Proud To Be An American…Sportsmen
The fireworks have already begun, not in earnest yet, but occasional pops and cracks are audible throughout the city. Coolers are filled with cold beer and lawn chairs line main streets across America. It’s our collective birthday and we have a lot to celebrate.
This year my family was fortunate enough to be asked to join some friends on a Smith River trip with a July 5th launch date. So we are pointing the truck north and will be missing some of this year’s traditional Fourth of July activities. However we will have the opportunity to take advantage of something that should be on the list of things to celebrate when noting all we are proud of in this great nation.
The United States led the way, and remains one of the few places on earth where we are all landowners, and where sportsmen still have access to populations of plentiful fish and game. This didn’t happen by accident. In the mid 1800’s, as settlers moved West, wildlife populations were plummeting due to market hunting and habitat loss. A few key sportsmen, such as Theodore Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell, took notice and the North American Model of Conservation began to take shape.
The model has held to this day and has two basic principles: that our fish and wildlife belong to all Americans and that they need to be managed in a way that their populations will be sustained forever. Sportsmen were the original conservationists and have made it their priority to regulate fish and game, protect habitat, and pass the sporting heritage on to future generations.
Lets get our fireworks in order, light the BBQ’s, or head to the mountains and streams. Whatever you choose, give your neighbor a high five, it’s time for a party. As I help my kids lob big attractor dries to trout on their first multi day river trip, I am grateful for the foresight of the generations of sportsmen that have come before, making this opportunity possible for my family. Happy Fourth of July.