Week of July 11, 2005






Lake Michigan





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Recording Artist Tracy Byrd Named National Hunting & Fishing Day Honorary Chairman

NEWTOWN—Country music star and avid outdoorsman Tracy Byrd will take the stage as this year’s honorary chairman of National Hunting & Fishing Day.


This year marks the 34th year of NHF Day, established by Congress in 1971 to recognize the sportsman’s critical role in conservation. The holiday is observed on the fourth Saturday of every September.


“We are thrilled to have a fellow sportsman like Tracy Byrd join us in celebrating our nation’s outdoor heritage,” said Doug Painter, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which has always served as the primary promoter of NHF Day nationwide.


To say that Byrd enjoys hunting and fishing is an understatement. The multi-platinum recording artist aspired to become a professional bass angler and host his own outdoor television show even before his music career took off.


Byrd’s love of the outdoors was passed on to him by his grandmother—or “Nana,” as he called her—Mavis Vaughn,

who passed away in 2001. “Nana started me fishing when I was 3 or 4 years old, and she took me hunting when I got a little older,” Byrd said. “She never was your average grandmother type. She bought me my first .410 shotgun when I was 6 years old. I deer hunted with her, did a little bit of duck hunting and quite a bit of small-game hunting. “I love the outdoors and appreciate the positive issues of wildlife management and I hope I pass every bit of it on to my kids,” Byrd added.


Byrd joins a long list of celebrities and sports figures who have served as NHF Day honorary chairmen and chairwomen since 1972, including baseball Hall-of-Famer Wade Boggs, country music star Travis Tritt, NASCAR driver Ward Burton, golfer Tom Watson, entertainer Louise Mandrell and the late Hall of Fame pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter.


National, regional, state and local organizations plan NHF Day events across the country. Many of these events are open houses at shooting ranges and sportsmen’s clubs that offer hands-on opportunities to try outdoor skills and learn about local conservation activities.  Many state wildlife agencies organize large regional outdoor fairs that attract thousands.

House Votes To Repeal D.C. Gun Restrictions

Some 50 Democrats, about a quarter of those in the House, voted 259-161 to pass a repeal of the law prohibiting ordinary persons from owning firearms in the District of Columbia. That's a wider margin of success than in the last Congress,

when the same bill passed but was not taken up by the Senate. This time, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, a Texan who was surprised to learn that she had been breaking the law for years, is among several pushing hard to pass the measure in the Senate.

Congress Poised to Build Bigger Locks On the Mississippi

Even as Barge Industry fades with less barge traffic

Washington, DC—  Congress is moving to spend billions of dollars to build bigger locks on the Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway despite a shrinking barge industry and insider predictions of a continuing contraction, according to corporate and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers records released last week


The bigger locks are supposed to speed transport by cutting lock congestion however barge traffic levels have been declining for more than a decade, barge companies are pulling underutilized barges off the river and congestion on the river is at modern historic lows.


Even as Congress advances a $2.4 billion to replace every lock on the Illinois Waterway and the Mississippi north of St. Louis, the country’s largest barge company, American Commercial Barge Lines, is retrenching. ACBL stated in its most recent quarterly filing with the Security and Exchange Commission that:


“During 2002 and through the beginning of 2003, we experienced a decline in barging rates, reduced shipping volumes and excess barging capacity…We believe that capacity is continuing to be removed from the barging sector. According to Informa Economics, Inc. a private grain forecast service, from 1998 to 2004, the industry fleet size was reduced by 2,036 barges, or an 8.8% reduction…This level represents the lowest number of barges in operation within our industry

since 1992. We believe capacity will continue to be taken out of the industry as older barges reach the end of their useful lives.”


This Upper Mississippi lock expansion proposal has a particularly checkered history. In 2000, Dr. Don Sweeney, then a Corps economist now a professor at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, blew the whistle on manipulation of cost-benefit analyses in a failed Corps management attempt to “justify” the project. Dr. Sweeney’s disclosures were confirmed by a Department of the Army investigation and later validated by three National Academies of Science reviews. The continuing controversy over the massive construction project is one of the major reasons that Congress has not passed an authorization bill for new Corps civil works projects since Dr. Sweeney went public about the lack of integrity in Corps planning.


Dr. Sweeney had advocated that the Corps explore lower cost, small-scale alternatives before committing to high-dollar cost lock expansion. The legislation moving through both houses of Congress pays only lip service to other alternatives while new lock construction races forward. The bills’ sponsors also resist any reforms that would require an independent review and confirmation of the validity of Corps studies.


“Propelled by the politics of pork, Congress can be counted on to pour billions into horse-and-buggy responses to space age problems,” Ruch concluded, noting that based on the Corps’ own numbers that the Upper Mississippi project will return less than a nickel on every federal dollar spent.

Plan Would Expand Ocean Fish Farming

The draft proposal of the National Offshore Aquaculture Act calls for development of regulations to permit farming in federal waters and the addition of species to farming, like cod, halibut and tuna, which are farmed in other countries. Fish farming, or aquaculture, is currently confined to state waters, closer to shore.


According to the draft, which intends to quintuple fish farming by 2025, ocean resources would be divided into privatized zones with renewable leases good for 10 years.


Critics are worried that NOAA, a branch of the Commerce Department, has not addressed the health and environmental problems of existing fish farms: pollution from wastes, chemicals and drugs; the impact of escapes on wild fish, including transference of disease and parasites; the dependence on wild fish, which are used as feed for the farmed fish; and the impact on traditional fishing.


In 2003, the Pew Oceans Commission, a private panel of

scientists, economists, fishermen and other experts financed by the Pew Charitable Trusts, said expansion of fish farms should cease until national standards and rules were in place for ecologically sustainable aquaculture.


"I believe aquaculture is incredibly important," said Dr. Jane Lubchenco, a professor of zoology at Oregon State University and member of the commission. "Now is the time to make sure it grows in a way that is good for human health and the environment. I would like to see the right kinds of checks and balances before we launch into this massive offshore experiment and it is too late."


Each year around two million farmed fish escape in the Atlantic.


Proponents of offshore fish farming believe that if the farms are placed in the deep ocean, strong currents could dilute waste, uneaten food and medications from the pens. Ocean pens would also put the farms out of the reach of state authorities.

Turbines deadly for birds

ALTAMONT, Calif. (AP) -- When it comes to wind power, few places are more productive -- or more deadly to birds -- than this gusty stretch of rolling hills between the San Francisco Bay area and the San Joaquin Valley. (Nothing is uglier either.  We were there two weeks ago, and were amazed at the miles of windmills allowed by these energy starved locals.)


At a time when demand is rising for greener energy sources, the Altamont Pass has become one of the nation's leading producers of wind power, generating enough pollution-free electricity annually to power 120,000 homes for a year. But the Altamont, where more than 5,000 windmills line the hilltops, also has become a death trap for thousands of migrating birds that get chopped up in rotating turbine blades as they fly through or hunt for prey.


An estimated 1,700 to 4,700 birds are killed each year in the 50-square-mile Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area. Of those fatalities, between 880 and 1,300 are federally protected raptors such as burrowing owls, red-tailed hawks and golden eagles, said a study released last year by the California

Energy Commission.


Environmentalists were once reluctant to take on an industry that provides an eco-friendly alternative to fossil fuels blamed for air pollution and global warming. But the bird deaths have prompted wildlife advocates to sue nine wind farm operators and appeal Alameda County's decisions to renew their operating permits without requiring measures to reduce bird collisions.


A county judge last week allowed the lawsuit to move forward; the case could go to trial by late this year. The Board of Supervisors is expected to decide next week whether to force the operators to adopt measures to curb bird deaths.


Industry officials point out that turbines are responsible for only a tiny portion of human-caused bird deaths, compared with buildings, plate-glass windows, automobiles, pesticides and house cats.  "There are a bunch of other sources that are killing hundreds or thousands of times as many birds as wind turbines," said Tom Gray, deputy executive director of the American Wind Energy Association.

Curbing eminent domain

Efforts are afoot in Washington D.C., specifically the U.S. House, where an unlikely coalition of Democrats and Republicans seek to discourage New London-style takings.


By a 231-189 vote, the House last week approved legislation that would deny federal funds from the Depts. of Transportation, Treasury and HUD to local or state governments using eminent-domain to force the sale of property for a for-profit venture. Sponsored by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, its cosponsors include some of the bluest of blue-state Democratic liberals, such as Waters of California and Conyers of Michigan.


House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas and Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri promise a similar measure to include all federal funding. DeLay calls the Kelo decision "horrible" and vows that Congress will checkmate the judiciary. In the

Senate, John Cornyn, Texas Republican, introduced a measure to curb eminent-domain abuse with Bill Nelson of Florida, a Democrat, and Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a Republican, as cosponsors. Sen. Orrin Hatch, Utah Republican, promises help.


These efforts to recalibrate eminent-domain law come not a moment too soon. A 2003 study by the Institute for Justice's Castle Coalition, a private-property group pushing correctives to Kelo, found more than 10,000 uses or threats of use of eminent-domain for private parties in the five-year period ending Dec. 31, 2002. Eminent-domain abuse is widespread.


To prove their point is a push by a citizens' group to seize the Weare, N. H., home of Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter, author of the Kelo opinion, for a development project to be called the "Lost Liberty Hotel." The hotel would include a museum on "the loss of freedom in America." A spokesman insists "this is not a prank." Maybe not.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for July 8, 2005

Lake Level Conditions:

Lake Superior is currently 2 inches above July 8, 2004’s water level, while the remaining lakes are 3 to 7 inches below the levels of July 8, 2004.  The spring of 2004 was significantly wetter than the spring of 2005.  Dry conditions this spring are the main reason that water levels are lower than last year.   Looking ahead, Lake Superior is expected to rise an inch over the next month, while Lake Michigan-Huron will remain steady over the next month. Lake Superior will be similar to the summer of 2004 and Lake Michigan-Huron is expected to be lower this summer than last.   Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are expected to fall 3 to 4 inches over the next month and this summer’s levels are forecasted to be lower than 2004. See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.


Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is projected to be significantly above average during the month of July.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are anticipated to be below average during July.  Flows in the Niagara River are expected to be near average while St. Lawrence River flows should be below average in July.



Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by

changing water levels.  Users of the St. Marys River should be aware that regulated flows will be close to 40% higher during July than they were in June.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels Data Summary





St. Clair



Expected water level for 7/8 in ft






Chart datum, in ft






Diff from chart datum, in inches






Diff from last month, in inches






Diff from last year in inches








Canadian Gun registry is no lifesaver

National Post,  July 4, 2005

The gun controls implemented by the (Canadian) federal Liberal government in 1995 appear to have had little if any effect on gun-related deaths, despite a $1.3-billion price tag and the government's extravagant claims that the measures would produce "a culture of safety" and dramatically reduce crime.


Last fall, Statistics Canada declared that "the specific impact of the firearms program or the firearms registry" on Canada's declining homicide rate could not "be isolated from that of other factors." On Tuesday, following the release of her paper, Deaths Involving Firearms: 1979 to 2002, StatsCan researcher Kathryn Wilkins explained, "there have been gun-control laws for most of this last century, of one sort or another," so it is difficult to identify a single cause of Canada's shrinking rate of firearms deaths (a category that includes murders, suicides and accidents).


The decline in hunting as a recreational activity might explain some of the drop, as may urbanization, or the declining percentage of the population under 25 -- typically the most violent segment. The controls implemented by Brian Mulroney's government in 1991, following the Ecole Polytechnique massacre of 14 female engineering students -- involving better screening of potential owners and stronger safe-storage regulations -- seem also to have accelerated the decline in firearms deaths slightly beyond the decline seen in the 1980s.


What is remarkable, however, is that the Liberals' 1995 controls -- requiring all owners and guns to be licensed --

seem to have had no discernable impact. Following implementation of those regulations, firearms deaths simply continued at the rate of decline begun in 1991.


There are other indications of the most recent controls' uselessness. "In each year," Ms. Wilkins writes, "about four-fifths of all firearms-related deaths were suicides." And while in the past decade and a half firearms suicides have been cut in half, the overall rate of suicides has dropped just 15%, all of which is likely explicable by the ageing Canadian population. (Nearly every Western country has experienced a similar decline in suicides in cases where the average age of its citizens has risen.) While firearms suicides went from 4.5 per 100,000 population in 1979 to 2.0 in 2002, "suicide by suffocation/hanging ... rose from 3 to 5 deaths per 100,000." While gun controls may have helped reduce the number of firearms suicides, they did not lower the overall rate of suicides, meaning, at best, controls merely encouraged troubled Canadians to find other methods for taking their own lives.


Also, while "the rate of homicides involving a firearm fell from 0.8 deaths per 100,000 in the early 1980s to 0.4 in 2002 ... the share of homicides in which a firearm was used remained fairly stable." In other words, firearms murders may have gone down during the years in which Ottawa has sought to impose greater controls on guns, but they have declined by no more than murders with bats, knives, poisons and other uncontrolled weapons. And as Ms. Wilkins and others have pointed out, "handguns accounted for two-thirds of firearm homicides in 2002, up from about one-half during the 1990s," and handguns have been subject to mandatory registration since 1934.


Shooters from 15 States Converge on ESPN Great Outdoor Games

Pennsylvania, Texas Top List of Rifle, Shotgun Competitors

NEWTOWN, Conn.—Twenty-nine top rifle and shotgun shooters from 15 different states will converge on Orlando this weekend, where ESPN is staging its 6th annual Great Outdoor Games.


Competition gets underway Friday at Tenoroc Shooting Sports and Training Facility. The Games, featuring target as well

timber sports, ATV racing and sporting dog events, will be taped for airing on ESPN and ABC Sports July 13-17. For more information, visit www.greatoutdoorgames.com


With seven competitors in rifle and shotgun events, Pennsylvania dominates the field of marksmen. Texas follows with five. Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina are the only other states with more than one shooter in the high-profile Games, which reached 35 million viewers last year.

Airboater relies On McMurdo Fastfind Plus PLB for rescue in the Everglades  

DELRAY BEACH, Fla.  6/15/05 — The Florida Everglades is one of the most remote areas in the southern United States. The entire Everglades system covers almost 4,000 square miles of swamps, saw grass, palms, pine and mangrove forests that are home to snakes, alligators and mosquitoes.  As one hapless airboat operator found out, it’s not a great place to be stranded or try to walk out to the nearest road.


Lawton Mullin, 62, from Naples, Fla., is an experienced outdoorsman, former Green Beret and member of the Special Forces. In the last year, he fell in love with airboating in the Everglades. With the Everglades National Park literally in his backyard, he began to explore the park’s many water trails and backcountry areas.  While exploring the more remote areas of the park, he soon realized the need for a way to communicate in the event of an emergency. From experience he knew that his marine radio and cell phone were typically out of range.  


Mullin was alone on his airboat following a trail he had used months before. The trail wound through a tunnel of cypress trees for about ¾ of a mile before hitting open water.  What he didn’t realize is that water levels in the Everglades are lowest in May; just before the summer rains begin. As he traveled through the cypress tunnel, he was running out of water. With no room to turn around and reverse not an option, he pressed on until he landed high and dry on a small island.


 “I was really stuck and with about an hour of daylight left, I worked to get the boat free, but it was too heavy to move,” Mullin explains. “I could see that there were alligators all around me and knew the safest place was in the boat. At that point, I decided to activate my PLB and hope for the best.”


Moments after activating his Fastfind, the signal was received by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) at Langley Air Force Base, VA. Mullin had diligently registered his PLB in the AFRCC database, and the Air Force was able to

contact both his daughter in Chicago and his wife at home in Naples. They confirmed that Mullin was out in the Everglades in his airboat, so a search was begun.


The good news for both the U.S. Coast Guard and Mullin was that the rescue helicopter had his exact position & location coordinates. These were transmitted by his Fastfind Plus with its onboard GPS and resulted in a rescue helicopter finding Mullin within three hours of being stranded.  To help facilitate the rescue, the AFRCC also contacted the local Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission and they sent out an officer in another airboat. The officer and several of Mullins’ friends were able to get within 100 yards of his position by airboat and then waded in to lead him out.


“I had enough emergency gear to spend a few days on my airboat, but finding me in that tunnel of cypress trees would be like finding a needle in a haystack,” says Mullins. “Without my Fastfind Plus, it would have been a long wait in the swamp.”


When activated in an emergency, the Fastfind Plus transmits a satellite distress signal to worldwide geostationary COSPAS-SARSAT satellites. The signal is then routed through the AFRCC to the nearest search and rescue authority. With its built-in GPS, the Fastfind Plus is totally self-contained and eliminates the need for any external plug-in connections or additional add-on equipment. The GPS data can provide search and rescue personnel with LAT/LON information. To further assist rescue personnel, the Fastfind Plus transmits a 121.5 MHz homing frequency. It also transmits its unique ID number, which can be matched to the user through registration.


For more information visit McMurdo’s website at www.mcmpw.com . Or contact the company at: McMurdo Pains Wessex, Inc. 200 Congress Park Drive, Suite 102, Delray Beach, FL 33445. Ph: 800-576-2605. Fax: 561-819-2650


Lake Michigan

Romano Memorial Tournament

Anglers are invited to participate in the tenth annual Sam Romano Lake Michigan Fishing Tournament the morning of July 21 out of the Winthrop Harbor Yacht Club at North Point Marina in Lake County.  The tournament is a benefit for the Illinois Conservation Foundation’s youth fishing, hunting and

other outdoor recreation programs.  The cost is $1,000 for each five-person boat (or $200 for an individual angler).  The cost includes a chartered fishing experience on Lake Michigan, breakfast, lunch and awards.  For more information, call 217/785-5091 or register via the Illinois Conservation Foundation web site at www.ilcf.org.


IDNR Announces Free Opportunity to Learn Shooting Sports August 27-28

Wingshooting Clinic Geared Toward Women, Youth

Fisher, IL—The Illinois DNR is inviting women and young people to attend an event where they can learn recreational shooting with some of the top experts in the nation.  The fourth annual Capel Wing Shooting Clinic will be held Saturday, August 27th and Sunday August 28th at Camp Cender Conservation Camp in Champaign County.


There is no charge for the workshops.  All supplies are provided, including shotguns and ammunition, clay targets, traps, eye and ear protection, and education materials.  Lunch is also supplied free of charge.  The professional wing shooting teachers are certified National Sporting Clays Association wing shooting instructors.


This clinic is hands on and includes extensive live fire at clay targets.  There will also be a short classroom session, each day on basic firearm safety and handling, firearm nomenclature, and hunter safety, which will be presented by an IDNR Certified Volunteer Hunter Safety Instructor. This is basic classroom hunter safety and does not satisfy the Illinois

Hunter Education Requirement.  Certification in Hunter Safety is not required to attend this clinic.


Illinois is expected to become a mecca for those interested in shooting sports as the World Shooting and Recreational Complex opens in 2006. The unique site is being developed under the leadership of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich.  The complex will include 100 trap fields, two sporting clay courses, skeet, a cowboy action shooting corral, championship 3-d archery course, as well as camp sites and a multi-use recreational facility.


Advance registration for the Fourth Annual Capel Wing Shooting Clinic is recommended, as space is limited to 24 students per session.  Young people interested in participating must be at least 11 years old.  The clinic will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.  Registration is from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. both days.  To make a reservation call the IDNR Region 3 Office at 217/935-6860, between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and ask for Jim Capel or Debbie Combs. Camp Center is located approximately 3 miles north of Fisher in Champaign County.


New Indiana Hunting and Trapping Guide now available

Guide includes applications for reserved hunts

Indiana's 2005-06 Hunting and Trapping Guide is now available at many sporting goods shops, retail stores and DNR properties throughout the state.  The free guide includes information on hunting and trapping season dates and regulations, as well as applications for reserved hunts.


The first reserved hunt application deadline is Aug. 3 for dove

hunts on DNR properties. The reserved dove hunts are held each year starting the first two days of the mourning dove season, typically Sept. 1-2. Official dove season dates are set in late summer.


To request a copy of Indiana's 2005-2006 Hunting and Trapping Guide, send your mailing address to:

[email protected]    Or call 317-232-4080.

Indiana's '05-'06 Hunting/Trapping Regs: http://www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/hunt/season2.htm


Wolf Lake Hatchery Hosts Annual Fish Festival July 16-17

"Fish on!" These exciting and joyful words will reverberate through the grounds of the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery, July 16-17, as dozens of youngsters catch a steelhead trout or even a muskie from the half-acre show pond. It's all part of the hatchery's 6th Annual Fish Festival.


Admission is free. The festival, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, features tours of the hatchery, catch-and-release fishing (for kids 5-16 only), guided nature hikes, live music, food and refreshments, and more.


During their tour of the hatchery, which begins every 20 minutes, visitors will learn how the DNR uses its fish production program to hatch, rear and transport fish required for the management of both Great Lakes and inland fisheries. Species produced at this facility include walleye, northern pike, muskellunge, steelhead trout, lake sturgeon (the only facility to rear this species) and chinook salmon. 


In addition to the tours and catch-and-release fishing for kids,

there will be free lessons on baiting a hook, tying knots, fly casting and fly tying. Inside the visitor center, participants will be able to go virtual fishing to experience the thrill of landing a largemouth bass, lake trout or chinook salmon. Other activities include displays by the DNR Fisheries Division and presentations by several local conservation organizations, as well as crafts and other activities for children.


The Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery Visitor Center is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, closed Mondays. Guided tours of the fish hatchery are offered Tuesday-Saturday at 10 and 11 a.m. and 1, 2 and 3 p.m., and Sunday at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. The catch-and-release fishing program for youth continues each Saturday morning through August. Times are at 10, 11 and noon. Preregistration is required.


The center is located in Mattawan, at Fish Hatchery Road and M-43, six miles west of the junction of M-43 and US-131. For more information about events and programs, contact Shana McMillan at (269) 668-2876.

Michigan Wolf Population Continues to Grow

Department of Natural Resources officials announced results of the most recent wolf survey, which indicates at least 405 wolves are now roaming Michigan's Upper Peninsula, a 13 % increase from the 360 animals counted in 2004.  The survey was conducted during the winter months when wolf numbers are at their lowest.


Wolves dispersing from Canada, Minnesota and Wisconsin were occasionally present in the UP during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Reestablishment of a resident population appears to have begun in 1989 when three animals established a territory in the western UP. Since 1989, the wolf population has increased every year except 1997, when a small population decline was noted.


The DNR encourages citizens to report any wolf sightings.

Individuals who see a wolf, find a wolf track, or discover other evidence of a wolf can contact any DNR office to obtain a wolf observation report form. The form and more information also can be found on the DNR web site, www.michigan.gov/dnr .


In the event of wolf depredation on livestock or domestic pets or other wolf-related problems, please call the Report All Poaching (RAP) line at 800-292-7800.  This number is available 24 hours a day and operators are instructed to route the call to the proper personnel.


The public can provide wolf comments by e-mail at [email protected]  or by U.S. Mail at DNR Wildlife Division, Attn: Endangered Species Coordinator, PO Box 30444, Lansing, MI 48909.


Great Lakes Folk Festival

Demonstrations by boat Great Lakes workers on knot tying, fly fishing, how to sail, and much more are combined at the Great Lakes Folk Festival by the Michigan State University Museum.  Fun and free for all ages, the festival takes place August 12-14 in downtown East Lansing.  See www.greatlakesfolkfest.net for more information.


The half-mile festival site in downtown East Lansing showcases the country's rich cultural heritage through performances and living museum exhibitions.   Activities

include a Taste of Traditions Food Court, with authentic regional and ethnic food, Folk Arts Marketplace with hand-made goods, and Children's Folk Activities area with hands-on activities.  The festival is developed by MSU Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Program, the state's center for research, documentation, preservation and sharing of folk arts and life.


Admission to the festival is free.  Festival hours are: Friday, Aug. 12, 6 - 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 13, 12 noon - 10:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 14, 12 noon - 6 p.m.


Tribe sues to acquire state land on North Bass

Oklahoma Ottawas seek fishing rights too

The Oklahoma-based Ottawa tribe whose ancestral roots lie in northwest Ohio last week filed the first of two lawsuits in federal court related to its claim to state-owned land on North Bass Island in Lake Erie.


The tribe claims a treaty it made with the federal government 200 years ago provides the tribe with unrestricted fishing and hunting rights. The tribe is seeking recognition from the state for those rights that would allow it to establish a commercial fishery on North Bass Island.  Richard Rogovin, the Columbus attorney who filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court, said a second lawsuit would be filed later this year in an attempt to pursue the tribe's property rights to about 300 acres on the northern half of the island.


The tribe claims the land was not among property that was relinquished to the federal government with the signing of the Treaty of Fort Industry on July 4, 1805, and that the Ottawas retained ownership of the property when the Canadian border was moved north of the island in 1822.   The tribe numbers about 2,000 nationally.

The property in question was purchased by the state in 2003 for $17 million from Cleveland's Paramount Distillers and so far is undeveloped. Mr. Rogovin said the tribe was not making a claim to any private property on the island.


Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro said he doesn't see any merit in the Ottawas' claims, and predicted the suit likely would be rejected because there was no evidence that the Ottawas inhabited or controlled the island. The attorney general cited a recent ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit of Court of Appeals that overturned a $247 million judgment to Indian tribes that claimed New York state obtained land illegally.


If successful in obtaining fishing rights, the tribe could begin gill-net fishing in Lake Erie, an operation that could produce 2,000 tons of fish annually. The lawsuit was the second claim made by a Native American tribe in federal court this week.  The Eastern Shawnee tribe, which also is based in Oklahoma, sued the state in federal court in Toledo to seek recognition of ownership of lands in southern Ohio. The lawsuit is seen as an attempt to force negotiations over Indian casinos.

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