© Kevin Lombard
Christine Hallet and Rona Hall take a break on a recent trip to Birchdale, the former Nova Nada site deep in backcountry.
Kevin Lombard has some ideas for the Digby East Fish and Game.
Lombard is the vice president of the Digby County ATV Association, and, as he just discovered, he’s therefore also an associate member of the Digby East Fish and Game.
“I’ve been in the ATV club four years and I didn’t know I was a member of the Fish and Game,” he said. “The older members may have known but the newer ones didn’t.”
The Fish and Game is holding a special meeting for their members on Sunday, Aug. 24 to discuss their future, or, more to the point the lack of a future.
The executive cites declining membership and lack of volunteer support as the main reasons they are thinking about closing the club doors after 45 years of wildlife and wilderness conservation.
[Related: Stories from the 45th anniversary in 2006]
Lombard says some of the ATV club’s 40 members may want to start helping out.
The ATV club membership is up from 25 just three years ago.
“We’ve had some growth,” said Lombard. “We’ve tried to get out there and make it fun. We’ve held some runs and the ATV appreciation day. We’ve tried to get the word out. Facebook is one of the ways today, you have to go where the people are.”
The ATV club uses the Fish and Game clubhouse for their ten meetings a year, but Lombard says he for one would have helped more if he had known more about the situation.
“We would definitely have been participating more,” he said. “Since I heard about this, I’ve talked to some of Fish and Game members, I’ve talked to some of our members, and I’m going (to the meeting) for sure. I’ll share some of my ideas and see what they think.”
For example, he’d like to try to establish an archery club there.
“That might bring in a dozen people every couple weeks and get them interested,” he said.
The key he says is to get young people interested in the outdoors, hunting and wildlife.
“The laws are screwy now,” he says. “You have to be 16 to go deer hunting with an 18-year-old and you have to be 18 to hunt by yourself. By the time a kid is 16, it’s too late to get them interested.”
Lombard points to the success of the Hants West Wildlife Association in attracting young people and women.
They hold learn to hunt weekends where they teach 14 year-olds to snare a rabbit and shoot a shotgun and a bow.
“They get the kids into the outdoors away from the X-Boxes,” he says. “If your parents don’t hunt or fish, then the kids don’t learn it. Our rural culture is gone.”
The West Hants group also holds outdoor weekends for women to teach them how to enjoy the outdoors.
“I think the Fish and Game could play a role like that,” he said. “Get people back in the outdoors.”