As many of you likely know by now, the publication of The North Woods Call has resumed after a 1 ½ year suspension, following the passing of conservation legend Glen Sheppard. This news comes at an especially good time for those of us who have struggled in our attempt to at least partially fill this huge conservation news and information void. If one even quickly peruses the archived posts assembled on this site, it also becomes clear that the there is no shortage of issues for a reborn Call to take on.
Mike VanBuren has assumed the unenviable task of following “Shep” and Call founder, Marguerite Gahagan, who first began this publication in the early 1950’s. Mike’s journalism experience includes work as a writer, photographer and editor at northern Michigan papers which include the Antrim County News, Kalkaska Leader and the Kalkaskian.
Larger market experience includes the Kalamazoo Gazette and Flint Journal, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation where he served for two decades as Communication Manager and Video Producer. Mike is also a past recipient of Michigan United Conservation Clubs’ Ben East Award, presented for outstanding outdoor or conservation writing.
For the time being, plans are to electronically publish The North Woods Call on a biweekly basis. According to Mike, long-term goals include making the publication the primary source for Michigan conservation news and information.
Perhaps the biggest challenge ahead for the The Call “2.0” will be trying to reassemble the kinds of relationships that Glen had developed which served as the basis for much of the publication’s fine work. Sadly, these relationships were built during a time which no longer exists. This was a time when sufficient stability existed within our state and federal natural resource agencies to allow for their employees to develop trust in writers such as Glen Sheppard. This was also a time when these agency professionals had confidence in the security of their own respective careers, allowing them to speak about matters which conflicted with their mission without fear of retribution; and lastly, a time when fundamental changes in Michigan’s natural resource management were less frequent and far less draconian than those now being advanced almost daily in Michigan’s State legislature.
These facts, combined with the realization that Michigan’s sportsmen-conservation community has become even more fragmented and desensitized to the political takeover of Michigan’s natural resource management will make this hill an even steeper one to climb.
For these reasons, success for The Call will also partially depend on our ability to help provide support and content and promote this effort so that this voice can be heard by the broadest audience possible. It has become increasingly obvious that we are making little headway against this new prevailing wind by only talking to ourselves.
Success for The Call would also mean that some us could return to spending more time in Michigan’s forests, lakes and streams.
The cost for electronic subscriptions is $30. Printed copies sent through the U.S. Postal Service are $50 a year. More information is available at: www.mynorthwoodscall.com