Friday, May 22, 2009

The Memorial Day Weekend: Boom Or Bust?

The Memorial Day weekend could give us our first clue whether the current state economy will make people head north for the weekend. Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s seems to think it might happen but many people aren’t quite as sure.

With so many people out of work, and a high percentage of them trying unsuccessfully to find a paycheck, it begs the question: will anglers pay $50-80 to fill up their car tank, and then spend that much or more to fill up their boat as anglers greet what may or may not be a profitable tourist season.

Personally, there weren’t many people during the early steelhead season, the regular trout opener, the turkey season or the Upper Peninsula walleye opener. I’ve seen very few anglers since the ice went out except for some locals who are fishing near home.

Where are the tourists that once set cash registers ringling? Where are those people who buy live bait to fish in area lakes and streams? Will Michigan’s northern state parks be filled?

The last question is certain to be a resounding “no.” Many campsites around the state have been closed due to budget cuts.

I’m an optimist but it’s hard to see how tourism, especially anglers, will be here in large numbers. It’s just too expensive to travel very far to fish in today’s economic meltdown.

Everything with the exception of bass in Lake St. Clair and a few others will be open to anglers this weekend. Some locals will fish near their home, and I suspect that will be true for most downstate anglers. I see many anglers fishing within 30 miles of home, and even closer. I don’t expect many people will go ripping around the lake at high speed this summer.

Most may stay home, and save the high price of gasoline. Think about it: gas is flirting with $2.50 per gallon now, cheaper than last year at this time, and many people (including me) drives an older gas guzzling SUV. I can get 18-20 mpg if I drive sensibly, which I do, but others with big towing vehicles don’t do as well.

People can complain all they want, but I see more and more people driving small cars with out-of-the-area plates on them, and they drive as if they are imitating a race car driver. They roar past my Jimmy like I’m standing still. The smaller cars, in my opinion, are death traps and I don’t care to play in that sandbox.

Michigan’s economy under the current administration is a colossal mess. Our DNR, once the pride of this state and the nation, is nearly bankrupt along with the rest of the state government, and it seems to be sinking fast.

Do Michigan citizens and out-of-state visitors deserve a bankrupt state economy, high fuel costs and a rising unemployment rate? Do those of us who have worked long years deserve to have their pensions cut as businesses move out of state or go belly-up, even with a bail-out program? Do politicians need to make as much money as they do while many others hang on the edge of choosing between costly prescriptions or food on the table?

The answer to these questions is blowing on the wind. Look at the Dow Jones average, which was, a year ago, at or very near its highest point in recent history. Then came the crash and other woes. How is Michigan benefitting from the mess we have? The true answer is we aren’t! We continue to fall behind even as prices continue to rise.

We live in one of the most beautiful states in the nation, and our economy is one of the worst in the nation. How many jobs have been lost, in and around Traverse City alone, because businesses pulled the plug and moved elsewhere.

Where else in this nation can we go where a major natural resource such as water continues to be sucked out of the ground to fill plastic water bottles. The pittance that is paid for that water is shameful. What, pray tell, will happen when Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas decide they want their share of the Great Lakes? Should we pipe it to them?

I’m an old curmudgeon, and damn proud of it, but it’s very difficult for me to follow the financial gymnastics of our state and federal governments. How can the common man learn anything about budgeting their money or fiscal responsibility when this state and nation can’t budget their money.

Me, I feel sorry for our natural resources and those businesses that once relied on anglers and hunters to make a living. If I was a legislator in this state, I’d be ashamed of myself for allowing this mess to happen.

I believe if this weekend is a bust, it would be easy to assume the rest of the summer may follow suit. And for those who live in this state, that will be another crushing blow to our battered economy.

Where will it end? It may end when citizens learn to demand more from their legislators than they’ve been getting.

Posted by Dave Richey on 05/22 at 05:03 PM
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The Memorial Day Weekend: Boom Or Bust?

image

The Memorial Day weekend could give us our first clue whether the current state economy will make people head north for the weekend. Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s seems to think it might happen but many people aren’t quite as sure.

With so many people out of work, and a high percentage of them trying unsuccessfully to find a paycheck, it begs the question: will anglers pay $50-80 to fill up their car tank, and then spend that much or more to fill up their boat as anglers greet what may or may not be a profitable tourist season.

Personally, there weren’t many people during the early steelhead season, the regular trout opener, the turkey season or the Upper Peninsula walleye opener. I’ve seen very few anglers since the ice went out except for some locals who are fishing near home.

Where are the tourists that once set cash registers ringling? Where are those people who buy live bait to fish in area lakes and streams? Will Michigan’s northern state parks be filled?

The last question is certain to be a resounding “no.” Many campsites around the state have been closed due to budget cuts.

I’m an optimist but it’s hard to see how tourism, especially anglers, will be here in large numbers. It’s just too expensive to travel very far to fish in today’s economic meltdown.

Everything with the exception of bass in Lake St. Clair and a few others will be open to anglers this weekend. Some locals will fish near their home, and I suspect that will be true for most downstate anglers. I see many anglers fishing within 30 miles of home, and even closer. I don’t expect many people will go ripping around the lake at high speed this summer.

Most may stay home, and save the high price of gasoline. Think about it: gas is flirting with $2.50 per gallon now, cheaper than last year at this time, and many people (including me) drives an older gas guzzling SUV. I can get 18-20 mpg if I drive sensibly, which I do, but others with big towing vehicles don’t do as well.

People can complain all they want, but I see more and more people driving small cars with out-of-the-area plates on them, and they drive as if they are imitating a race car driver. They roar past my Jimmy like I’m standing still. The smaller cars, in my opinion, are death traps and I don’t care to play in that sandbox.

Michigan’s economy under the current administration is a colossal mess. Our DNR, once the pride of this state and the nation, is nearly bankrupt along with the rest of the state government, and it seems to be sinking fast.

Do Michigan citizens and out-of-state visitors deserve a bankrupt state economy, high fuel costs and a rising unemployment rate? Do those of us who have worked long years deserve to have their pensions cut as businesses move out of state or go belly-up, even with a bail-out program? Do politicians need to make as much money as they do while many others hang on the edge of choosing between costly prescriptions or food on the table?

The answer to these questions is blowing on the wind. Look at the Dow Jones average, which was, a year ago, at or very near its highest point in recent history. Then came the crash and other woes. How is Michigan benefitting from the mess we have? The true answer is we aren’t! We continue to fall behind even as prices continue to rise.

We live in one of the most beautiful states in the nation, and our economy is one of the worst in the nation. How many jobs have been lost, in and around Traverse City alone, because businesses pulled the plug and moved elsewhere.

Where else in this nation can we go where a major natural resource such as water continues to be sucked out of the ground to fill plastic water bottles. The pittance that is paid for that water is shameful. What, pray tell, will happen when Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas decide they want their share of the Great Lakes? Should we pipe it to them?

I’m an old curmudgeon, and damn proud of it, but it’s very difficult for me to follow the financial gymnastics of our state and federal governments. How can the common man learn anything about budgeting their money or fiscal responsibility when this state and nation can’t budget their money.

Me, I feel sorry for our natural resources and those businesses that once relied on anglers and hunters to make a living. If I was a legislator in this state, I’d be ashamed of myself for allowing this mess to happen.

I believe if this weekend is a bust, it would be easy to assume the rest of the summer may follow suit. And for those who live in this state, that will be another crushing blow to our battered economy.

Where will it end? It may end when citizens learn to demand more from their legislators than they’ve been getting.

Posted by Dave Richey on 05/22 at 05:03 PM
{links] TrackbacksPermalink
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