Kristyn Brady

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posted in: In the Arena

June 19, 2019

In the Arena: Neil Sunday

TRCP’s “In the Arena” series highlights the individual voices of hunters and anglers who, as Theodore Roosevelt so famously said, strive valiantly in the worthy cause of conservation

Neil Sunday

Hometown: New Cumberland, Pennsylvania
Occupation: Flyfishing guide for Relentless Fly Fishing, a TCO Fly Shop employee, and snowboarding coach for USA Olympic athlete A.J. Muss
Conservation credentials: Board member for Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited

Neil Sunday’s “Gram” probably didn’t realize she was creating a lifelong sportsman and fishing devotee when she purchased his first fishing rod at a local hardware store. These days, he’s something of a reformed bass fisherman, dedicated to helping people get out on the water for south-central PA’s brown, rainbow, and brook trout.

Here is his story.

I can still remember the trip to the hardware store in Mechanicsburg, Pa., where my grandmother bought me a Shakespeare spinning rod. Trindle Spring Run was quite demanding for a six-year-old, so I spent a few summers with very few fish stories! That all changed when I moved to Dillsburg and hit the farm ponds and Yellow Breeches Creek near Williams Grove.

When I was older, I took up flyfishing after a few years of tournament bass fishing on the Susquehanna River. I realized the impact we were having on the smallmouth bass populations and thought that something had to change. So, I gave away most of my traditional rods and reels and taught myself how to fly cast—I haven’t looked back.

I have so many good memories of fishing, and I’m making more every day. One of my most incredible days on the water was shared with my wife, Lori, and a good friend, Captain Scott Irvine, in Key West. We left the docks before sunrise, and after a 45-minute skiff ride we powered down the boat. In the distance, as far as we could see, fish were rolling on the surface.

We had over two hours of sight casting to feeding tarpon! By 9:30 a.m., we were doing celebratory shots of tequila. We spent the rest of the day chasing permit and hunting bonefish in the pristine environment of the Marquesas.

If I could fish anywhere, I would like to go back to New Zealand. Their focus on protecting the environment is evident. The people and government understand the importance of conserving what they have, and the fish happen to be the benefactors of this effort.

The overall conservation ethic is something I wish we had more of here in our great country.

As a fishing guide in South-Central Pennsylvania, my office is on the famous waterways of the Cumberland Valley. Without clean water, we would not have the wild brown trout of the LeTort Spring Run, the wild rainbow trout and native brook trout of Big Spring in Newville, or the dynamic trout factory known as the Yellow Breeches.

In fact, without clean water, I’d have to go get a “real” job.

Streamside // Neil Sunday from Mathew Stambaugh on Vimeo.

In my time as a Board member of the Cumberland Valley chapter of Trout Unlimited, I have taken a keen interest in our Stream Access and Conservation Committee. Once a tract of land has been used and a waterway altered, it’s very hard to restore. As a committee member, I’m part of a team that goes to great lengths to have restoration projects approved by state agencies, landowners, and other stakeholders.

Right now, one of the biggest conservation challenges where I live, and for our country, perhaps, is that people don’t prioritize responsible building practices, development, and land-use management over financial gain. Conservation should be used as a preventative measure—it is the easiest way to keep what we have for future generations.

Do you know someone In the Arenawho should be featured here? Email info@trcp.org for a questionnaire.

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Kristyn Brady

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posted in: In the Arena

June 14, 2019

In the Arena: George and Amidea Daniel

TRCP’s “In the Arena” series highlights the individual voices of hunters and anglers who, as Theodore Roosevelt so famously said, strive valiantly in the worthy cause of conservation

George and Amidea Daniel

Hometown: Beech Creek, Pennsylvania
Occupation: George – Flyfishing guide instructor
Amidea – Educational specialist for the PA Fish and Boat Commission
Conservation credentials: Spreading the gospel of flyfishing, the mental health benefits of the outdoors, and bringing balance to areas where a growing populations puts extra demands on water resources.

These high-school sweethearts have been married for nearly 18 years, but their commitment to the outdoors runs just as deep. George says flyfishing is his life, and he spends close to 280 days on the water, while also serving as a coach for the U.S. Youth Flyfishing Team. In her work, Amidea leads a statewide initiative designed to promote and encourage more women to take up fishing. Oh, and that’s when they’re not busy raising two little water bugs of their own.

Here is their story.

George was born in Potter County, along the headwaters of Kettle Creek and started flyfishing at the age of six. Amidea was introduced to the outdoors by her father, who would take her and her brother out on camping trips at a very early age. So, both of us found a connection to the outdoors early on, which is why we spend so much time with our two children in the same capacity.

Collectively, our family has floated hundreds, maybe even a thousand miles, on our FlyCraft boats—in PA and throughout the country—especially when we first started taking our children fishing. It can be challenging and sometimes dangerous for a 5-year-old to wade, so our boats have taken us to waters they wouldn’t have been physically able to stand in.

One of our fondest memories is of taking our two children to Montana for the first time. We spent four full weeks exploring Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding areas, and from sun up to sundown, we were outside. The expressions on our kids’ faces as we drove through the park and witnessed all the wildlife and beautiful scenery is something we’ll never forget.

There’s a reason why we still live in central PA—it offers almost everything an angler could want. From freestone streams to legendary limestone rivers to the recovering West Branch of the Susquehanna, we have all our bases covered. Plus, we have so many miles of fishable water within a 30- to 90-minute drive from our home.

Clean water means everything in what we do. Trout, obviously one of our favorite species, demand high-quality water conditions, and without clean water, our angling opportunities would be reduced to a fraction of what we currently enjoy.

Most of our family activities revolve around the outdoors, and not having clean water and natural areas to access would have a negative impact on our lives. Technology and our smartphones can be wonderful, but we notice a difference in our mental health when we haven’t been outside for several days, either to walk, hike, float, or fish.

Numerous studies have shown the positive impacts of spending even 20 minutes in a natural environment. So, not only is conservation important to our planet, but we also feel it is imperative to Americans’ mental health and wellbeing.

In our area, development and urban sprawl are major concerns, especially because some of the aquifers that feed our limestone streams are also being tapped for drinking water. This may not be significant now, but eventually we may meet a threshold where we begin to see it having an obvious effect on our streams and water table.

Establishing a healthy balance, whether that’s between our indoor and outdoor lives or between increasing demands on our water resources, is crucial to the future of fishing and our family’s traditions.

Do you know someone In the Arenawho should be featured here? Email info@trcp.org for a questionnaire.

Kristyn Brady

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posted in: In the Arena

June 7, 2019

In the Arena: Dave Rothrock

TRCP’s “In the Arena” series highlights the individual voices of hunters and anglers who, as Theodore Roosevelt so famously said, strive valiantly in the worthy cause of conservation

Dave Rothrock

Hometown: Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania
Occupation: Retired Social Security Administration official, flyfishing guide, writer, educator
Conservation credentials: Currently co-chair of the Trout Management Committee at the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited. Previously served as council president and vice president, as well as a chapter president and officer.

For Dave Rothrock, picking up a fly rod as a boy was just the next natural step in a continued fascination with and pursuit of all things trout. He started tying flies before he even knew how to fish them, and he tells us that he still likes to photograph the bugs that trout like to eat. Rothrock’s most memorable fish encounter was his very first wild brown, which he landed after years of only having access to stockers, and it has ignited a lifelong commitment to clean water in Pennsylvania’s trout streams.

Here is his story.

I was set on my journey in the great world of the outdoors—from my first fish at the age of six to hunting for pheasants and deer—by my father. But really it was my love of trout that has made me what I am today. The wild trout fishing we have available here in Pennsylvania is arguably some of the best in the nation. Apparently, many others agree, since we have more trout anglers on the water throughout the year than any other state.

It was here that I caught my first wild brown trout. For about ten years I had only fished for hatchery-reared fish, but I was old enough to drive out to the Little Lehigh Creek in Allentown, Pa., for this trip. I knew from the moment I laid eyes on the 8-inch brownie that I had something special. Of course, back in the mid-1960s, I wasn’t familiar with catch and release as a concept, so all trout were harvested to be eaten. Wild trout were special in more ways than one!

These days, even though I have fished for trout from Michigan to Maine and Austria and Slovenia, I would choose my home state every time. (Maybe with a side trip to Maine for trophy brook trout—it’s the last remaining stronghold for native brookies here in the U.S.)

As a fanatic flyfisherman, and one who values wild trout over any other, I have come to realize that what I hold most dear would not exist without clean water. I have written about flies and flyfishing in numerous publications, and I enjoy guiding and teaching anglers of all skill levels with the goal of enabling them to be more effective and successful on the water. Clean water is the number one essential for any of this to be part of my life.

I was introduced to Trout Unlimited back in the earliest 1970s. It was at TU meetings that I first began to hear about conservation. I’ll confess I don’t remember any of what I heard at first, but it must have instilled in me this concept of giving back to something from which I’ve taken.

I also began to realize the connection between the trout I enjoyed catching and the need to protect the water they inhabit. I heard reports of streams holding more trout as a result of stream habitat improvements made by conservation-minded anglers and others. I learned that mayflies and brook trout, in particular, can help indicate the quality of the water and any trouble brewing.

Over the years I’ve tried to make good on my belief that I need to give back to the resource that provides me so much opportunity. It is only by so doing that we have the quality trout fishing that so many of us hold so dear.

The next generation of anglers recognizes the value of wild trout, and they are quick to point out weakness and flaws in management practices. Yet, when the opportunity arises for them to provide constructive input, or when a call goes out to help a stream in need, it seems they are nowhere to be found. I hope this starts to change.

Unless we see more young people taking an interest in fishing, to the point of being willing to speak up and take action when needed, the future of our traditions is in jeopardy.

Do you know someone In the Arenawho should be featured here? Email info@trcp.org for a questionnaire.

Kristyn Brady

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posted in: In the Arena

May 29, 2019

In the Arena: Perry Seitzinger

TRCP’s “In the Arena” series highlights the individual voices of hunters and anglers who, as Theodore Roosevelt so famously said, strive valiantly in the worthy cause of conservation

Perry M. Seitzinger

Hometown: Cloverdale, Indiana
Occupation: Consulting forester
Conservation credentials: Chairman of the Indiana chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society. Educates landowners about how to use Farm Bill programs to achieve their wildlife goals on private forested lands.

Perry Seitzinger might never have become a hunter, forester, or conservationist had it not been for his father’s curiosity as a teenager—he joined a friend for a small game hunt, without a firearm or tag, and eventually dove into the sport as a way to bond with Perry and his brother. (There’s a lesson here: It’s always worth taking someone else along!) Now, Seitzinger is an active leader of the Ruffed Grouse Society in his state and a vocal advocate for overturning outdated ideas about responsible forest management.

Here is his story.

As a young man, my father tagged along with his best friend Perry on a pheasant and rabbit hunt in northern Indiana. He didn’t carry a gun, but it made an impression on him. It wasn’t until his early 30s that he met a friend through church who was interested in upland hunting and bird dogs. Dad was looking for a new hobby and a way to spend quality time with us, his sons.

It turns out that Dad’s decision to take up upland hunting was the defining moment that molded not only my pursuits as a young man, but also my life’s work as a hunter and conservationist.

Every year in October I spend a week in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with my closest friends to chase the king of upland birds, the ruffed grouse, and the quirky little American woodcock. No other outdoor pursuit can replace the time I have spent with family, friends, and beloved bird dogs in the stunning beauty of the north woods in the Ottawa National Forest.  This is a fine example of how wilderness, natural beauty, quality outdoors experiences, and intensive natural resource management aren’t mutually exclusive.

I had my best adventure afield in 2006, when I visited a college friend and fellow forester who lived in southeast Alaska on Prince of Wales Island. My goal for the trip was a DIY spot-and-stalk black bear hunt. Surprisingly, I was successful within the first hour of the hunt, but I learned far more from what came after.

I spent the remainder of my time diving into the local culture, touring the island, fishing, and setting crab pots. The vast, wild beauty of southeast Alaska can’t be put into words. The biggest impression that I took away from this experience was how many people I met there who were passionate about conservation, because their very existence was woven into the local management of their natural resources.

Conservation defines my life. Everything that I pursue is rooted in forest conservation. I realize that without boots-on-the-ground forest management and the decisive conservation efforts of those who came before me, the life I have chosen would not be possible.

The biggest conservation challenge in the central hardwoods region is the lack of forest age and class diversity on both public and private lands. Diverse, healthy forests that we have all come to love, and many of the critters that inhabit them, will no longer exist without sufficient disturbance at the landscape level. Responsible timber harvesting is actually the best conservation tool we have at our disposal for creating and maintaining diverse wildlife habitat and healthy forests.

I have a sentimental nature, and that drives my true passion of sharing outdoor experiences with others. In order for future generations to have the same experiences that I hold dear to my heart, I realize I have to give of myself to conservation.

Our forests and native plant communities, and the wildlife species that depend on them, are not static. Without the hand of man, it cannot be expected that our wild places will be the same tomorrow as they are today. It is my hope that by leaving a legacy of conservation behind, I can leave the same outdoor experiences I have been blessed with to my son and others that come after me.

Do you know someone In the Arenawho should be featured here? Email info@trcp.org for a questionnaire.

Randall Williams

May 23, 2019

In the Arena: Jared Frasier

TRCP’s “In the Arenaseries highlights the individual voices of hunters and anglers who, as Theodore Roosevelt so famously said, strive valiantly in the worthy cause of conservation

Jared Frasier

Hometown: Manhattan, Montana
Occupation: Executive Director of 2% for Conservation
Conservation credentials: Encourages businesses and individuals to expand their involvement in the cause of conservation by pledging at least one percent of their time and one percent of their money to the future of fish, wildlife, and habitat.

Once you meet Jared Frasier, you’ll soon see him everywhere you go. That’s because this tireless advocate for fish and wildlife is boundlessly outgoing in his quest to build a community of conservation-minded sportsmen and women. Prior to taking the helm at the nonprofit 2% for Conservation, he was volunteering over 500 hours a year serving on boards and committees for other groups, traveling to conferences and conventions, speaking out when and where it matters, and bringing folks together for the future of hunting and fishing.

Here is his story.

When I was a few months old, my parents bundled me up and used a half-drilled ice fishing hole as a makeshift cradle while they chased tip-ups near our home in northern Wisconsin. It was about as early an introduction to the hunting and fishing lifestyle as I could have hoped for.

By age ten, I was helping to harvest, process, and cook all of the wild fish and game my family could legally pursue. We were not well-off, so the majority of the protein in our home was caught, shot, or trapped. Eating wild meat wasn’t a trendy experiment for us: It was a financial necessity.

And my outdoor experiences growing up also gave me a taste for adventure and wild places. My parents saved every penny they could and piled us all into their old pickup for a DIY, over-the-counter archery elk hunt in New Mexico, where we camped on public land in the family tent. That trip blew me away, flooding my young brain with new sensory experiences.

From my first day in view of Wheeler Peak, this Northern Wisconsin boy knew he had to live in the mountains.

I have two kids right around seven years old now, and I’m very conscious of the need to expose them to as many ecosystems and outdoor pursuits as possible. It’s amazing how new places and habitats can get under your skin and inspire you. I myself hope to experience as many wild landscapes as I can in every corner of the globe.

At this point in my life, I am happiest hunting and fishing where I know the populations of whatever species I am pursuing are in abundance. I’m absolutely invigorated by the efforts of others to ensure that future generations get the opportunity to roam “where the wild things are.”

Especially where I live, human housing and transportation development pose a serious threat to our wildlife. People are moving to the Bozeman area to enjoy the incredible outdoor opportunities we have in this part of Montana… and, as a result, our fish and wildlife are facing new pressures. Habitat is being fragmented and migration corridors are interrupted by new development. These resources can’t and won’t return once they are gone.

At the end of the day, we’re all simply borrowing wild resources from future generations. None of us own them. You can’t take them with you when you die. Unless you want to pass along a world covered in concrete and steel structures, you HAVE to be involved in conservation.

Photo credit: Paul Kemper

 

Do you know someone In the Arenawho should be featured here? Email info@trcp.org for a questionnaire.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

WHAT WILL FEWER HUNTERS MEAN FOR CONSERVATION?

The precipitous drop in hunter participation should be a call to action for all sportsmen and women, because it will have a significant ripple effect on key conservation funding models.

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