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February 14, 2011

Paul R. Vahldiek, Jr.

Location: Houston, Texas

Q: When did you first start hunting and fishing and what’s your favorite memory afield?

I began hunting and fishing around the age of eight. I have many good memories from over the years—ranging from early dove and quail hunts with my uncle and cousins to fishing trips with my 7th grade basketball coach. Later memories expand to watching a female cougar play with her cubs, smashing a Super Cub into a dead whale on a Bering Sea beach, and trading fishing lures for a hunting bow in the Amazon.

Q: What led you to become involved in conservation?
Loving the outdoors and caring deeply about fish and wildlife and our ability to conserve all for future generations led me to become involved in conservation.

Q: How did The High Lonesome Ranch become what it is today?
Both the HLR and I are continually evolving. Besides the obvious commitments of money and time, the HLR and I have grown in scope and vision through our association with great conservation associations such as the TRCP, Trout Unlimited, Wildlands Network and the Boone and Crockett Club.  These associations have been the continuing basis for the development of many extraordinary relationships within the conservation and science communities.

Q: Describe your vision for the High Lonesome Ranch?
The High Lonesome Ranch embraces a model of sustainability that, using public-private partnerships, provides stewardship of a large-scale, intact western landscape; restores degraded habitat and biological diversity; ensures long-term conservation of critical open space; and preserves western Colorado’s important ranching heritage while engaging in mixed use enterprises that viably support the broader caretaker and legacy goals.

We are also planning for our High Lonesome Conservation Institute, which will bring together scientists, educators, students and members of the general public to develop and apply a contemporary land ethic philosophy and the North American model of wildlife conservation. Fundamentally,  we are about sustainability—of the ranching, hunting and angling traditions; intact landscapes; and human enterprises.

To help manifest this vision, I have surrounded myself with great individual consultants and conservation leaders, ranging from Michael Soulé to Cristina Eisenberg to Shane Mahoney, Roger Creasey, David Ford and Rose Letwin. Also, my “vision” would not be possible without all of my committed partners and HLR associates.

Q: What do you think are the most important conservation issues facing the country today?
Some of the most pressing conservation issues we face today are the result of a rapidly growing human population and decisions we made about natural resources in the years before we had some of the science we have today. These issues include habitat degradation, habitat fragmentation, unsustainable use of natural resources in a way that negatively impacts wildlife, and climate change. All of these issues are decreasing or creating shifts in habitat for fish and game. This is all intensified by diminishing public interest in hunting and fishing, which results in decreased revenue available for state wildlife agencies.

Hunters and anglers have long been the leading conservationists in America, and visionaries such as Aldo Leopold, Joseph Grinnell and Theodore Roosevelt helped create just about all of the fundamental wildlife conservation tools and laws we have today—things such as the national game refuge system and hunting bag limits. We need a new generation of conservation leaders today to step up and help take the conservation vision of Leopold, Grinnell and Roosevelt into the future. The task before us for conservation is enormous, and we must coordinate our efforts (time, money and political) to achieve those goals.

Q: What are your hopes for the future of fish and wildlife conservation and how can hunters and anglers work to accomplish these goals?
I hope that in the future we see a more sustainable use of resources, one that embodies Aldo Leopold’s land ethic philosophy for stewardship of private and public lands subjected to mixed uses. This would involve improving wildlife health by restoring habitat, creating more permeable and intact landscapes, and utilizing natural processes, such as predation by carnivores, to restore ecosystems for wildlife and the humans who use wildlife resources. Human needs are an intrinsic aspect of wildlife conservation. Bringing together a diverse community of hunters, anglers, scientists, corporate and non-profit partners, educators, students, and everyday citizens will enable us to find creative wildlife conservation solutions.  We must find common goals with those who don’t hunt and fish.

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January 19, 2011

January 2011 Photo of the Month

Ron Enders took this buffalo while hunting with Hawes Outfitters in Kansas. The firearm was a Winchester 45-90, made in 1887. Send your best photos to info@trcp.org. We’ll chose the best one each month and send the winner a TRCP hat.

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January 18, 2011

You Will Go Far

A good many of you are probably acquainted with the old proverb, “Speak softly and carry a big stick – you will go far.” If a man continually blusters, if he lacks civility, a big stick will not save him from trouble, and neither will speaking softly avail, if back of the softness there does not lie strength, power. In private life there are few beings more obnoxious than the man who is always loudly boasting, and if the boaster is not prepared to back up his words, his position becomes absolutely contemptible. So it is with the nation. It is both foolish and undignified to indulge in undue self-glorification, and, above all, in loose-tongued denunciation of other peoples. Whenever on any point we come in contact with a foreign power, I hope that we shall always strive to speak courteously and respectfully of that foreign power.

Let us make it evident that we intend to do justice. Then let us make it equally evident that we will not tolerate injustice being done us in return. Let us further make it evident that we use no words which we are not which prepared to back up with deeds, and that while our speech is always moderate, we are ready and willing to make it good. Such an attitude will be the surest possible guarantee of that self-respecting peace, the attainment of which is and must ever be the prime aim of a self-governing people.

-Theodore Roosevelt in a speech at the Minnesota State Fair, 1901

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It Is Not the Critic Who Counts

The famous Theodore Roosevelt quote about striving valiantly and daring greatly

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

—Theodore Roosevelt
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

 

Think you know your Theodore Roosevelt trivia? Test your T.R. IQ now by taking our expert-level quiz.

TAKE THE QUIZ

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January 15, 2011

January Trivia

When did T.R. kill his first bison and where did he kill it?

Send your answer to info@trcp.orgor submit it on the TRCP Facebook page for your chance to win a TRCP camo hat! If you’re stumped, ask for a hint.

Congratulations to Jeffrey Pearson for winning last month’s contest.

Last month’s question: What is the name for the type of pinch on style glasses that T.R. wore?

The answer: Pince-Nez. Teddy’s family had no idea how bad his vision was until he kept missing shots with his first gun.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

CHEERS TO CONSERVATION

Theodore Roosevelt’s experiences hunting and fishing certainly fueled his passion for conservation, but it seems that a passion for coffee may have powered his mornings. In fact, Roosevelt’s son once said that his father’s coffee cup was “more in the nature of a bathtub.” TRCP has partnered with Afuera Coffee Co. to bring together his two loves: a strong morning brew and a dedication to conservation. With your purchase, you’ll not only enjoy waking up to the rich aroma of this bolder roast—you’ll be supporting the important work of preserving hunting and fishing opportunities for all.

$4 from each bag is donated to the TRCP, to help continue their efforts of safeguarding critical habitats, productive hunting grounds, and favorite fishing holes for future generations.

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