'Conservation legacy' honored

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Expected parameter 1 to be an array, bool given in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property 'settings' of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Warning: array_merge(): Expected parameter 1 to be an array, bool given in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in include() (line 24 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/templates/simpleads_ajax_call.tpl.php).

The Crawford County Land Conservation Committee chose to give out a rare Conservation Legacy Award. Bill Howe was the publisher of the Courier Press newspaper in Prairie du Chien, and has been a lifelong conservation advocate. He is pictured with daughter-in-law Joan Howe.

Retired Courier Press newspaper publisher, and lifelong Crawford County resident Bill Howe received the Conservation Legacy Award. The award was presented at the Crawford County Conservation Awards ceremony held Wednesday, August 19, at LaRiviere Park in Prairie du Chien.

“I’m proud to be a part of the wonderful place in the Midwest,” Howe said. “And I’m glad to see that people are out enjoying it.”

Howe talked about how land use and the environment are tied to the history of our area.

“When I go out on the river, and see the eagles soaring in the air, I am proud of the conservation progress that has been made over the years,” Howe said. “When I see the eagles, I think about how banning DDT allowed them to make a come back and to flourish.”

Another local place Howe discussed was the quarry at Pike’s Peak. He remembered that the rock used to build the wing dams on the Mississippi had been quarried there. He also remembered, as a boy, how citizens could take a steam boat from Prairie du Chien to the Wisconsin Dells, in order to experience the Lower Wisconsin River.

In presenting the award, Crawford County Conservationist David Troester shared some remarks.

“The Crawford County Land Conservation Committee occasionally decides to award a Conservation Legacy award to a group or an individual that has left a long-lasting impression in our county,” Troester said.  “This year’s award goes to William Howe, an individual who has spent many decades advocating for our natural resources here”.

“Bill had the good fortune to grow up and live his entire life on the banks of the Mississippi here in Prairie du Chien.  He told me that living near the river and the adjoining bluff lands was the best influence and education a person could have to help appreciate how important natural resource conservation is,” Troester continued.  “Bill’s father treasured the area, and took him along on his duck hunts and many other outdoor activities.  Bill came to love the river and the natural beauty of the area.”

Troester explained that being part of a newspaper family in Prairie du Chien, Bill was exposed to many organizations and people passionate about the environment and conservation.  His father knew environmentalist, conservationist, and cartoonist Ding Darling, who worked for the Des Moines Register in Iowa.  Ding would come to Prairie du Chien to give presentations. 

“While in high school, Bill remembers even helping with material for one of Darling’s presentations,” Troester said.  “He would be at their house, and talk of his passion for protecting the land and preserving it for future generations.  Bill says that really stuck with him.”

Troester said that another major influence on Howe was Aldo Leopold.  Leopold also visited Prairie du Chien, and observed changes to the river due to the lock and dam system. 

“Leopold advocated for greater public involvement in political environmental decision-making,” Troester said.  “Bill says that need carries on still today.”

Troester went on to say that as Howe’s role in the newspaper grew, he became more and more exposed to people and groups passionate about the environment and conservation.  There were local folks, like Larry Knutson, who were passionate about preserving area trout streams. 

“Bill and Larry would go out, clean them up, and advocate for good management with the landowners,” Troester said.

Troester said that Howe was able to attend and write about public meetings to help promote understanding and raise interest in natural resource topics. 

“It became clear to him, however, that he also wanted to become an active member of organizations that could provide the public opportunities to have their voices heard by legislators making environmental/conservation policies,” Troester said.

Howe has been a member of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress for over 50 years.  As a citizen elected delegate, he would help advise the Natural Resources Board and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on responsible management of the state’s natural resources.

Howe also served for 36 years on the Wisconsin and Minnesota Boundary Area Commission.  This group, made up of five governor-appointed members from each state, served as a watchdog commission to review progress of studies, raise new concerns, and most importantly allow for public input.  They served as a liaison between the public, and the state and federal agencies that managed the rivers and adjoining lands.

As an active member of the Prairie du Chien Rod and Gun Club, Howe emphasized the concept that people who respect the environment and understand the need to help manage how people can conserve it, can do so while still enjoying the use of it for hunting and fishing.  Howe has also been active with the Prairie du Chien Historical Society.  He points out that land use and the environment are tied to history.

“Bill told me, the pleasures he has experienced enjoying a beautiful river and area lands is an opportunity he wants future generations to be able to enjoy,” Troester said.  “He says that will only happen if people know and care about it, and feel it important enough to bother to be engaged.”

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (2 votes)