“Hunting and fishing are part of our history and legacy as Nebraskans,” Gov. Pete Ricketts said this week.

Gov. Pete Ricketts has proclaimed Saturday as National Hunting and Fishing Day in Nebraska.

“Hunting and fishing are part of our history and legacy as Nebraskans,” Ricketts said before signing the proclamation in his office. “This is something that is about our state and enjoying the natural beauty we have here. It is not only something that is part of our heritage as Nebraskans, it also is a big deal economically.”

Resident and nonresident hunters and anglers spend about $1 billion a year in Nebraska. The industry creates about 12,000 jobs for the state.

“They (hunters and anglers) stay in our hotels and motels and eat in our restaurants,” Ricketts said. “They buy fuel and go to other stores. It really is something that helps contribute to our overall economy.”

The governor, an avid outdoorsman, also signed a pledge to take a new or novice hunter afield as part of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Take ’Em Hunting Challenge.

In this challenge, hunters are encouraged to take a pledge to introduce someone new to hunting during the 2019-20 hunting seasons. Those who take someone new hunting can upload a photo of their hunting trip to the Game and Parks website and be registered to win prizes. The challenge runs through May 31. For more information or to take the pledge, visit OutdoorNebraska.org/TakeEmHunting.

Joining Ricketts in promoting hunting and fishing were Greg Wagner of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Dustin Allemann of the Nebraska Sportsmen’s Foundation and Micaela Rahe of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

“We’ve got tremendous opportunities to enjoy hunting and fishing in our state,” Ricketts said. “Hunting and fishing are great opportunities to take people out. This is part of how we can enjoy family time and time with our friends and get outside and get away from all of the video games and other indoor distractions.”

For more information about hunting and fishing in Nebraska, visit OutdoorNebraska.org.

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Iowa volunteer day

Iowans can lend a hand at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ third annual statewide Volunteer Day on Saturday.

More than 40 parks will be hosting volunteer events to help spruce up trails, buildings and other park amenities. According to Todd Coffelt, State Parks Bureau chief, volunteer projects will focus on prepping for the 100th anniversary of the Iowa state park system in 2020.

“Iowa state parks are beloved places for many Iowans, and we greatly appreciate the help volunteers provide,” Coffelt said. “We are excited for this year’s event to kick off our state’s celebration of the park system’s centennial next year.”

Cleanup efforts at this weekend’s Volunteer Day will be unique for each park depending on cleanup needs, but may include litter pickup, staining or painting buildings, planting trees, clearing trails and more.

Citizens interested in volunteering can learn more at www.iowadnr.gov/volunteer. If weather looks inclement on Saturday, volunteers should contact the individual park office in case changes to date, time or meeting location for the event occur.

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