In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting to hear such a motivational conversation, but the Conservation Summit held during the Bassmaster Classic in Birmingham, AL. proved profoundly moving.
Assembling state fisheries managers, B.A.S.S. Nation and conservation groups, the Summit provided a forum for updates on current conservation efforts and discussions of future plans. These deals are always interesting, no doubt, but typically more factual and formal in nature.
I gotta tell you, when one of the attendees struggled through breaking voice and quivering chin to share an impassioned call-to-arms for those enamored with the outdoors to put their commitment into motion, I felt something.
Something very genuine. I think others in the room felt it too.
You can tell by the way folks look at one another and nod with head tilted, brows tilted.
We love the water, we love the fish that swim within and we love the moments we share with family and friends in the pursuit of those typically frustrating creatures.
Gotta keep it brief here, but the point of this tale is that these precious resources need and deserve our best conservation efforts.
We owe it to the lakes, streams, rivers and oceans to learn about the issues, volunteer for conservation and environmental restoration projects and let our voices be heard in the political and regulatory processes that impact management decisions.
Do not naively assume that the fish you love to catch and the waters that fuel your passion will necessarily thrive in existence and/or access. From aquatic nuisance species, to the anti-fishing front, the threats are real.
Next time you’re on the water, forget for a moment, about the thrill of a bent rod. Instead, consider this straightforward question: Do you feel something?
If you do, treat the resource like something you love. That means respect, value and protection.