by Carmen Macdonald
It dawned on me a few years back and I've been rolling it around in my head, but here goes- The $25 membership to organizations is not getting it done.
The industry created by the Endangered Species Act, urbanization, NEPA lawsuits and politically-active no-touch preservationist organizations has raised the bar. And I guess it's not solely those things, the cost of everything has risen, and with it the cost of an effective organization has too.
In the past, fishing and hunting organizations were operated like social clubs. We came out to share each other's company, create goals, and pursue those goals with Fish and Wildlife Departments that both shared and understood our goals, values and contributions to society.
We've lost that.
Members of your state legislature are no longer anglers and hunters. They don't buy licenses, they don't participate, they don't know anything about you or I. Increasingly, Fish and Wildlife Department personnel are non-participants.
With each step taken by a hunting and fishing organization, the mountain being climbed simply gets taller. The sad fact is that though you might spend $200 on fishing and hunting licenses and tags, modern politics almost requires the expenditure of another few hundred to ensure those opportunities exist in the future.
I'd love to be deeply involved with organizations, but at this time and place in my life, I'm unwilling to make that commitment of time. However, there are other ways I can contribute.
I made a simple commitment to myself a few years back. I realized the membership dues don't really convert much to actual usable dollars. The cost of servicing a membership is very close to the membership itself. My commitment is to attend a banquet and buy an auction item.
It's a simple win, win. I receive great experiences and relationships and the organizations receives funding that goes beyond membership and into working capitol.
My organization of choice is CCA, the Coastal Conservation Association. I see in CCA the very best organizational structure to accomplish goals and a fiercely dedicated leadership group that goes above and beyond. I also see an organization that is constructed to welcome my voice and has ample opportunities to get deeply involved when and where I desire. Whether the state or national level, CCA has a vehicle for the regular angler to be heard.
A couple nights ago I ran into Jim Mickel, owner of RB Boats and it was an instant reminder that the Willamette Falls Chapter of CCA's banquet is coming up on Saturday, April 2nd. Ticket holders are automatically entered in a Spring Chinook Derby that takes place the week prior.
For the record, last year my team members took 1st and 2nd place. I encourage any and all to buy a ticket and unseat us... call it a challenge. We're in it to win it baby!
You can't miss at this event. An included derby, good food, great people and a positive future for our favorite pastime.
Here's the list of upcoming CCA Banquets:
Corvallis Saturday, March 19th
Willamette Falls Saturday, April 2nd
Tillamook Saturday, April 16th
Salem Saturday, April 23rd
Saturday, April 30th
Mount Hood Friday, May 6th
Saturday, May 14th
Portland Metro TBD
South Willamette Valley Friday, July 15th
South Coast Saturday, August 27th
Oregon State TBD
Also on Saturday, April 2nd is the Association of Northwest Steelheaders Salmon Quest event.
And the following weekend, the Fisherman's Marine & Outdoor Spring Fishing Classic is up on Saturday, April 9. The same thought applies for these Northwest Steelheaders and Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association benefit events. Enter the event, get great swag, have a great day and buy an auction item as your contribution to the future of fishing. Check out the CCA Pacific Northwest website here. Connect with the Northwest Steelheaders here. And find the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association here.