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New Critical Habitat moose plate inspires

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opinion Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Ya gotta love Minnesota’s latest designer license plate that features an image of the state’s iconic moose. The plate is the eighth in a series of Critical Habitat license plates offered by the state, with fees from purchases going to buy conservation land and for wildlife research.

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The fee for motorists who want the special plate is $30 above the normal yearly license plate fee. If past habitat plates are any guide, the moose plate will be a hit among Minnesotans, and lot of money for the threatened moose population will be raised.

Moose numbers are dwindling. Reasons appear to be many, including habitat degradation, parasites, predators and disease. No hunt will be conducted this year. Money raised from the license plate fees will be applied to ongoing research into the moose population decline, including scientific examination of when, where and why they are dying off.

The Critical Habitat license plate option is a wonderful program that over its life has raised more than $25 million for research, and for purchases of wildlife lands. It reflects a mature attitude among Minnesotans regarding the value of conservation, environment and protection of critical lands and waters – a quality some states (can you say North Dakota?) have yet to embrace.

The moose art on the plate is from the brush of renowned Minnesota wildlife artist Les Kouba. He’s one of the best, and his body of work is the story of conservation of natural resources in the state.

Purchase of the moose plate is voluntary. It’s not a mandated additional fee. Minnesota boasts a nation-leading outdoor ethic, so it’s a certainty Minnesotans will step up to help the majestic moose.

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