Messages from the President of Rocky Mountain Flycasters.
State of the Rocky Mountain Flycasters
Mickey McGuire, President
Delivered at the Annual Meeting May 15, 2019
As I finish up my year as president of your Chapter, I often remind myself of how I got here and how fortunate I am to represent RMF in the community and to the TU leadership. Prior to my becoming active in the Chapter, I, like a lot of you worked long weeks and traveled extensively. After my retirement about 4 years ago, I took the advice of many and looked around for meaningful volunteer activities. Afterall, I had received my paycheck from the American people while working for the USDA and felt strongly about giving back to the community. While I had been a member of TU since I relocated to Colorado in 2006, I would attend meetings and volunteer on projects as my time allowed. Despite significant time constraints due to my job I felt it was important to contribute to the mission of TU. After retirement I discovered something I already knew - Rocky Mountain Flycasters is an outstanding organization, with an important mission, with a strong and active membership, good financing and is well respected in the community for bringing parties to the table in difficult situations. In addition, the committed Board of Trustees and Leadership Council are a joy to work with. At this time, I would like to have the Board of Trustees stand and be recognized for their outstanding efforts this year. Please remain standing and would the leadership council please stand? This includes chairs of committees, and those of you who regularly attend leadership meetings. Finally, everyone who participated in a conservation, youth, community outreach or any other project in the past 12 months, please stand. Let’s give all these folks a round of applause.
As we look back over the past year, there are a few important items I would like to discuss.
First of all, Dennis Cook who developed our youth program stepped down as chair to take on an important assignment I will talk about in a couple of minutes. Bill Gedge took on this challenge last year and, as chair of the Youth Camp, developed social media and other advertising mechanisms to attract youth in the area. I am pleased to announce that we were fully subscribed last year with campers and are already full for this coming year. If you have an interest in volunteering for this outstanding event, see Bill.
While our partnership with Odells was already in the works, thanks to Dick Jefferies and past president Coy Wylie, Odells’ partnership has flourished and continues to this day. They recognized Rocky Mountain Flycasters as one of their quarterly partners last year, donating $5,000 to our conservation efforts. In addition, they donated $5,000 to Colorado Trout Unlimited and became one of their corporate sponsors. And, if you will remember back to past meetings this year, they willingly donated beverages for our guest night and our Expo. They also invited a few of us in to their pilot brewing facility to create a new beer we called Cold Water One, a designation of water quality high in the headwaters of our rivers.
Our new partnership with Cargill is a result of a relationship with Linda Jefferies. She nominated RMF as a quarterly partner with the local office. Cargill accepted her nomination and awarded us $5,000 for our conservation efforts. Not only that, but the Cargill corporate office matched that amount bringing the total Cargill donation to $10,000. At this time, I would like to recognize Vanessa Dominguez from Cargill for her efforts to bring these donations to fruition.
We have continued our partnerships with other very important conservation organizations in Northern Colorado. The Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed was initially started after the 2012 fire with the vision of Dick Jefferies, a past RMF president. He served in all areas of leadership of the coalition until recently when he stepped down. Colin Glover, our Vice President was just elected to the CPRW board, following in Dick’s footsteps. Following the floods of 2013, a similar coalition was formed on the Big Thompson River with the help of Dick and David Piske. To this day, Dave has served on this Board as a strong advocate for healthy watersheds. Wildlands Restoration Volunteers also provides a strong resource for RMF with our conservation activities. Their well-funded and well equipped army of volunteers and leaders provides an outstanding resource for trail maintenance, riparian area restoration and other activities that protect and improve our waterways. I know a number of our members are also members of WRV. Together, these important volunteer organizations provide resources to reconnect, protect and preserve our cold waters in Northern Colorado.
We are also partnered with non volunteer organizations. In a little while, you will hear from Ben Swigle with the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife who has been deeply involved with post flood restoration of the fisheries of the Big Thompson River. We also partner with Kyle Battige who does similar work on the Poudre River. In addition, Kyle led the team that recently completed the fish passage at Watson Lake, thus reconnecting 2-3 miles of the Poudre to allow fish of all species to move up and down the river. This effort was funded by our partners at Northern Colorado Water Conservancy, noosa yoghurt, and Morning Fresh Dairy. Additional fish passages are currently in the planning phases.
As you have heard before, after a number of years that involved many hours from our volunteers, we are embarking on probably the largest restoration of a fish population in the lower 48 states. The Greenback Cutthroat trout, previously thought to be extinct, will be introduced into the headwaters for the Poudre River. Lots of preparatory work still needs to be done before introductions can be made and this will require a lot of volunteer hours to work with the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forest Service, the National Park Service and CSU scientists. This will be an exciting project and something your kids, grandkids and great grandkids can look back and say: “My parents helped restore a fish that was once thought to be extinct. Now I can go fish for Colorado’s state fish again!” Please volunteer where you can with this project.
Over the past year, I with the approval of the Board of Trustees have formed a couple of new committees. In the past, Dave Piske has been our conservation chair with a loyal following of volunteers. Since he announced he would step down from that position a little more than a year ago, I formed a new conservation committee with volunteers ready to plan our activities. Frank Bub got us off to a great start and now Ron Dickson has taken the helm. While still in its ‘forming’ stages, I am confident the committee will lead us into the future. The second committee I formed was the Leadership Development/Nominations Committee. In the past, a Nominations Committee was formed a couple of months before a slate of candidates was announced. At times, this resulted in some scrambling to find volunteers that would consider standing for nominations. Now this committee, comprised of Wil Huett, Bob Green and led by Dennis Cook has the charge of a year round committee that is there to answer questions from members interested in leadership, help train a new cadre of volunteer leaders and also provide a slate of candidates and identify non elected leaders for the leadership council. I am very pleased to see that this committee has stepped up and, in my opinion, we now for the first time in my experience, have a true pipeline of passionate leaders.
We also signed a new agreement for our Veterans Services Program. The Platte River Veterans Fly Fishers Organization provides services to veterans, regardless of disabilities and active military members. Under the leadership of Dave Morse, Domingo Rodriguez and Joe O’Conner, the program has flourished with organized fly tying, rod building and some great fishing trips. In July, the first Honor Float will take Korea and Vietnam combat veterans on a special fishing trip to the San Juan River in New Mexico.
As we move into the coming field season, there is still a lot to be done. Last October, we reported to TU National a total of almost 5,000 hours of volunteer labor. While this sounds like a lot, I know we can do better. With a chapter of over 900 members we have approximately 100 active volunteers across all aspects of Protect, Restore, Reconnect and Sustain, the TU motto. In the words of Leonardo DaVinci
I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.
You have all heard the saying, “many hands make light work” and as we move forward into the new field season, I hope you can find the time to spare a few hours in support of our mission. We especially appreciate it when new folks step up to help out. Dick Jefferies once said, whether you have an hour a month, a day a month or a day a week to spare, we have something for you to do that is important, is part of the bigger picture and will have lasting impact. I hope you will heed his words as we move forward to become one of the leading conservation groups in Northern Colorado.
Respectfully Submitted May 15, 2019
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