Outdoor sports and gym class

Notes from the North Woods

If legislation is approved, NY high school students may soon be enjoying gym classes in the wild.

If legislation is approved, NY high school students may soon be enjoying gym classes in the wild. Photo by Joe Hackett.

As debate over gun control continues to rage across the country, it is interesting to note two proposed bills that were introduced in the New York State Assembly and Senate last year.

The proposed measures may actually offer some of the wisest, and least controversial methods available to address the issue of gun control in NY State. If enacted, the legislation may actually provide a proactive opportunity, rather than the reactive measures, which have created so much controversy across the state in recent days.

The legislation includes, Assembly bill, A4345, sponsored by Assemblyman Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, and the Senate version, S4933 sponsored by Sen. John Bonacic, R-Mt. Hope. If approved, it would require the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to “develop an educational program for grades 9 through 12, …with information necessary for implementing an educational program encompassing outdoor opportunities for recreational and physical education purposes.”

Obviously, there are at least two politicians who believe there should be more to gym class than just basketball, baseball and football.

The measure, which is focused on high school physical education courses, has drawn wide support from the New York State Conservation Council.

If enacted, the legislation would provide school districts with a NYS Department of Education, approved high school curriculum centered on the traditional pursuits of hunting and fishing for use in physical education courses.

In many school districts, activities such as archery, Nordic skiing, mountain biking, flyfishing and orienteering are no longer part of gym class. Rather, these activities are offered as part of Health Class.

If the current legislation is enacted, students in New York schools would have and opportunity to learn about the various hunting and fishing seasons and the species that could be sought, and the numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation and exercise.

Additionally, students would learn about the history and benefits of hunting and fishing in the development of New York State.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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