Success! Trees For Trout Unlimited Was A Giant Success, Again
Waters of the Wood River, flowing quietly closer to the Pawcatuck, was clear in even her deepest measures as Trout Unlimited Chapter 225 volunteers unloaded cars and trucks near her banks. On a still, 28° Saturday, volunteers paced a gravel driveway at RIDEM’s Arcadia Park check station as they collected Christmas trees for their Trees for Trout program. It was so clear, with coffee, a few tiny donuts and hopeful talk of tying tiny flies when we can all sit at one table again, once again they enjoyed success with Trees For Trout.
People from as far away as Coventry and Woonsocket strapped trees to caravan roofs, jammed them into SUV’s or wrapped them in sheets between Subaru rear seats securing kids largely unhappy with saying goodbye to so many fun Christmas days. It was also really heartwarming to hear so many people ask for Trout Unlimited membership forms. Each tree was unloaded quickly while drivers were offered flyers describing how trees would be used before being sent along to avoid so much cold air infiltrating warm cabins.
NASCAR pit crews have nothing on TU volunteers.
Volunteers At Trees For Trout Are The Heart Of Trout Unlimited
No volunteer organization runs perfectly. They are collectives of different people sharing common passions, such as fishing or conservation, but may have different politics off the river. A recent and unpleasant social media exchange with a distant someone who’s concerned with brook trout or at least reposting anything to do with their protection that fits his personal conservation views, showed that people with similar goals can walk different paths to reach a stream. Visit the check station, walk south along the lovely wooded path for a few hundred yards, see how last year’s trees are blending, folding, absorbing then ultimately, benefiting fish and rivers.
People staring at screens in their basements can judge all they wish but three hundred and fifty trees, one hundred more than last year, two hundred and sixty more than the year prior, were collected and stored for deployment and habitat development and that’s not fake news.
Chapter 225, led by President Glenn Place and a board of dedicated anglers, has stayed focused on the health of fish and rivers while building relationships with state regulators. It was wonderful to see RIDEM biologist Corey Pelletier scaling a trailer full of trees alongside a dozen Trout Unlimited volunteers piling them even higher. Understanding his remarkable love of water and woods and his relentless desire to be outside, fishing, hunting, hiking or planning, Corey deserves a giant thank you for all his work helping to bridge gaps between passionate people and structured regulators. Such relationships, ones which unite people and government, especially on a freezing winter’s weekend, have many moving parts and clearly this one is working while growing.
Evergreen trees will be anchored alongside river edges, water will carry flotsam of leaves and twigs along with sediment mixing through busy water, trees will decay as branches drift away. Nature will eventually consume these trees, leaving more solid banks which bend and provide protection. Glenn was proud to announce that RIDEM had agreed to make this collection an annual event and will add a pickup location in the northern part of the state next year. More good people doing more good work. After three years, clearly this program is a success.
RISAA Cancels 2021 Saltwater Fishing Show
It’s also clear 2020 was a bender of a year which left us with a multiple month hangover. As such, the RI Saltwater Anglers Association has cancelled their 2021 New England Saltwater Fishing Show. Actually, the RI Convention Center informed RISAA that COVID’s uninvited arrival trumped fishermen and women’s need to wander and shop as the Center is reserved as a field hospital for this uninvited virus long overstaying its welcome. RISAA President Steve Medeiros said, “Having the show in April, May or June wouldn’t make a difference. There’s no way by that time, with COVID, that we could put up to 5,000 people at a time together. For the safety of our volunteer members, our exhibitors, and the fishing public… the best thing was to postpone for a year.”
In addition to not seeing amazing custom rods at the Crafty One Custom’s booth, not chatting with perfect gentleman Dave Morton of Beavertail Rod and Reel and not seeing RISAA volunteers helping kids learn to cast, (yet remaining amazed at how much RISAA members do to encourage new and young anglers) I am terribly disappointed not to write a 2021 fishing show fashion report. No update on clever takes on happy hooker shirts, head to toe hardly coordinating camouflage outfits or infants in foam shark hats enjoying handfuls of colorful breakfast gummy fish while I secretly hoped they had not just visited the Worm Bar and confused bags. Clearly COVID has changed much but there’s a strong chance that fashion update will be even more, uh, vibrant, in 2022.
“The Convention Center gave us a new contract for March 11-13, 2022. Hopefully the world will be back to normal by then.” Steve added. Thank you Steve, clearly we all hope you are correct. While we savor the success with Trees For Trout, little more normal would be great right about now.