Letters for 10-02-2014

Let Local Banks Help Pay Tuition
For generations, it was embossed on the bottom of Louisiana license plates:
Sportsmanís Paradise
A decade or so ago, it disappeared from the plates that were then literally hammered out at Angola, but the phrase didnít die. The Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism kept it in play by assigning it as the identifier forthe northeast region of the state.
And itís quite likely nowhere in the region more closely exemplifies the diversity of outdoor activities available to residents and visitors than Union Parish.
Start with the 16,000-acre lake in its center, surrounded by both bottomland hardwood and piney forests that provide plenteous opportunities to hunt, fish or simply explore and enjoy.
As much as we might like to keep the secret to ourselves, itís difficult. Within the next few months, nationally televised fishing shows will focus on Lake DíArbonne. Hunting season for deer, squirrel and rabbit open this month. In the spring, turkeys will the focus.
The parish Ė and really the region Ė were blessed beyond measure when the state stepped in five years ago with a plan to preserve the poultry industry. As much as everyone would like to see something similar in the future, the likelihood of another major employer coming to Union Parish, bringing hundreds of jobs in tow, isnít very likely.
What weíre left with is using the resources we have as a way to attract visitors and the tax dollars they bring to the parish. The creation of the DíArbonne Cultural District in the town of Farmerville is one way that can happen.
But the greatest opportunity Union Parish has to improve its economy is to promote the abundant natural resources that we enjoy.
We are encouraged by steps taken by both the Union Parish Chamber of Commerce and Union Tourist Commission to use DíArbonne as a catalyst to bring additional visitors to the area.
And we are also encouraged by the chamberís plans to promote hunting opportunities to bring additional visitors Ė and more tax dollars Ė to the parish. Plans for a hunterís banquet and outdoor exposition scheduled for early next year are where the seeds for the effort to bring more people to Union Parish for outdoors opportunities will be planted.
Though man helped with the creation of DíArbonne, God has richly blessed the parish with abundant habitat and wildlife to support the economy for many years to come.
Letís use it wisely for that purpose, because any tax dollars someone brings into Union Parish are less that locals have to pay in the future.