs and was no doubt happy that the measure included a large investment in wetland restoration. Elsewhere in the act was $5.3 million for the management of chronic wasting disease and farmed-cervid oversight. These dollars seek to control the spread of CWD while helping ensure that Minnesota’s whitetail fanatics—including those highlighted in “A Weekend at the Shack”—continue to have quality hunting opportunities.  

Legislators showed their commitment to water conservation as well, earmarking funds for efforts such as clean-water crop initiatives and an eventual ban on the sale of consumer products containing intentionally added “forever chemicals,” which pollute our waters. Clean water is important to Minnesotans, including paddlers like Frank Bures, whose article “Let It Flow” chronicles an epic canoe race he completed last summer on the Mississippi River. Bures’ story caused me to reflect, once more, on the importance of protecting the state’s invaluable natural resources, from turtles to whitetails to waterways big and small.

Chris Clayton, editor in chief