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IA – OPINION – An outdoor year to remember … and forget

Looking back at 2020, which thankfully is almost over, it turned out to be a banner year for outdoor activities. You could see it coming in mid-March when the coronavirus pandemic began shutting down travel, movies, concerts, bars, restaurants, athletic events and most other traditional recreational outlets. Seeking relief from masks and social distancing, Iowans went outdoors in record numbers to fish, hunt, paddle, hike, bike, camp, garden and breathe virus-free air. In the serenity of nature, most of us also found at least temporary respite from the ever-mounting fear and anxiety engendered by the virus and the seemingly endless barrage of bad news about it. Iowans’ unanticipated interest in the outdoors outstripped supplies of boats, tackle, guns, ammunition, garden seed, canning supplies and other outdoor gear. It was further reflected in record sales of hunting and fishing licenses. In Iowa, sales of resident fishing licenses increased 33 percent from 195,509 in 2019 to 260,050 in 2020, while resident hunting license sales increased 29.7 percent from 240,530 to 312,050. I spent more time than ever in my 1/3-acre vegetable garden, which rewarded my increased effort with exercise, sunlight, fresh air, solitude and bushels of wholesome food. The extra time allowed me to finally accomplish what has long been a nominal goal — zero weed tolerance (ZWT).  [full article]

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