The GOOD stories of 2006

1.) U.S. impact of outdoor recreation: $730 billion
By Joanne Kelley
Scripps Howard News Service — Sept. 19, 2006

From birdwatchers to mountain bikers, the active set accounts for almost $300 billion in annual retail sales and contributes more than twice that to the U.S. economy, according to a Boulder, Colo.-based trade group.

Outdoor recreationists shell out $46 billion a year on the gear they need to hit the woods, the rivers and the slopes, according to a recent report by the Outdoor Industry Foundation.

But they spend five times that much ($243 billion) on all the extras — food, lodging, entertainment and transportation.

2.) World-record bass boated in California

"Chaos has broken out."

Well, what do you expect when you notify the media that you boated a potential world-record bass?

That was the story at the home of Mac Weakley, who early this morning caught a mammoth largemouth on tiny Dixon Lake in southern California that he and his longtime fishing partners Mike Winn and Jed Dickerson weighed out at 25.1 pounds on a hand-held digital scale.

If that weight stands up it would shatter what is considered to be the granddaddy of angling records — the 22¼-pound largemouth bass taken in 1932 at Georgia's Montgomery Lake by George Washington Perry.

3.) Private landowners save 37 million U.S. acres
Associated Press — Dec. 1, 2006

WASHINGTON — Private U.S. landowners have set aside land comparable in acreage to Georgia for conservation purposes.

A new tally of U.S. private land conservation efforts finds a boom in the number of smaller, local land trusts, particularly in the West, seeking to compensate for the 2 million acres of farms, forests and open spaces developed nationally each year.

Nature areas, wildlife habitat, open spaces, waterways, wetlands and other lands conserved through private means rose to 37 million acres — roughly the size of Georgia — from the 24 million acres conserved as of 2000, the Land Trust Alliance said Thursday.

The nonprofit charitable group attributed the trend to the rising popularity of private land trusts, towns wanting to preserve their quality of life, state and local bond initiatives and people concerned about sprawl and unplanned development.