We love to fish. We love it. Not in that juvenile, sloppy-wet-kiss way that so many of us remember from high school, but with an “I come alive with a fly rod in my hand” love that’s grounded in maturity, appreciation and respect for our angling traditions. We’ve been fishing for decades and there are very few other activities that bring us so much joy or help us connect to the natural world on such an elemental level.
Unfortunately, those of us who love to fish, and who see the necessity for protecting our landscapes and waterways, are coming under attack. It turns out - and no, we’re not making this up - that we are “radicals.” As Ty Hansen pointed out in a recent Hatch Magazine piece, the energy and resource extraction industries are targeting hunters and anglers. Those of us who support conservation are being portrayed as extremists and radicals.
So what is a radical? Seriously, what does it mean? Is protecting our favorite trout stream a radical act? What about defending an Alaskan salmon river from a mining company? Or how about passing on a healthy natural world to our kids and grandkids? Because those of us who want to share clean water, clean air and healthy landscapes with future generations are being ridiculed and marginalized. It’s almost as if our love for the great outdoors is standing in the way of “progress.”
Here’s something you should know. Most people don’t give a damn whether we hold on to our fishing. They don’t care if there are trout in our streams, or bass in our ponds, or bonefish cruising our saltwater flats. We live in a culture where growth, both physical and economic, trumps everything else; where no tradition, no heritage, no single aspect of American life is deemed so sacrosanct that it can’t, and shouldn’t, be tied down and sacrificed on the fetid, blood-specked altar of progress. It’s grow or die; it’s balls to the wall; it’s greed is good. Nobody - not the President, not Congress, not Wall Street - is willing to consider that unfettered, unexamined growth might not be the best path forward, or that we should steer the good ship America toward a more sustainable, more balanced future.
Sadly, if you agree with us you’re just another radical. You don’t want the Pebble Mine? You’re a radical. You don’t want corporate farms to dump pesticides and herbicides and fertilizers into our streams and rivers? You’re a radical. You don’t want suburban sprawl to trash the landscapes you loved when you were a kid? You’re a radical. You don’t want oil and gas rigs to despoil your favorite section of National Forest? You’re a radical. You want to keep our public lands in public hands? You, dear friend, are a dyed-in-the-wool, honest-to-goodness radical.
Oh, and you say you’re concerned about climate change? Well, not only are you a radical, but you’re a communist. You should go back to Mother Russia, comrade, and take all your commie friends with you.
And that, sadly, is what we’re up against - that kind of hostile, knee-jerk, reactionary crap, which paints sportsmen as radicals working to undermine everything good and decent and pure about America. Clean air is a luxury we can’t afford. Clean water is something we should get from the private sector - but only, of course, after we’ve paid for it. Public land should be sold off to stoke the engine of economic growth. Fishing … well, fishing is probably okay, as long as it doesn’t interfere with anything important, and as long as anglers don’t try to protect America’s natural resources from aggressive exploitation.
That’s the playbook. That’s the meme coming from our opponents. But you know what? It’s bullshit.
That’s right, we call bullshit. Because we aren’t radicals. And we’re getting tired of all these morally-bereft, intellectually-challenged, “greed is good” free market fundamentalists painting us as the exact opposite - the exact opposite - of what we really are.
We’re patriots. We love America. Our sporting roots run deep, and we were raised to appreciate our outdoor heritage. We want - and this is the crux of it; this is vital - to hold on to the things that make our country great; to share them with our families, and our friends, and with generations still to come. We want our kids to have access to the same incredible fishing we’ve enjoyed, and if we’re lucky enough to have grandkids, we want them to grow up in a country that still revels in the outdoors and that still shares in the sweet, ripe fruits of freedom. America is the best country in the world for anglers because we’ve fought, time and again, for clean water and clean air and healthy landscapes. We’ve fought to give our kids and grandkids a shot at a decent future. What could be more noble, or more honest, or more ethical?
The real radicals are the people who put profits above everything else, who can’t wait to carve muscle from bone as this great American experiment in self-governance slowly collapses under the weight of their greed and ignorance. The real radicals are the rapacious profiteers who hate public lands and public waters because our landscapes are protected, at least partially, from their insane “profit at all cost” mentality. They’re the folks who, without a second thought - hell, without an initial thought - are willing to sacrifice their children and grandchildren to the cannibalistic gods of free market fundamentalism.
Enough. We have literally had enough. We’re sick of liars and sociopaths pointing at us and yelling “Radicals!” We’re tired of hired guns sitting down at their keyboards and smearing good organizations like Trout Unlimited and Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. We refuse to sit silently on the sidelines while America-haters wear our flag - while they literally wrap themselves in Old Glory - to camouflage their true intentions.
So we have a message for all the haters who are attacking sportsmen. It’s a simple message, but it’s heartfelt.
We love America. We love our landscapes, and our sporting traditions, and our rich outdoors culture, and our fisheries, and we’re willing to fight for it; for all of it, for every last inch, for every river and stream and forest and meadow, for every kid who dreams of trout or salmon or bass or bluegills or tarpon. Greed will not triumph. Flat-earth idiocy will not reign supreme. Our fisheries will not fall prey to snake oil salesmen and crooked politicians. Not on our watch.
JVP replied on Permalink
You can add my name to the list.
- Jeff Patterson, Denver, CO
Gary Stephens replied on Permalink
I agree100% with every word you wrote ! We have to stay strong for our grand children and their children. We cannot lose this battle ! Please add my name.
P.S. I caught my first fish 65 yrs. ago. Thank You for your efforts.
Rick Crawford replied on Permalink
Add my name to that list!
ChrisMinter replied on Permalink
Wonderful message and unfortunately so true... How do I sign on?
Chad Shmukler replied on Permalink
You just did, Chris. If enough folks want to formally sign on, perhaps we'll find a way to make that happen. But, for now, I'd encourage those interested in doing so to simply add their name here in the comments.
And, if you check the "Notify me when new comments are posted" box, you can get notifications as others sign on or as we update with other information.
Dave Petry replied on Permalink
Completely agree with 100% certainty and solidarity.
Sign me on please
Wade Fellin replied on Permalink
Bravo. Fighting to protect OUR right to crystal-clear trout streams, rolling fields of wildflowers, and snow-covered peaks is the essence of Patriotism!
Put my name on the list!
Matt replied on Permalink
Amen! my friends. I'm all in.
Jule McDowell replied on Permalink
Please add my name to the signed list. This is so well said. Thank you. Jule McDowell
Jeff Holberg replied on Permalink
Very well put! We must stand together!
bobferris replied on Permalink
I stand firmly with my fellow hunters, anglers and friends on this. I have worked in wildlife and conservation for more than 30 years professionally and now am doing so personally. The peril we all face as well as the risks posed to the future of our recreational passions has never been greater. We should be scared and we should be angry but more importantly we should be informed, active, and organized. We should in all of this be aware that billions are being spent by those who want to continue to pollute or have favored access to our public lands to confuse the public and continue the degradation of the wild areas we all hold dear. My hat is off to those who put together this letter for all of us--they are heroes. And they offer examples to the rest of us to stand up to those interests who want to cloud the science on climate change, sell off our public lands, sully our waters and remove those bedrock protections established by conservationists and their allies nearly 50 years ago. Thank to Hatch Magazine for printing this important letter.
Chris Hunt replied on Permalink
Bringing sportsmen into the conservation discussion on the side of the resource is vital if we are to beat back those who would co-opt fishing and hunting and use these pastimes against those of us who truly do fish and hunt. Share this far and wide, and please, send this open letter to your member of Congress. Thank you, Hatch, for publishing this letter!
Capt Gordon replied on Permalink
" Flat-earth idiocy will not reign supreme."
That is genius. I want to know who wrote that!
Brian Moffitt replied on Permalink
An excellent analysis of the situation those who would rather see wild lands "wild" rather than developed face. You can add my name as well!
benbulis replied on Permalink
Please add me too! Ben Bulis
Bob Hogue replied on Permalink
My God that was epic. Everything that needed to be said with no holds barred. Loved it.
Alfred Antonelli replied on Permalink
Dito. We'll said.
Thomas Sova replied on Permalink
Full throated endorsement of this letter - I sign as well.
Thomas C. Sova, IV
Matt M replied on Permalink
YES! Enough is enough.
Brett replied on Permalink
I am with you, but to be fair, the groups doing some of the complaining here are not exactly role models. Many groups, including TU and TRCP, supported horrendous farm bill conservation program cuts that other groups fought tooth and nail to stop right up to the end. And not just supported, but gave in before the negotiations even started and crippled the conservation community's positions throughout.
Good to see the fighting spirit, but these groups have to step up ALL the time, for every fishery and on every issue, and not just when the political trade-offs for their particular pet cause of the day are at stake. The big conservation groups need to be consistent.
Chris Schulke replied on Permalink
D.J. Zor replied on Permalink
Conservation is in fact rad! Sign me to the list.
Tom McCoy replied on Permalink
I agree with your article. Well said.
Marc Bonvouloir replied on Permalink
I'm in. I will also send this letter to Western Outdoor news, a weekly sporting periodical serving California.
Keep up the fight
Jeffery Lowery replied on Permalink
Sign me up!!
Mollie Simpkins replied on Permalink
Will share on FB and via Fishionista. #WeCallBusllshit
Scott Eason replied on Permalink
Way to go Hatch. We can no longer just be sportsman.
Frank Armendariz replied on Permalink
Thank you for the well presented sentiments, I share them.
Jill Alban replied on Permalink
Folks interested in adding their voice to the mix can sign the Sportsmen's Pledge at the BHA website. Let's showcase our values and the support behind conservation: https://www.backcountryhunters.org/index.php/sportsman-s-pledge
Nice piece. Would have been nice to have names of female conservation leaders on this letter as well. Women are a mighty political force.
Hersh replied on Permalink
You're so right, Jill. C'mon ladies!
Dave Stalling replied on Permalink
Perfectly put. I'm proud to be among the "radicals" protecting our clean air, clean water, wildlife, wild places and our American hunting and angling heritage. Thanks for publishing this fantastic piece.
Anonymous replied on Permalink
I would further encourage all people affected by unchecked development to write their state and federal representatives to express their opinions every time a bill that threatens our shared public resources. I think I've written about a dozen times this year do far. You may be surprised... they write back. Add me to the list.
Shared to the facebook river snorkeling community.
Jock Conyngham replied on Permalink
I'm in. Totally.
Mike Wilson replied on Permalink
Add me to the list.
Leo LaBare replied on Permalink
Put names and faces on those doing and those paying for it.
Nothing they hate worse.
Happy to help.
Phil Palko replied on Permalink
Why are we surprised? Why would any politican favor outdoor recreational activity instead of the wealth to be found in supporting resource extraction? Why ask the public to pay taxes at all when some of that money might support a local park? Privatize it all. Capitalize it all. Extract it all. Full speed ahead and never mind that we can't breath the air or drink the water. So short sided. Greed. What a terrible, terrible state of mind. Sad.
Anonymous replied on Permalink
you mean to say 'short sighted'. Now that you have gotten that whining out of your system, what do you plan to do about this?
backcountry replied on Permalink
Amen Brother... If this is wrong, I don't want to be right.
Bob Triggs replied on Permalink
You can add my name to this list as well. It is good for us to support the efforts of so many conservation causes. But better still that we show up. There are myriad opportunities for direct personal involvement in conservation projects, habitat restoration, hands on field work and laboratory work, as volunteer Citizen Scientists . But we have to show up. We have to get our hands dirty.It is no longer enough to simply add our name to the rolls, send in a few dollars to a good cause, and hope for the best. We need to make phone calls, write real letters, attend meetings, give public testimony. We need to stand and deliver. These are our resources too. If we want a better future, it is up to us to make it happen.
Robert Cramer replied on Permalink
add my Name. Bob Cramer
Jared Hinkley replied on Permalink
RIGHT ON BROTHERS!!
Michael (Mike) J. Bosko replied on Permalink
Save our stream ecosystems!
Lotech Joe replied on Permalink
You can add my name also.
Ken G replied on Permalink
“I come alive with a fly rod in my hand”
There are many of us, or maybe just me, that share this sentiment while using spinning gear. Been called a spin fishing angler with a fly fishing anglers mentality.
Change that perhaps?
Either way, add me to the list.
clsimonds replied on Permalink
Bravo. Use whatever forum necessary. Monthly feature.
Richard Harrington replied on Permalink
I'm in. And pay attention to who your congressional representatives support, and vote accordingly. That's the only way this message gets heard.
Derek Young replied on Permalink
Radical, indeed. Count me in.
Ryan Robison replied on Permalink
What they said.
Carson Hinkley replied on Permalink
Thank you for speaking the truth. This shit has to stop. I live in Wisconsin and this state is feeling the full weight of the SCOTUS decision to treat corporations as humans. Scott Walker and his KOCH addiction have bought this state and are doing their best to sell it to the highest bidder.
William C. Wessner III replied on Permalink
This radical totally agrees with you! You have my full support.
griffith davies replied on Permalink
This is the time to draw the line.
TroutStalker7 replied on Permalink
The "Open Letter" describes my thoughts and feelings about it perfectly. Definitely add me to the list.
Hersh replied on Permalink
Well said. I couldn't feel any stronger about the open-letter above. Sign me up and send this "radical" to war.
Bruce Petray replied on Permalink
add my name, please ....
Dave Hartman replied on Permalink
Wow! Great writing and pure gospel for my mind! You can add my name, too, please!
mattbenton replied on Permalink
Very well said Todd. Add my name to the list.
cseuler replied on Permalink
Awesome! I'm down...Clinton Euler
Tom Sather replied on Permalink
Outstanding article. Please add my name to the signed list - Tom Sather from Wisconsin.
Jason Zanni replied on Permalink
I'm in.....Jason Zanni
wandrthru replied on Permalink
Mark Adams replied on Permalink
Very interesting read. I'm from Australia, and there's quite a different mentality over here. Here, hunters and fishers tend to be far more conservative when it comes to climate change science and conservation. They love the outdoors, but all seem to be denialists, and downright backwards in their ways. Puts me in an awkward position in the community, as I'm both a keen angler and beginning to bow-hunt. If I mention conservation too much, or the possible impacts of climate change on the sport we love, I'm labelled a "greenie" (the worst insult, apparently). I wish all the hunters and anglers I knew had the mentality of the above article. Some very good points were made here, thanks for the great read!
Larry O'Neil replied on Permalink
After decades of being nice and not stepping on toes TU has found it's nads! Great to see the new face speak so directly to all those who live by greed.
Ryan Mattson replied on Permalink
Cheers to that! For us who have a passion for the outdoors...I believe it's our responsibility to take action. Who else will do it? Government? Big business? Hell no...it's you and me friends.
Rev. John Meachen replied on Permalink
Well I guess that I am a radical after all. Great work but one small correction. It's altar not alter. From one Lutheran radical clergy who would like to "alter" their arrogant misuse of my Boss's creation.
Todd Tanner replied on Permalink
Thanks, John. Not sure how we missed that one - but we'll be sure to get it fixed. Cheers!
Joe replied on Permalink
Well said, we need to get some muscle and momentum behind this. The clock is ticking and we need to organize
a focused plan to get this message out there. I'm in!
Anonymous replied on Permalink
Heart of the BWCAW
Tobin replied on Permalink
copy this and mail it all of your politicians - local, state and federal. Be sure to add a comment of your own, in your own words too. This certainly is not a time to get discouraged, but to not back down and push for our values. Thanks for the missive.
Marion Laney replied on Permalink
Grew up rambling around our farm, fishing the adjacent Pee Dee and our ponds. I was lucky to have this land but so many others only have public lands to discover & appreciate nature. I was struck just recently with the heritage these places inculcate as my 90yr old Uncle bagged is yearly deer & bass just a few weeks before he passed. He reveled in teaching grandkids the art of the cast & the understanding of patience fishing & hounding entail. In so many cities all the new generation knows is dense housing and micro green spaces. We must defdnd the wild places our concept of country was founded upon. Please add my voice to your elliquite article. Marion Laney
Kim McD replied on Permalink
Yep, I'm a radical!
Ryan Maas replied on Permalink
Rob Gregoire replied on Permalink
Caring about the future is the new radical. Sign me up.
Justin Hardesty replied on Permalink
Count me in! From Maine.
Brandon Morgan replied on Permalink
"If we don't care about conservation...who will?"-Brandon Morgan owner of Throwback Fishing an apparel company for anglers who practice a catch & release lifestyle.
Jack Donachy replied on Permalink
Look at what's going on in British Columbia. The BC government is aligning itself with Big Timber, Big Mining, and Big Fish Farming. One of the goals seems to be to drive down wild fish populations. Because as Big Money knows, rivers without anglers to protect them and forests without hunters as stewards are easy pickings. Get rid of the outdoorsmen, and let the short-term profits and carnage begin. Jack Donachy
Stephen Wisner replied on Permalink
I'm tired of looking at my favorite stream as something that is likely to cease to exist in my lifetime. My name is Stephen Wisner and I'm onboard.
Mark Taylor replied on Permalink
Boom! Mark Taylor
Benjamin J. Rioux replied on Permalink
Hell yes brother, well written!
Chris Edlin replied on Permalink
I'm in. I grew up hunting and fishing and I'll be damned if I'll sit idly by as that is taken away from my kids. Chris Edlin from Mississippi.
Stew replied on Permalink
I understand your point here, and I wholeheartedly agree with protection, but I have a hard time with your message. Essentially you have made the point, "I am not a radical, you are!". Seems rather childish and non-productive to say "I know you are but what am I" and think that some sort of productive discussion can happen.
I am a firm believer that solutions can be made that can benefit both sides of the argument, but calling each other names is hardly a way to get there.
Free Market capitalism is a solution for unfettered growth along with sustainability. Look at Tesla, and new up and coming companies like Grove labs out of Boston. These are free market solutions that will hopefully end up moving solutions to the individual, and not the corporation.
The biggest problem will always remain the same, as long as there is a demand, there will always be a supply. Until you can solve this problem, the two groups will just perpetually call each other names and play it out in court.
A good solution might be to set up an "hatch" incubator that helps out companies that solve this ever growing demand problem from Mining and Big-Ag.
That is the reality here.
Richard replied on Permalink
I posted this on FB page of Surfcaster's Journal which posted a link to this article:
"Drivel- "as this great American experiment in self-governance slowly collapses" More drivel- "They’re the folks who, without a second thought - hell, without an initial thought - are willing to sacrifice their children and grandchildren to the cannibalistic gods of free market fundamentalism." Hyperbole much?
Nobody wants dirty air and water but this characterization of the free market (a true free market) as the core of pollution problems is drivel. "Flat-earth idiocy will not reign supreme." = people who don't buy into the climate-change-which-was-global-warming-the-science-is-settled idiocy. How about this being an open letter to the world and not just American anglers? Fishing doesn't have any borders last I checked and there are a lot of other countries with different types of government that are far worse at protecting their resources.
I'm a sportsman and I've been a member of TU but I won't buy into this line of thinking. It is not radical to voice your concerns and ask for members of the sport to keep watch but what I quoted from the article above drips with radicalism. This is just a veiled attack on our society and the freedoms we enjoy. That mining company probably had a hand in supplying the materials to create the device you're reading this post on. That evil energy company that is going to "despoil your favorite section of National Forest" as you put it had a hand in providing the energy to power said device.
One last thing: "Nobody - not the President, not Congress, not Wall Street - is willing to consider that unfettered, unexamined growth might not be the best path forward, or that we should steer the good ship America toward a more sustainable, more balanced future." First, I don't look to government to be a guide anything regarding my future. Just how do you propose that these governing entities "steer" us? What rights do they take away for that "balanced future." Who decides that future? I trust the many individuals making individual decisions far more than I'll ever trust any elected or unelected bureaucrat in an office far removed from the resources. Perhaps they decided there are too many people in a location and not only do they deny and form of development but they ban you from fishing or hunting or hiking there "for the good of the collective?" Hey, we put it in their hands, right? It is the "more sustainable" choice.
I don't consider folks looking to conserve what we have as radicals. However, I do consider what I just read to be radical. No thanks."
Joe replied on Permalink
Radical is willing to kill the earth for a profit, which is what the free market has done so far. The unfettered capitalist experiment has proven one thing, if left to its own devices when choosing between what is right, and what is easy, 99.9% of the time the market chooses what is easy. This is not acceptable, and your self-styled brand of anarchy is NOT the solution. We need to listen to people who actually study this; the ecologists, biologists, and climate scientists. If that means not fishing on my favorite creek for a few years in order that the trout population can return to health, so be it. This is not our world, we're simply temporary stewards, and we have no right to destroy it as we have.
Todd Tanner replied on Permalink
Stew - Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m afraid, though, that you are misinterpreting our message. We’re not being childish or non-productive. We’re standing up for ourselves and our fellow anglers, and we’re telling the politicians and the profiteers that we won’t allow them to sell off our fishing for a handful of silver.
Right now, industry-sponsored groups are attacking our top conservation organizations. Why? Because, as Jack Donachy pointed out a few comments up the thread, "rivers without anglers to protect them and forests without hunters as stewards are easy pickings. Get rid of the outdoorsmen, and let the short-term profits and carnage begin.”
Go to https://www.greendecoys.com and see what those slimy bastards are saying about great conservation organizations like Trout Unlimited and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership; groups that work day-in and day-out to protect our angling.
At the end of the day, we’ve tried being nice. We’ve tried being reasonable. But when some rotten s.o.b. walks up, punches you in the face and tries to steal everything you hold dear, you have a choice to make. You can cower and cringe and try to appease the aggressor, or you can fight back.
We’re fighting back.
Rich Ladenberger replied on Permalink
Hunting and fishing are part of the fabric of America. Let us all join together to protect what we so rightly deserve. Ask any of our military that fight for our rights and freedom everyday what they think about hunting and fishing and if our precious lands, rivers and stream are worth fighting for!
J Hoyson replied on Permalink
Brent S. replied on Permalink
Hardtail60 replied on Permalink
NH stands with you.
Live free or die!
Devin Greene replied on Permalink
Count me in! I hope I can show my future kids what fishing is all about... I'm 17, but I firmly believe fishing is amazingly conservative. I'll be called an idiot, that I don't know what I'm talking about, don't know what I'm getting in to, but I do: the preservation of America.
Walt Gasson replied on Permalink
Greg O'Driscoll replied on Permalink
I support this 100%
Dennis Wise replied on Permalink
I'm in as well
Peter Rafle Jr. replied on Permalink
Well said! Add me to the list!
Bob Meacham replied on Permalink
As a "radical" of over 60 years with a fly rod in hand, I have seen way too much. I am in.
Michael Hansen replied on Permalink
Great comment on the way in which we are being vilified by big money interests whose only purpose is to make more money at the expense of future generations and health of planet Earth.
Tim O'Keefe replied on Permalink
Couldn't have said it better!
Kym replied on Permalink
Count me in, too.
Matthew Reilly replied on Permalink
You've got me, gentlemen.
Nancy Taylor replied on Permalink
Yup, a radical.Proud to be in the same company as Rachel Carson.
Gregory Roland Topf replied on Permalink
In and in.
Michael Van Vlack replied on Permalink
Add my name as a supporter of your efforts.
Joe Lang replied on Permalink
Sing me up!
Robin replied on Permalink
Roy Sorensen replied on Permalink
Hell, I'm Canadian and I agree with every word. Our rivers are in trouble as well. Laws once protecting our fishing bearing streams are disappearing fast, all so dam building and pipelines can destroy them without any regard for public opinion or the environment. Kept up the good fight...
Chris Hanson replied on Permalink
count me in
Teresa G. replied on Permalink
I agree with you! I don't fish but I do horseback ride and this applies to everyone who loves the outdoors? We all need to get on board and voice our opinion!
Scott Bosse replied on Permalink
Add me to the list of patriots!
Garrett Munson replied on Permalink
I love smart writing, and this certainly is. Sign me up.
Andrew Bennett replied on Permalink
Don't frack the Hoback! Count me in. From Jackson, WY.
ELarson replied on Permalink
This is amazing all!! Thank you for drafting this! Sign me up!!! Thank you so much, stewardship is so important for us as anglers. Thank you for putting this into words.
Kelley richardson replied on Permalink
add my name please
andrew nelson replied on Permalink
Well said! I'm in
Tyler Norton replied on Permalink
Great article! Thank you. I'm all in.
kkh replied on Permalink
add me to the list
fly fishing guide
Owl Jones replied on Permalink
Well, this was a great way to stir people up and get a few comments, no? Good for you. As for the nature of the debate though - there are some of us who aren't radicals and some of us who are - and what I think you've done here is imply that "those evil corporations and mining companies and the like" think everyone who likes to hunt or fish or hike or bike or camp are "radicals." I'm pretty sure they weren't talking about everyone. How do I know? Well, because only a select group of ....ummm.....you'll pardon the "on the nose" nature of this.... a select group of radicals would get so upset over being called radicals. It's a catch-22 to be sure, but if the shoe fits and all that jazz...
Protecting resources is one thing. Stopping any progress ( there's a bit of irony in there, if you can find it ) because you love fish more than you love jobs and electricity and a good economy is pretty radical. I know plenty of fishermen, most of them fly anglers, who would love to see coal mining dead, fracking stopped and everyone taking their horse and buggy to their favorite trout stream. Or their Prius. Same thing.
Is defending a watershed or fishery "radical?" Depends on how you defend it, what your motives are, and whether or not there's actually a dragon at the gate to defend said resource from or not. Many times the dragon at the gate is actually just a straw-dragon, there to raise funds or stir up fevor among the ignorant - and not really a fire breathing monster that will destroy ( name your thing - fishing, hunting, hiking, wilderness, water quality ) forever and ever and ever.
Are there radicals out there? Sure. Are they running some of the biggest conservation groups we have in America? Absolutely. Are they ironically unwilling to compromise, though they ask the same of the oil, gas, mining and other industries? Of course they are. That's what makes them radical, and the rest of us not radical.
Respect the resource. Respect the land. Respect the wild game and fish and little creatures that go bump in the night. But let's not continue on with the charade of worshiping nature like it's something that can be destroyed with a single swipe of the pen, or an ill word spoken about your favorite stretch of river.
Everything will be OK if you don't blow things out of proportion, as long as you can find something to write about that people relate to and care about. You'll still get the hits and likes, and no one has to get righteously furious over those evil companies that would dare to put a mine or factory within 1000 miles of a pristine clump of rocks.
Yes Virginia, there are radicals in fishing and hunting. I expect them to be along right after this post is over. Which is now.
Matthew Ferrell replied on Permalink
I appreciate where you are coming from. I'm not against industry, or "progress". The big problem I see with industrial development is that the profits of many of the activities that despoil landscapes go to the "evil corporations" while the cost of cleaning up every time an oil spill happens or some toxic waste gets spilled in a lake, or citizens get sick because of pollutants in the air, comes from the citizens and tax payers. All I hear from big polluters is "We'll go bankrupt if we have to pay to clean it up", the "too big to fail" argument that has created this corporate welfare state at the expense of the citizens. I was raised to believe that if you make a mess, you clean it up. If I come to your house and take a shit in your sink, and then ask you to clean it up, I don't expect the be invited back. The same standard should be applied to industry. If you make a problem for my community that you can't fix, you shouldn't be allowed to do business here.
I'm all for development of technologies and industries that improve our lives and provide jobs, goods and services to communities, but if they can't do business in a way that respects the land and communities they want to use, then we should take a good hard look at whether we should allow such industries to continue to thrive. We are a nation of brilliant thinkers and innovators. We can find cleaner, better, more sustainable and efficient ways of providing what we need. Let's stop coddling these mega-millionaires who don't want to play by the rules of decency and external respect.
Clean air, fertile land, and safe drinking water is a right all people have. I know you think that we're all going to far in condemning "evil corporations", but there's many communities in THIS country that have been deprived of those things. That's not fair, it's not right, and it's not American.
Pamela replied on Permalink
I have been fighting the good fight for 3 years now on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. Oh Yeah, i'm all in.
Eric Stamm replied on Permalink
count me in!
Joe Ponzio replied on Permalink
Chance Maxville replied on Permalink
Add me to this list. Very well said.
Sandra E. replied on Permalink
I don't care much about being labeled one way or the other but do support the cause. Fight on!
Emerald replied on Permalink
Well said! Put me on the list as well.
Josh Bell replied on Permalink
william morkill replied on Permalink
There can be no cause more patriotic than defending what's left of North America from capitalist predators. The fear we're being sold that our very lives are at risk from elements 'hostile' to us in the middle east is a sham, a sleight of hand to distract us while our parks, rivers, and lakes are savaged, our air made toxic, our food unhealthy, and our water polluted. Edward Abbey said it best years ago: Capitalism has the philosophy of a cancer cell. Do not fall prey to the faux democratic gesture of holding public hearings on whether or not to mine, dam, pollute, your neighborhood. The answer is NO YOU CAN'T, NO YOU WON'T. There will be no vote on whether to foul the air or water. If they do it, then we must STAND OUR GROUND. Our lives, our children's lives depend on it.
Reid Curry replied on Permalink
Mark Schaller replied on Permalink
Amen!!! Count me in.
Scott Hed replied on Permalink
Amen, again. Not much more to be said. This is so spot-on, it's scary. Together, we're stronger than they are.
david sewak replied on Permalink
David-Cascade, Montana IN!
Lane Taylor replied on Permalink
Sign my name!
Jay VerHelst replied on Permalink
Now of we could have this read to Congress instead of Green Eggs and Ham! Bravo
Clay Smtih replied on Permalink
Todd, your excellent hardnosed article is inspirational. Name calling and ridicule have been used since the beginning of time, to gain or keep power and money.
We too are in this fight, on the side of all things wild. We have reported on the Pebble Mine, copper mines in Chile, dams blocking rivers in Patagonia.
Keep up the good fight for our air and water, kids and grandkids!
Count us in!
Anonymous replied on Permalink
Q: Do you all use lead-free tackle? The answer would be important to me before I could say, "Sign me up." Thank you.
Chad replied on Permalink
Chuck McKenney replied on Permalink
Count me in as a dyed-in-the-wool, honest-to-goodness radical!
Ken Hurd replied on Permalink
Great letter, wholeheartedly agree, spread the word.
Judy Tolliver replied on Permalink
Count me in!
Mark Ohe replied on Permalink
Such a terrific letter that really hits the nail on the head.
In NY State where I live the proposed 124 mile "Constitution" frack gas pipeline project is one example of fossil fuel extraction infrastructure threatening pristine trout streams. These streams are theoretically protected by NY State's strict water quality standards but the pipeline company is pushing hard against the NY DEC to make the project a reality. More information here: www.stopthepipeline.org
Dan Short replied on Permalink
Please add my name to the list of signers. Also, I will be subscribing to Hatch Magazine and contributing to TRCP. Our voices need to be heard.
Jesse stone replied on Permalink
Great work! Jesse Stone, Midway,UT
Joshua Benson replied on Permalink
I would hate to be labeled a radical
but I'm a fan of the great outdoors and of tradition.
Glenn Griffith replied on Permalink
Thanks for the excellent & thought-provoking message. I'm 100% on board.
Mia Sheppard replied on Permalink
Add me to the list and if you haven't signed the sportsmensaccess petition do so http://sportsmensaccess.org/
Paul Fedeli replied on Permalink
Great article. Sign me up.
Dee Dee Davis replied on Permalink
Please add my name to the list.
Britton Wesson replied on Permalink
Right on! Add my name! Down here in Arkansas some crap-ass pig farm is trying to build a facility that dumps pig waste in the Buffalo River. Pristine small mouth waters that would be ruined if it happens. You guys should check it out if you haven't already.
Patrick Rebmann replied on Permalink
Well said - I'm in!
Jim Doar replied on Permalink
- Jim Doar, Bozeman, MT
Christian Bower replied on Permalink
Sign me up! -Christian Bower
avsharp replied on Permalink
Totally in agreement. More than happy to add my name and share on Facebook for others to see. Rape the resource for short term profit and move on.
Dave Surdel replied on Permalink
sign me up.
Joseph Chase replied on Permalink
So well written. I'm proud to add my name to this list. My father used to say similar things in the Flathead Valley many years ago as the population expanded and newcomers decreed over and over that urban expansion was more important than maintaining fishing and hunting resources. For myself, Jerry Chase and many others like him, Thank You.
Julie Cyr replied on Permalink
Fight the good fight.
Julie Cyr | huntress, angler, organic farmer
Gig Harbor, WA
Sean Michael Robinson replied on Permalink
Please add my name to the list. Sean Michael Robinson
Tom Kirkpatrick replied on Permalink
I'm not an angler, but a runner, hiker, skier, climber. I'm not an American - I'm English, and I've lived all over.
I wouldn't call myself a patriot either, but as a human I add my name to this list.
Mark W. Baum replied on Permalink
Well put; we are (radical?) Patriots! Sign me up.
Oliver Speed replied on Permalink
It should be 'radical' to love the earth we all live on and be concerned with what happens to it. Add me to the list as well. Oliver Speed, NJ
Laurie Burr replied on Permalink
I'm all in. Laurie Burr
Josh Ritter replied on Permalink
Count me in as one of those "radicals". Support from The North Star State.
John Smutko replied on Permalink
sign me up!
Art Voelker replied on Permalink
Guilty as well, sign my name to the list.
Steve Galea's outdoors album replied on Permalink
Count me in.
Angry Liberal replied on Permalink
Chet Halleck replied on Permalink
Did we learn nothing from the 1800's when the natural world was placed on the alter of industrial greed?
Ben replied on Permalink
As a volunteer director for a nonprofit conservation organization, everything said rings so true and is at the heart of the problem. Ever time I write an article I always remind readers that its our responsibility to preserve the resources we have today so that our children...the future of our sport and passion...can enjoy the same things we do. Extremely well said and timely. Press on!
Mike. R replied on Permalink
Fantastic article. We ALL need to tell our governments and oil companies and the likes, we won't let you bully us and we won't let you take what is left of our precious resources. This is happening all over the world and we need to fight like hell to stop it !!
Support and success from Canada
Ladd replied on Permalink
As an Air Force brat who has lived in every region of this country, conservation is extremely important. Those who do not get this are just ignorant.
Sign me up, Ladd A Kettren.
Derrick Jensen replied on Permalink
When this goes open to public sign ons, I'll sign on. Derrick Jensen
james kaufman replied on Permalink
Wow, I'm a little concerned, am I ever going to be let into your country again as a lifetime member of TU. Similar things are going on in Canada, so you are not alone. Recently the Provincial government of Alberta changed the Water Act to provide more "access" to corporations. I love my province but am highly concerned that there will be clean water available for future generations.
Robert Morselli replied on Permalink
Add my name to the list, please.
- Robert Morselli
Chris Steele replied on Permalink
Great message. Thank you.
tcarter29 replied on Permalink
Complex issues, complex solutions. Problem is those without profit motive generally have a hard time repeatedly showing up to the table to help craft a balanced outcome. I hope you are successful.
Robert Johnson replied on Permalink
I agree so much,wish more people had this mentality. sign me on
Ross Hammersley replied on Permalink
100% in agreement with this letter, and would be proud to stand with you both here and out where these battles are waged. Great letter.
Bruce Norikane replied on Permalink
Thanks for standing up to anti-conservation propaganda. The industry lobbyists have unlimited funds and no ethics.
Dave Herdrich replied on Permalink
I'm with you
Jake Keeler replied on Permalink
Well said. Sign me up
Nick English replied on Permalink
Tom Allen replied on Permalink
What has been put into words is what has been going through my mind for a long time. I have been working in conservation and environmental protection for over 35 years professionally and as a grass roots volunteer. The only thing I would add is that our work is done in cooperation and the intent is that the protection of our water resources and ultimately our fisheries will benefit everyone. Sustaining our water resources will also sustain our economy.
Tom Sliker replied on Permalink
We have had the same experience here in South Carolina, where Farm Bureau is siding with large corporate farms who can legally drain our rivers dry due to a problem in our surface water laws. When we spoke up they called us radical environmentalists! http://www.savescfarmers.org/sites/savescfarmers.org/files/positive-farm...
Donald R Boysel Jr replied on Permalink
Add me to the list of Radicals!
Snooker replied on Permalink
I whole heartedly agree with your entire commentary...150% I am on board!!! Sign me up and here's to those speaking the truth and calling out the BS!!!!
Matthew Ferrell replied on Permalink
This is an important message to all outdoors people. Especially those that may not affiliate with the lifestyle as strongly as some of us, but simply appreciate being able to drive out to the country to for some leisure time once in a while. I've been thinking for many years it's time for all of us that enjoy public lands (including the agencies that manage them, and the communities they serve) to come together to form some kind of unified coalition against this shit. The forces we're up against are politically potent and wield a financial machine. But, just think about how much money is spent every year at REI, Bass Pro Shop, Columbia Sportswear, and all the other outdoor retailers across the country. Not to mention the millions of dollars spent annually by people on outdoor related vacations to ski resorts, national parks, fishing trips etc. There's a lot of time and money invested in the outdoors in America. That should not be ignored.
This is also not a partisan issue. There are just as many, if not more, Republicans as Democrats and Independents that enjoy an outdoor lifestyle. In many rural parts of the country (in the heart of the reddest of states) , families depend on being able to bag a few fish and a deer or elk every year to keep food on the table. Unfortunately, the prospect of high paying jobs entices communities to sell out their own best interests. Part of the battle is re-enforcing the idea community investment in sustainable infrastructure, green technology, and eco-tourism creates industries that will provide jobs for future generations and keeps the money local, not in the pockets of multi-national corporations that will pull out as soon as they have taken what they came for, leaving a legacy of unemployment and spoiled landscapes in their wake.
This letter hit the nail on the head better than almost anything I've read on conservation in recent years. It's time to get organized and unite all outdoors enthusiast, no matter what your hobby, to stand up for the lands we love. Please share this with everyone you know!
R.Martin replied on Permalink
Amen, brothers & sisters.
Conservation is a conservative value.
BTW, be sure to click on that link re "attack on hunters & anglers".
Jon Lassen replied on Permalink
Deborah Barnes replied on Permalink
PLEASE ADD MY NAME!!!!!
Jeff Mosner replied on Permalink
YES! This article has captured the essence of our passion for our sport and why we fight (and must fight) to save our natural world.
shelley brock replied on Permalink
GREAT piece! Dead on! I am part of a group fighting fracking here in Idaho now. The industry has leased massive amounts of our major river beds to frack along with tens of thousands of acres of housing developments and farmland across the community. We are just getting the word out to sportsmen, and women. God help us.
Jan Montano replied on Permalink
I agree! I am not a radical. I want to look out on my country and not see gas wells everywhere. I want my water to be clean. Is that too much to ask?
Liz Fischer replied on Permalink
Thank you for being willing to be labeled "radical" when you are really just "conservative" in the truest sense of the word. I have two books to recommend to anyone who agrees with this letter, "The Unsettling of America" by Wendell Berry (written in 1976 and proving to be prophetic) and "Crunchy Cons" (as in crunchy conservatives) by Rod Dreher. They both speak to the problems you have addressed above in a reasoned and compelling way. The last time I fished was with my grandfather and a cane pole in a pond in Cleveland County, North Carolina in the 1980s. We would always cook what we caught if it was big enough. I can't say that I would feel comfortable eating fish from most ponds these days.
Robert Lakes replied on Permalink
Brilliantly composed piece here. I'm with you. I can tell you as a teacher I do my best to spread the truth about our natural resources and the infringement we are facing under the cover of "progress". I fight tooth and nail every chance I get for keeping America the wild country it's meant to be. Progress is taking less from the land and leaving more for whose to come next.
Fred Telleen replied on Permalink
I'm in to my last breath.
Ryan Weddle replied on Permalink
Jeff Spaulding replied on Permalink
Completely agree 100%.
Deb and Andy Jorgensen replied on Permalink
As a married couple, fishing is something we both love to do
in winter as well as warm weather! Great letter......
Mat Wagner replied on Permalink
Agreed! Please add my name personally, and our fly shop which depends on the land and water!
Gregory McConnell replied on Permalink
Sign me up!!!
Steve Musser replied on Permalink
I too agree, and my name should be added to the list above!
CJ Klenske replied on Permalink
So well written, and so true. Add me to the list. I'm all in, hook, line and sinker.
Peter Jacobson replied on Permalink
I've always been perplexed by this issue; why do people hate the environment? Regulations on water and air have had a positive impact on our economy. Clean-up always costs more!
Bob Long replied on Permalink
at some point you realize your name belongs on the same page as all the other patriots who just may hang:
bob long jr., chicago
D.J. Zor replied on Permalink
As a life member of TU, a member of BHA and the TRCP, a father, a veteran and a dude that loves America will you please add my name to the list of radicals at the bottom of this letter.
I've read what the "green decoy" folks say and my blood boils. We are in a corporate driven media/public perception war and the craziest part is that we are paying for the lawyers trying to transfer our lands. We are footing the bill for a war against the great outdoors.