WELCOME TO THE NEW YEAR. In fact, welcome to a new decade.
Before proceeding, we acknowledge that the year 2020 is considered to be part of the Teens decade by calendar experts—who also lectured everybody about observing the year 2000 as the new Century and Millennium, when according to those same experts, a decade technically should start with the first year, i.e., 2001, 2011, 2021.
So what. Twenty-Twenty sounds like it belongs in the Twenties, and so we hereby officially declare the Twenties to have begun.
We have high hopes for this new decade. Perhaps it will be known to future generations as “The Roaring Twenties 2.0.” If so, let’s hope it doesn’t have as “depressing” a finish as last century’s Twenties decade. But there is no profit in dwelling on past failings, so we resolve to trudge ahead with an optimistic vision of this century’s Twenties.
There will be challenges, for sure. In our business, still mainly print publishing, the challenges remain glaring—led by the decline in how seriously the world takes our legacy method of information delivery via paper, ink and the U.S. Postal Service.
Fortunately, we’re up to that challenge and have long considered TEXAS FISH & GAME as not just a print product but as a multi-channel outdoors information source. Between our now quarter-century-old website, our growing daily email newsletter (67,000-plus subscribers), our weekly podcasts, and the robust digital versions of our monthly issues, we have fully embraced the digital frontier of information delivery and consumption.
We also understand the need to keep evolving. Change is inevitable if you plan to survive, and we have a number of changes in store for the coming year. For one, we’re reformatting our Hotspots section into “The Fish & Game Forecast Center,” and, starting this issue, will begin including hunting in the coverage of regional outdoors opportunities. More changes to that section will follow in coming issues, as will other new and exciting additions and changes throughout our print and digital incarnations.
We also see other challenges that pose even broader threats—not just to those of us who make our living promoting the outdoors, but to the very ability of all of us to enjoy the outdoors.
Texas, blessed as it is with vast resources and a bounty of wildlife, is under an unrelenting assault by population growth and its resulting surge in construction and development. This poses an imminent and seemingly unstoppable threat to both habitat and access to wildlife and outdoors sporting activities. As large swaths of East Texas forests, Central Texas hillsides, North Texas grasslands and Coastal marshes fall under the blades of bulldozers and even West and South Texas ranchlands become less and less accessible, the average sportsman is under constant threat of being edged out of their own participation in the sports they love. Fighting off this threat will take a constant and vigilant effort every bit as strong as the threat itself. If any group is up to that fight, it is Texas hunters and anglers.
One of the greatest threats is virtually invisible. That is the threat posed by loss of interest, or interest in competing activities that keep us off the water or out of the field. Youth are especially vulnerable to this threat. The only defense against this threat is a strong offense. Make every effort to get out there. Every chance you get, choose the outdoors over those other leisure choices, and make every effort to share your experience with the young members of your family or community.
There are plenty of signs of optimism, if you look for them. As we have noted, our involvement in Texas high school Ag and FFA programs has proven that there is a powerful drive among Texas teens to be a part of the outdoors. High school and collegiate bass tournaments continue to skyrocket in participation and popularity. These are just two examples of why hope for the future is a winning bet.
Above all, we are here in Texas. The land and its people are unique in the world. No mere state, Texas is a place where the impossible is just another task on the to-do list. Challenge is what gets us out of bed every morning. Threats don’t intimidate Texans. They inspire us.
Twenty-Twenty, here we come.