November 25, 2005

Hunters, anglers, and conservation

Rocky Mountain News outdoor columnist Ed Dentry's cited Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, the Colorado Wildlife Federation, and Colorado Trout Unlimited as the real "friends of the earth" in a recent column.

They would be the guardians of traditional values, natural values. Nature, wildlife, the Earth, remember? Few people do these days.

The guardians of traditional values are hunters, fishermen and conservationists. They are the latest dying breed as America grinds itself up in the latter-day throes of its Manifest Destiny tantrum. We seem bent on erasing the last pagan wild place and improving it with asphalt, big-box stores, rows of human chicken coops, cul de sacs and drilling pads.

These "hook and bullet" groups seem to be getting more done these days than the traditional big enviro groups, although the latter continue to send M. and me plenty of fundraising appeals.

Or maybe our focus has shifted to state and even county-wide issues over the big "Save the ______" issues.

Disclaimer, or maybe a confession. Around 2000 I spent a term on the Colorado Wildlife Federation's board of directors. I don't know how effective I was, other than as a voice from outside the Denver metroplex. I learned something about nonprofit organization boards--that they have to clear the deadwood occasionally, and that the best board members either bring specialized skills (geologists, wildlife biologists, etc. for CWF) and/or fat checkbooks to the meeting room.

Lacking the precise skill-set needed and not having a family foundation at my disposal, I rated myself as "deadwood" and stepped down.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We feel the same way, Chas. We joined the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers as founding members last year.

We haven't been members of the BINGOs (Big International NGOs) for years.

Though we still get the mailings with the sandhill crane on them . . . which go right to the bin.

Local conservation, and getting back to our roots through hunters/anglers and wilderness users in the traditional sense (not exclusionary definers of wilderness - those who would see no one enter wild places, in some sort of misguided vision that humans exist outside nature) will be how we'll get the job done from now on.