Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Trade Association that 'Gets It'

Congratulations to the American Fly Fishing Trade Association for its foresighted offer to match up to $2,500 in donations for the effort to fight Utah's draconian stream access law, which was put into place last year and basically denies common-sense access to waters that should be the domain of the low-impact angler.

Last year, the Utah Legislature severely limited public access to hundreds of river miles in Utah, throwing that state's access laws back into the Stone Age, along with Wyoming and Colorado. The irony is that states with conventional high-water mark access laws (think Montana and Idaho, for instance) benefit economically from the angling community that will throw down hundreds of dollars a day in rural communities, so long as they can fish quality waters without worrying about some cheesed-off landowner running them off with a shotgun.

The idea that an individual can "own" the river bottom hearkens back to the European land-management model that stinks of phrases like, "the King's deer." Only in this case, Utah (and Wyoming and Colorado) anglers who buy licenses that support fisheries management efforts do so to indirectly support quality fish habitat they'll never get to enjoy. So, perhaps the "King's trout" is a more appropriate reference.

Congratulations to AFFTA for once again demonstrating that it's a stalwart friend of the "little guy," and for continuing its efforts to be proactive on the conservation front. The protection of--and access to--high-quality habitat translates directly into fishing opportunity. And, from the local fly shop to the biggest rod manufacturer, that access translates directly into economic activity.

If you're a local fly shop, or an establishment that caters to the fly fishing community in even the smallest way, consider, first, joining AFFTA. Second, consider sending a few bucks to the organization so it can continue to stick up for access and opportunity.

Thanks AFFTA. We at EMBT truly appreciate your efforts.

1 comment:

  1. @kurpaki This just doesn't affect Utah, Montana put its access laws up for grabs in this past legislative action. Fortunately, Montana, it's Governor realized the value of public access to public waters. Fro Key West to Montana, in the future if you value your opportunities to cast a fly on public waters, access is going to be an issue. We all need to get involved, lobby, donate, etc...