Alright folks, this is an important one. We urge you to do what you can to support this crucially important campaign.
The Methow Headwaters Campaign hit another major milestone when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced a public meeting. With the announcement of the public meeting, the BLM re-opened its comment period. Deadline for comments is November 13th, and we’re looking to organize a final push of positive comments in support of the withdrawal.
This fall kicks off North Sound TU's first ever work party collaboration with the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association. NSEA has gracefully allowed our chapter to setup a booth alongside their own at 13 of their work parties from now through Spring 2019, and we will be assisting anyone interested in macroinvertebrate collection and identification.
If you'd like some free breakfast, to put in some sweat equity by way of direct conservation efforts, and to nerd out wading in local waters and collecting bugs, find us at any of these upcoming events!
Find the calendar of upcoming work parties here. We'll be there, and we would love to have some fellow NSTU representation along for the dig.
Last weekend, leaders representing 8 different regional Trout Unlimited chapters in the state of Washington convened at Gonzaga's campus in Spokane for the Fall quarterly meeting of the Washington State Council of Trout Unlimited.
At these meetings, networking with other chapters as well at TU full time staff allow for some phenomenal information sharing and collaborating. Just a sampling of the subject matter discussed were steelhead recovery, suction dredge reform, conservation updates from each of the individual chapter, and all the women's / diversity initiative movements doing well throughout the state.
The people at these meetings are doing the background work required to help facilitate TU's mantra to protecting, reconnecting, restoring, and sustaining North America's cold water fisheries and their watersheds.
-Jon Luthanen, NSTU President
On a recent work trip to Alaska, I decided to stay a few extra days and had planned a trip to a backcountry cabin 10miles outside of Ketchikan. This was a boat-in or fly-in cabin only, without cell phone reception, and away from the main island and the many cruise line tourists. As someone who routinely falls into the spectrum of introvert, this sounded like a great way to recharge my batteries and a way to get a taste of the backcountry camping and fishing this area is known for.
However, the boat I had originally lined up to get me there had engine problems. After nixing night one in the cabin and working a half day the next on said engine with my friend, dreams of this cabin trip were waning as my trip and window of opportunity were both coming to a close. There were a few other options locally to pursue, one of which was a rental skiff which my friend suggested ... I saw this going two ways ultimately.
In my eyes, option 1 was my ideal:
1) Get boated to a backcountry cabin
2) Kayak all gear from boat to the beach (new experience, but relatively safe)
3) Being versed in bear safety, feel comfortable exploring
4) Plenty of time to take in both saltwater and freshwater fly fishing options
5) Recharge batteries / make the most out of this business trip
Option 2, the rental skiff, presented the following:
1) Boat 10mi across a saltwater channel
2) Driving a skiff solo in unfamiliar territory
3) No GPS or cell phone service - navigation based on visual land masses
4) Strong weather potential to cause socked in / whiteout conditions
5) Fork out extra $ on top of the cabin rental for a boat I was not versed in using
6) Press my luck with a close time frame for flight home if anything went wrong
The more I thought about option 2, and as much as I wanted to not bite the bullet on $60/night cabin that already cost an additional $50 to cancel / reschedule as my work schedule had changed prior in summer, the more I was able to logically reason my way through a decision. Despite feeling comfortable on canoe and drift boat, I realized those experiences were in home-waters and freshwater at that, and both were non motorized. Aside from the fact that my friend had stated he'd feel comfortable in that situation, he was a local and had logged a lot more time in the area / on similar types of watercraft previously. As in many of my mountain based adventures, when the negatives began to outweigh the positives, I bailed on plans even if they seemed like fun. Listening to your gut and/or brains tends to make for a better quality and duration of life in my own experience.
This story exemplifies the current course of the North Sound Chapter of TU. All of us on the board have the gusto to want to bust out project work and start making an impact ASAP. However, life doesn't always present option 1, or the easy path of least resistance. Many times, option 2 rears its head and causes one to tread lightly, think more deeply, and work through a few scenarios before coming to a decision. There is a vast difference between doing something to get it done, and doing it properly.
The reality of the situation is that Trout Unlimited has not existed locally for 60 years, and there is a lot of planning, attention to detail, and a logical / rational approach to integrating our hopes and plans for the community with the community as a whole. These things don't happen immediately, no matter the amount of energy you throw at them - nor should they. It's tough to encapsulate passion and try to fit it into a plan, but there are a lot more head issues that need to be figured out before matters of the heart can take the wheel. Everything in moderation, and surely both will come to a common ground as our group continues chart its course coming up into fall 2016.
All of that being said, rubber meets the road next month! We have thrown our hat in the ring as a sponsor for the Nooksack River cleanup taking place 9/17 (information here: https://www.americanrivers.org/make-an-impact/national-river-cleanup/noo...). A shore lunch will be provided as well as a celebration BBQ at Hovander Homestead Park at the boat launch in Ferndale upon conclusion of the float.
***Don't forget - our first fall chapter meeting takes place at the Brandywine Kitchen in Bellingham, 7pm the preceeding Tuesday (9/13) upstairs in the mezzanine. Lindsay from Amercian Rivers will be our guest speaker and will share about the Nooksack Wild and Scenic mission. There will be a raffle and plenty of good food / drink available for purchase
The news release we have been waiting for, Puget Sound water open to fishing again.
Hopefully everyone has had a chance to hit up some of their favorite water for the first time this season. If not, turn off your computer, get out there, and finish reading this later.
Part of the enjoyment of fishing for me is the preparation. Tying flies to replenish fly boxes brings back memories of fish caught, learning new ways to cast so more fish will be "in range", reminds me of fish rising just out of reach, making sure leaders are still flexible brings back the one that got away. All things I enjoy, but a rather myopic approach.
The continued loss of fishing opportunities in the Puget Sound, highlighted by this years North of Falcon fiasco, following last years drought closures, following the loss of winter steelheading on the Skagit in 2010, have driven the point home to me that conservation needs to be part of my preparation.
There is an old greek proverb, or at least internet memes give credit to an old greek proverb, stating that a society grows when old men plant trees who's shade they will never sit in While I strive to be that altruistic, conservation efforts on the Smith, South Fork Eel, and the Situk rivers give me hope that we can recover and enjoy wild steelhead fishing on the Nooksack, Stillaguamish, and Skagit rivers long before I am an old man.
The first step for me was telling Wild Steelheaders United they could count on me to do my part to rebuild wild steelhead and sustain the unparalleled fishing opportunity they provide. The second step was helping get the North Sound chapter of TU off the ground. As the third step develops into specific conservation projects, I am optimistic that I will have memories of successful conservation efforts as I head out to fish in the future.
Trout Unlimited. Conservation. Sweat equity. Giving back to the community. Opportunity. These are all concepts that come to mind as I write tonight. From January 2016 to present day in Bellingham, there has been a small whirlwind of activity that has taken place surrounding these topics, which culminated in a well attended fundraiser last week - one which financially put our fledgling chapter on the map. Things have happened very quickly in a good way, and as we continue to gather steam, it is important to take a moment to reflect on where we are and where we would like to be.
Trout Unlimited - this nonprofit organization is comprised of roughly 150,000 members, across 400 chapters nationwide. TU's mission is 'to conserve, protect, and restore North America's coldwater fisheries and their watersheds'. Due to a TU and Wild Steelheader's United meeting in Bellingham back in January, the gears of change began turning towards having a local TU chapter form. Whether that can be attributed to the timing of that event, or the personnel who attended, or any number of different factors, our chapter ultimately forming several months later is exemplary of the butterfly effect. How awesome!
Conservation - as a word taken from the mission statement above, and after working for an Americorps affiliated nonprofit conservation outfit in Montana for 3 years, it was driven home to me that there is a stark difference between conservation and preservation. In layman's terms, conservation may involve some destruction (as in felling trees for fuels reduction, removing invasive species, etc) for the overall good of an environment, whereas preservation is the act of sectioning off an area to not touch at all. Trout Unlimited is a conservation based organization that has a 55+ year track record of fighting to both protect and restore both fish and their habitat
Sweat equity - after having volunteered at a number of different Habitat for Humanity events throughout my college years and after, this concept was routinely referenced on those work sites. 'Sweat equity' was one of several principles that H4H instilled in their soon-to-be homeowners, and the concept involved the act of physically putting ones sweat back into building their own house. Generally, it has been my experience that people hold greater appreciation and respect for things they have been directly involved in such as this, and additionally have the benefit and ability to look back physically at said work and reflect positively. This concept of sweat equity resonated with me, this thought leads me to ...
Giving back to the community - it's pretty tough to find a downside to volunteerism. What a great way to build a network, to share time and conversations with like minded individuals, and get outside and be in touch directly with your surroundings. With the project work we hope to get going soon, we will be helping to clean up local fishing habitat among other things, which will be directly and positively be impacting fish in our local waters. The rewards for things like this go far beyond the present moment - there is the definite possibility of the good deeds done now having a lasting impact for both the environment and future generations. This segues into ...
Opportunity - anyone that decides to volunteer with our new chapter has the opportunity to make a positive impact in our community, on the environment, and on ourselves. There is plenty to be done - it's just a matter of planning the work, finding the time to volunteer and prioritizing. There are already a number of stellar conservation programs locally that operate in similar roles in the community, but the more the merrier. With an inclusive approach and the hope to draw all ages, genders, ethnic groups, and differing backgrounds of volunteers and members of our chapter, anyone will surely find a fit in whatever the task at hand.
From the beginning of this year, many things have fallen into place to make starting up this chapter a reality - there are too many people to thank for these events transpiring, but suffice to say we feel grateful for the help we've had getting to where we are, and are excited to see what's next! I've alluded to future work events through this blog, and there will eventually be a full listing of chapter events on here, so please check back frequently (*you may also join our email list via contacting NorthSoundTU@gmail.com). Lastly, welcome to our page, we aspire to be as cool as the crystal skulls, and we hope to see you at a meeting or event soon!