Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Treasure is Trashed

A liquid drain opener bottle sits in the sargassum on South Padre Island.
 There's a perfectly usable Weber kettle barbecue grill resting amid a modern-day midden heap on the beach ready for the taking--it's right around mile marker No. 4, just north of where the road out of town ends in a trashy dunescape on the Gulf side of South Padre Island.

Apparently, the folks who abandoned it didn't need it anymore. They also left a gently used camp chair and all of their garbage, presumably from a Memorial Day weekend on the island. They just bagged it up and decided they didn't have room in the truck to take it to a Dumpster in town. Since they left it, every raccoon and coyote and jackrabbit has pilfered through the refuse, creatively spreading it across the sand and sargassum. There's a motor oil bottle here. A six-pack ring there. Is that a bottle of liquid drain cleaner?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Keeping public land in public hands: Good politics, good business

Peter Metcalf
Editor's note: This piece originally ran at, and is republished here in accordance with WyoFile policies. 

By Peter Metcalf and Ann Morgan
Theodore Roosevelt, one of our all-time great presidents, famously embodied the “conserve” in “conservative.” He set aside some of our country’s most beloved public lands, including the Grand Canyon, Muir Woods and Chaco Canyon, and created the National Forest and National Wildlife Refuge systems.

The hundreds of millions of acres that belong to all Americans are critical to fish, wildlife, watersheds and the economic powerhouse of outdoor recreation, which produces $646 billion in economic benefit annually and supports 6.1 million jobs. In the tradition of Roosevelt, Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling convened hunters, anglers and other conservationists in a kind of “big-tent” gathering – the first North American Wildlife Conference – and created the forerunner to the National Wildlife Federation in 1936.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Baja Remembered...

Hard to believe it's been just over a year since Mike Sepelak and I bathed in the Baja sun and no small amount of middle-shelf tequila. But it has. And I miss it.

Chasing Grayling

Editor's note: This piece first appeared in Hatch Magazine.

In a day when all the fly fishing rage seems to be centered on salty critters that induce screaming reels and stylish expletive “bleeps” in one of the hundreds of new-era videos sucking up bandwidth these days, the essence of the craft seems to have gone south. Literally and figuratively.

Oh, I’m part of the problem. Believe me. I dig the flats and the fish that swim them. But it’s spring up here where we can actually tell a difference between the seasons, and my thoughts are shifting from bones and permit to chasing lighter fare in places where, when summer finally does arrive, it’s damn near over.

Places like the Alaskan interior, where the sun is shining now and pushing snowmelt into the region’s many rivers. And in those rivers, under brown, rushing waters lined by birch and alder, one of the most game of fly fishing targets is busy pair up, ensuring anglers yet another generation of wonderment.