I found 2009 a depressing year in Illinois and Chicago outdoors, but I also clutched pieces of hope, here and there.
One of those glimmers of hope was a new feature started inadvertently by readers, Buck of the Week: Unplugged, the celebration of the live big bucks around Chicago outdoors, city and suburbs.
As befits the end of the year, I took a look back at a down year for outdoors around here--booted Gov. Blagojevich, Kurt Granberg, the Great Fish Kill--in my column on the outdoors page of the Sun-Times on Wednesday.
I did find some hopeful signs, Gov. Quinn, new IDNR director Marc Miller, the IHSA statewide bass fishing championship, the apparent spike in sales of fishing licenses, and a continued strong interest in the outdoors, even for suburban/urban people, as evidenced by the many BOTW: Unplugged photos and stories.
Even so, I am not greatly encouraged for 2010.
BTW, if you have a submission for BOTW: Unplugged, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If looks like feature will run well into the winter.