Full Disclosure… This column on the Nor-Cal Guides and Sportsmen’s Association Dinner gives us an important step forward for all the outdoor enthusiasts who read this piece. You’ll be interested in every word just like I was. I like the real sense of urgency to deal with government officials who are entrusted with a legal and fiduciary responsibility to protect these outdoor resources. It’s time important voices challenged the sorry status quo.
Don’t worry, I’ll be back next month with updates on all of your favorite fishing holes. And some new “out and abouts.”
I have seen the future of outdoor sports in Northern California … And it looks great. Better than at any other time in my 46 years of fishing in California. On Saturday, Nov. 4, I attended the dinner and fundraiser at the Yuba City Fairgrounds hosted by the Nor-Cal Guides and Sportsmen’s Association (NCGASA).
The dinner was sold out and filled the Main Hall with 500 guests who paid 75 smackers each to attend. You can learn all you need to about an organization by attending one of their affairs. This one was perfect. I’ll bet I counted a hundred members of all ages working hard — and smart — to ensure success. Example: two nice young teenagers helped me unload some Napa valley wines that I was proud to deliver for the dinner from Trinchero, Duckhorn and Beringer.
Lots more moola was collected from auctions, raffles, outdoor sport challenges and drawings. All proceeds raised stay here locally in California to further the association’s aims. An additional touch was the recognition of military veterans in the room.
It started just as a nice presentation of the veterans present for a moving round of applause and for them to receive a complimentary Western Outdoor News subscription. But, instantly, the organizers said “no veteran goes home without a prize.” And, donors stood up and gave — every veteran received a prize. Mine was a free guided trip with ACGuideservice.com. Four of us will join owner Anthony Cox next spring for a day on the water. Donors were not shy; whenever there was a chance to make the prize better — a member stood tall. In one case, six veterans won a free guided hunting trip in Africa — but with no airfare. Not a minute went by after that announcement when another member said, “I’ll pay for their flight.”
Yes, there was a lot of genuine energy and love in that hall. I’m betting that the next one will need 800 seats — and I’ll need to bring more Napa Valley wine. But the take away for me was the dedicated professionalism I saw demonstrated at every turn. It’s that same approach that NGGASA has promised to bring to improving outdoor recreational opportunities and activities. Look at a couple of key items from their fact sheet:
“Water, Fish and Wildlife … are Public Trust Resources, the property of the citizenry. Government officials are entrusted with a legal and fiduciary responsibility to protect these resources now — and for future generations.”
It is interesting to remember that America’s first preservationists and conservationists were its hunters and fishers. My Aunt Ida’s husband Eddie provided much of our winter protein with venison from the deer he hunted. It was classic “enlightened self-interest” as they understood their need for food was a key to their community activities. And so it remains dozens of years later in the NCGASA mission statement:
“Nor-Cal Guides & Sportsmen’s Association is an organization which brings guides and sportsmen together to protect and increase hunting and fishing opportunities in Northern California. We work closely with many other conservation organizations to make sure our children and grandchildren have more fish and animals. Our organization acts as a powerful voice to represent all people who use Northern California’s waterways and lands. Fishermen who use our rivers have the most experience and knowledge on what’s truly happening to our rivers and lakes. Hunters who use our lands daily have the most knowledge on our lands and its needs. Together, we are the Sportsmen’s voice!”
Now Meet The Team Honchos … James Stone, J.D. Richey, Seth Mitchell, Robert Weese Dunn, Aaron Zanocco, Kevin Brock, Bob Kelly, Bob Boucke and Anthony Cox. They put in hundreds of hours on our behalf, so:
Let’s Put Some Skin In The Game … Go on line to ncgasa.org and join up today; I just did. (Actually I bought five of them.) It’s just 20 smackers for an individual membership and only $100 for a business membership. Heck for $20 each, start your kids off on a lifetime of service to their community with a NCGASA membership. I’ll get ‘em a job hauling wine at the next dinner/fundraiser. This seems to me to be the perfect way for the hundreds of Napa Valley outdoor enthusiasts to make a significant contribution to the future of our outdoors. Twenty bucks is less than a couple of flick tix — and will last longer. Please join me in support of NCGASA. We’ll need a bus to take us to the next dinner.
I’m thinking a gift membership will be the perfect holiday stocking stuffer for most of our friends and loved ones.
Who Better Than St. Helena … to mobilize our robust outdoor enthusiast base? We can create the “St. Helena Chapter” of the NorCal Guides and Sportsmen’s Association. Working title: “NCGASA/St Helena.” Let’s see how it plays; send me an e-mail when you join and we’ll count the numbers.
I guessing we can get active members to make a difference regarding an improved outdoors for our kids to enjoy. Nope, you don’t have to be a fisher or hunter. I’ve had dozens of readers stop me on Main Street to remark about the column. Many say that they aren’t active outdoors enthusiasts but like to read about those who are. As you can see, “NCGASA/St. Helena” is already a big tent.