WELCOME, N.C. — Over the last six months with sports shut down, people working from home and many entertainment venues closed, many have turned to the great outdoors for some old-fashioned recreation.
Hunting, fishing and hiking are among the many activities that have exploded in popularity during the COVID-19 shutdown.
For people like NASCAR owner Richard Childress, a lifelong outdoorsman, it’s exciting to see so many people embracing outdoor activities.
And today he hosted a special visitor at the RCR Racing Museum who also holds a special affinity to the fish and wildlife scene.
It’s not every day you get a personal tour of the Richard Childress Racing Museum by Richard Childress.
And it’s certainly not every day a top government official visits Welcome, North Carolina.
The hall of fame NASCAR owner, showed off the museum, his 42 historic Dale Earnhardt race cars and his wildlife collection to the director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Aurelia Skipwith.
She’s excited to see the race cars and impressed by Childress’ Wildlife and Conservation Gallery that goes right along with the mission of US Fish and Wildlife.
“We had just recently had our historic opening and expansion of public lands for hunting and fishing, and that goes into conservation. Having those lands available, especially in times like this, it’s taking advantage of what your American heritage is,” Skipwith said.
And while Childress has been an avid outdoors man all his life, he’s excited that people are finding the outdoors as an alternative to traditional entertainment venues that have been closed for the past six months.
“There’s no better place to be than in the outdoors. Boating, fishing and hunting season’s just around the corner,” Childress said. “It’s opened up so many doors to so many people that’s never been able to go out and enjoy the great outdoors. I know our fishing license sales across the US are skyrocketing right now.”
Skipwith said the service has seen increases in the number of people who have visited the 568 refuges they manage.
And that increased use of public lands and purchases of fishing and hunting licenses funnel money back into the preservation and conservation effort.
“Take care of mother nature. She’ll take care of you. And that’s exactly what we’re about,” Skipwith said.