Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Words of Wisdom ...

Dave Richey preparing to photograph a big muskie My good friend and colleague, Dave Richey has been 'off-line' for a while, as his blog was being rebuilt. He's now back in the saddle and riding as straight as ever.

His first blog in weeks demonstrates that when you're 'hot' - you're hot! No time away, no matter how aggravating to him, dampened, nor burred his writing edge.

This is not only classic Richey writing, but it's just good sense. Real good sense. And since Dave is a living example of both tenacity, talent and tested in said topic - his words are very well worth reading ... and heading close attention to.

Read Dave's latest piece, Never Take Your Vision for Granted and dip into the dozens of other postings on his newly updated site at Outdoors With Dave Richey. And to keep up on his move into the New Media horizon, keep an eye on his new web site, too: Dave Richey OUTDOORS.

Following Dave's good sense advice, we should - as well - never take for granted the availability of such good writing as found in every Dave Richey article and post.

O'fieldstream

PS... Dave has a regular gig now, writing the Sunday column for the Traverse City (MI) Record-Eagle newspaper. If you don't subscribe to the TR Record-Eagle, you can catch his article and links to his blog on the paper's website. Dave pieces are under: Outdoors. Dave is the Outdoor/Local Columnist for the Record-Eagle.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

O'fieldstream Meets Dave Richey

The past week I ventured north of my normal parallel, to the lands of the tip of the mitten in lower Michigan; not to be confused with the UP - that would be the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I stopped just south of that fair land to venture near the near southern shores of Gichigoomi ... near the beautiful little town on north shores of Lake Michigan, called Traverse City.

My mission was to meet up with, spend a few days with and lend a hand to a legendary wordsmith of outdoor writing, literature and sage advice on all things natural and otherwise outdoors. This legend also happens to be a very good friend and collegue in the Outdoor Writers Association of America. This sage outdoor writer is none other than one of outdoor writings humble and gracious giants: Dave Richey.

Here is a short interview, on some random topics, with the venerate Wordsmith of Michigan.

O'fieldstream: So, Dave, if we were to go afield today for - say, Pike - where would we go and what would be your choice of bait?

Dave Richey: If we would be fishing, it would be in nearby Green Lake. My choice of fishing lures is the old-time red-and-white Dardevle, a proven pike lure. We would surely get into some very nice fish just before sundown. Demonstrating once again the trusty Dardevle's beastly prowess would prove to save the day.

O'fieldstream: But, alas this was a business trip and we are indoors for the duration. The next time I come up we will have to get outdoors. So, with fall hunting season barreling down upon us, what do you have planned for this years fall deer hunt?

Dave Richey: We had a neighbor boy dig us a shooting pit not 100 yards from the back door. It's deep and large enough to accommodate complete concealment and freedom of shooting. The target distance is within an easy 20 yards. We had to cut trees out for our satellite hook-up, so I decided to convert the open area to deer forage. We planted clover and wild beets. It's amazing how much they've grown in the short time. We expect to see deer moving through any day now.

O'fieldstream: I walked that 'plot' with you today and it looks really good. So, what are your chances for a deer in there?
Dave Richey: Well, if the deer comes through, I or Kay will get the deer. In thirty-one years of hunting I've only needed one shot to kill, with a bow or gun, every deer I've hit. But, we'll have to see if the deer choose to walk the 'path' first.

O'fieldstream: You all have had some nice rains up here in the upper Michigan Thumb over the past couple of weeks. Have the salmon begun to move? And how do you fish for them?

Dave Richey: Yes we have; much needed, too. It's been a very dry here in this section of Michigan - as it has been in many places around the country. As to the salmon, yes, they have begun to move. As you know, if you were not leaving on Wednesday we could take advantage of a slot on the Bessie River. I will be fishing there on Thursday. We will use the regular compliment. Near the mouth we use the spawn-sack bait. It's highly effective and is not intended to offer anything but harvest as a result of catching the fish. But this year I want to test out and develop a method for taking salmon, further up the river, on a dry fly. It will be difficult but I believe it will also be a great addition to the fun of the season.

O'fieldstream: Wow! Trib driven salmon on the dry. Now, that would be a noted accomplishment. Not only do I want to see it - I want to do that, too!

More on this interview later.

[Update: Sixteen salmon succumb to Dave's and companions presentations on their day on the Bessie. A joyful start to what will be a fine season of fishing.]

There is one cloud though, still hanging over Dave's fishing season this year - and every season for years to come.
Four years ago, on 10 September 2003, Dave's twin brother, George Richey, a noted fisherman, entrepreneur and outdoor writer in his own right, succumb to cancer. Dave lost his best friend and closest outdoor companion. He still misses George dearly, but he continues to hunt and fish with the memory of George by his side; in each and every season.

So, if you're dealing with such a loss, take a lead from Dave, there is no better commemorative that you can bequeath to your loved one's memory, than to keep the Heritage alive. Go fishing, hunting or whatever outdoor activity you do and be sure to Pass It On to a younger member of your neighborhood, family or friends. Passing on the love for our Outdoor Heritage is, to be sure, one of the finest gifts you can give in the memory of your lost companion.

Happy days afield or stream ... enjoy each day- no more will be added than those you spend afield or stream.

O'fieldstream

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What Happened to the, "Peaceful Walk in the Woods" ?

I read this morning, on the FlyFish@ (FF@) newsgroup list, a comment about, Women and their safety in the out of doors.

The author of the comments, Kim McDonald, an FF@ list member, pointed to the murders of a friend and her daughter in the area of Pinnacle Lake Trail near Mount Pilchuck in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, about 20 miles east of Granite Falls, Washington.

This senseless double homicide took place over a year ago and still no answers have surfaced as to the identity of the killer(s) or any indication as to motive - other than random mayhem. This is the most fearful part of this incident:
Who did it and Why? Because whomever is responsible is still out there.

Anyone who maintains a regular, active schedule in the woods and on the trails around the country - or at least keeps tabs on those who do - is painfully aware that a '
...peaceful walk in the woods' is becoming a very rare item.

  • It's not only Bambi who needs to fear 'man in the woods', but we ourselves.

It's not bedlam out there, at least not yet; at least not everywhere.

I can name a couple of dozen national and state forests, within close proximity to large urban areas; including most urban parks; that I would be _extremely_ hesitant about walking alone in without '
protection' of some kind. And, contrary to some thinking, the _last_ thing we need is an 'armed populace' walking the woods, forests, trails and parks !!!

Anyone who hunts east of the Big Muddy knows what it's like, even in a legally supported time frame, to be in the 'woods' with the average less-than-prepared possessor of a license and weapon during hunting season! There are entire areas of states - in the mid-west - where
I REFUSE to hunt because of the density of imbecilic purchasers of hunting licenses and weaponry.

  • Note, I DID NOT refer to these persons as, Hunters... they're NOT!!!

This group of 'Yayhoos' - the group I've referred to as
"K-Mart Killers" for a number of years - don't hunt .. they only want to '...kill something!'.

These are the folks who go to K-Mart (or insert your own favorite Department store or Sporting Goods Store) and buy a gun, the week before the 'kill' (in some places the night before a 'kill' - yes, amazingly, there are still places you can do this!), and a box (or 10!) of shells to go 'kill' what they have no knowledge of except they want to,
"...kill something!". And that 'something' may or may not be on the license they purchased.

Thus in both cases: whether, the
Urban Danger Zone and the Mid-West Killing Fields, I choose not to enter. I chose to stay away for two reasons:

  1. I don't really have a 'death wish'
  2. I don't want to go to prison!

However, there is a huge flaw in my choice of action (no-action); and I know this. Therefore, I am as guilty as anyone else of fanning the underground-infero that continues to burn our eyes with its regular release of putrid, acrid smoke of the social fires they ignite and let smolder.

That 'flaw' is this...

  • The more the 'healthy' elements of a populace withdraw, the more the 'unhealthy' elements will expand.

This action, understandably done in an act of 'self-preservation', is actually
APPROVAL by ABDICATION.

When a populace refrains from, refuses or is afraid-to speak out _against_ something that runs contrary to healthy citizenship and society, then that action is, by default, given
carte blanche approval to those committing the unhealthy actions, to continue on, unabated.

  • Silence is golden; in a number of ways. It is also a double-edged sword.

If our society wants something to fear, then we should be 'very afraid' to not become imbalanced in our observance of _silence_
--- for whatever reason. Feel free to insert one or several of the other, often overused and little understood, words flaunted so easily on social conversations today, such as: tolerance, acceptance, open-mindedness, indulgence, lenience ... to name a few.. No, I don't prescribe we return to society run by bigotry, hatred and ignorance. That would be going backwards into the 'other ditch'! But, at the same time we don't need to jump clear across the 'line of social balance' and into the opposite ditch, either. There is a healthy social balance. Be we seem - dare I say - Doomed! - to repeat the mistakes of preceeding history. We just do not seem to grasp the concept that, behavior modification is not the same thing as behavior legislation.

Above all -
the reason to keep silent, MUST NEVER BE OUT OF FEAR. For when fear becomes society's driving force, that which is needed to reverse such a trend, is often far more frightening and destructive than the original cause of the fear itself.

A 'fear', which in many - if not most - cases is only a 'perceived thing' that is feared. Not a real entity to fear, but only an imagined entity.

Kim McDonalds's comments were made in response to a thread of discussions, stemming from an earlier post on the FF@ list. Long-time list member Dave Lewis posted a story of a recent, 'less-than-pleasant', encounter he had with two large dogs, near his home in West Yellowstone, MT. Dave also said the 'encounter' with the dogs' owners didn't offer much in the way of 'comfort', either.

Most of the ensuing comments were related to encounters with 'wild animals', but Kim addresses a very important and serious topic of having dogs on trails in the outdoors.

I can understand how Kim and other women - and quite frankly many men - would feel more 'comfortable' venturing into the outdoors with their canine companions. But, ONLY IF those canines are well-trained, under competent voice and hand command, and either
on-leash or within range and able to respond to command, allowing them to be 'put on leash' - if, and when, a human-encounter occurs.

This brings up the question, "What constitutes being 'armed' in the outdoors?" Is it only relegated to those who carry weapons that shoot bullets or buckshot? Or maybe to include the newer technolgies of pepper-spray cannisters or Taser-type stun-guns? Is it unrealistic to look at canine companions as 'armament' when walking the trails? I don't think so. Because, most people - and I would think the female population would be the highest percentage here - would have their canine companion, on a trail, as much for 'protection' as 'companionship'.

I submit that being 'armed on the trail' can be defined as possessing anything - on your 'person' or within quick access as needed - that could serve as an item of protection (aka, weapon) in the event you find yourself being physically threatened. Am I against this? My answer is a qualified, "No, not necessarily. But I believe we should be very careful in our mental attitude toward 'protection' as much. We need to limit the 'types of protection' we are willing to employ."

I have no objection whatsoever to a person taking whatever means necessary to defend themselves against physical harm. Be it a pop-cicle stick or a .44Magnum. BUT ... and this is a BIG BUT!!! ... every person who ventures into areas of questionable safety - or areas with such potential: and frankly folks, because of the variables in life, that's about anyplace on this orbiting blue ball!: should be well versed in how to protect themselves by doing the LEAST AMOUNT OF DAMAGE NECESSARY. Deadly action is NOT LEAST AMOUNT! A .44Mag is NOT LEAST AMOUNT!

But in the case of the two women tragically murdered - a canine companion - may or may not have prevented their deaths.. or even limited their injury. Dogs are susceptible to high-speed lead projectiles, too. Both women were shot. A dog could well have been shot as well.

It is terribly unfortunate, that our society has become such a 'clouded quagmire' of unknowns. The resultant dilemma, is a populace left wondering what they can do and at the same time falling under the paralyzing grip of fear; immobilizing most of us into doing nothing.

Discussions like this run the familiar path as Kim says in this part of her comment,

  • "Sorry, it [this] is one of those disputes on this list, like many others, where there are different opinions. There are certainly isolated cases of bad behavior of dogs and dog owners, just as there are isolated cases of bad behavior of just about everyone."

The most unfortunate thing is that humanity has left the trail of self-control. Getting back on the trail requires a serious change of mind. And Change is the most feared element on the human stage of life. Yet, it's only through Change that humans will ever realize the benefits of self-control, and all that we seek. Thus, we are living in the grip of a raging Catch-22.

So... what will be the generator of our necessary, 'Escape Velocity' ? Doubtless it will be a '...peaceful walk in the woods' .

O'fieldstream

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Indiana Rivers Rally: Day One

Indiana Rivers and Water Quality , Jane Frankenburger

Comments on Water Quality: (get date)
Water Quality: 1) not good enough 2) not well enough understood 3) conference should bring people together to work on answers.

Fish and Mussels in Indiana Rivers, Brant Fisher, IDNR

211 species of fishes in IN rivers; many are invasive species compared to those located in the native rivers and streams before European colonization.

Four major drainages in IN: Kanakee, Ohio, L Michigan L. Erie

Indiana streams and rivers have a very diverse and abundant list of fish. The minnow family is quite abundant, with many of the darters, sunfish, the lake sturgeon are on the endangered species list.

Typical cross-section of fishes are the darters, minnows, sunfish, sucker and catfish. A few others species are found in various waters.

Mussels 19 expterpated, 6 endangered, 9 special concern. With the Ohio taking the hardest hit with exterpation. Clubshell mussel is a good example of a once wide ranging specie that is now relegated to only two streams: Fish Creek and Tippecanoe River.

The challenges and opportunities for Indiana rivers and streams is the same as we've had for years. It's just now that we need to get more people educated and in-line with the programs of interest.

Recreation and Indiana Rivers, Steve Morris IDNR Outdoor Recreation

96% of the land in Indiana is privately owned. This has a large impact on the recreation opportunities for Hoosiers.

Roughly 400K Hoosiers canoe and/or kayak. Doing the math from 6.3M Hoosiers, there are 19% of them who canoe or kayak.

Water Trail information is found in the IDNR's Hoosiers On The Move program.

Hoosiers show an interesting statistic in Indiana. Roughly 3M Hoosiers are also fisherman. The second most used reason for boating in IN is for fishing.

Ted Lebberman, contact to provide ideas and comments.

Indiana Rivers and Our Culture and History, Donn Werling, Allen County Historical Society

Donn's main comment, "... we have the opportunity to make history, not just be a part of it." We must know how to read the natural landscape: under the water and on the banks. The history and heritage that exists in IN must be understood to appreciate it. If we do not understand it - let alone know about it - we will not have a motivation to rebuild, restore and live in harmony with the land.

If we learn to read the land we will then begin to build the understanding for why we need to protect the waters and the land that surrounds it.

Donn mentioned the resource called the The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, compiled and edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites in the 19th C. This resource is valuable for pealing back the layers of history.

Donn closed by singing a song he wrote about rivers, "The Rivers we

IN: Economic Development/Tourism, Stan Lambert

The role of rivers in the IN economic history. Stanton provided a presentation on the current status of the economic developments along IN rivers.

Overview of various urban areas that are working on river area developments.

The state of Indiana has in its sights to become the leader in bio-life science and hi-tech industry. To do this, all members of the state must develop a new outlook on the economic approaches accomplished by Hoosiers.

The 'quality of life' factor - used by most companies in their choice of locations, is higher today than ever before.

Q&A

City wastewater treatment plants - bacteria only - or do they have to remove heavy metals and other waste problems? JF... response was totally political. Talk of TMBL's.

Benthic community: restoration post destruction? BF... yes, it can but the data and experience is very limited. Restocking is very difficult due to the variables and large areas
How long do mussels live? BF... growth rings in shell -rough idea: up to 50yrs+

Legal Issues around 'log jams' when using waterways? SM ... trespassing is common, due to using officially non-navigable streams; navigable streams allow it below high-water mark. Other issue: who is responsible for clean-up.

Biggest priority in topic area and what can public do to help?
DW .. Thoreau .. "heaven is under your feet as well as over your head"
JF... get involved in watershed projects.
BF ... anything we can do to improve water quality
SL ... we must have one camp that works together; Stanton used the word 'sustainability' - the idea is good, but we must remove this word from our vocabulary. We do NOT need sustainability, we need IMPROVEMENT.
SM ... bring those who are not in the 'non motorized' community on board.

Rivers Rock Around the World, Dennis Wichelns

No longer with the Rivers Institute but continues to collaborate.

The density of the human footprint, worldwide, is closely tied to the occurrences of water on the earth. Water is essential to life for all of the earth. Water is also closely tied to the development of a country. Many of the nations in Africa have been adversely affected by the lack of navigable waterways. Much of Africa is unpopulated, due to lack of water or too much water and the density of life threatening water borne diseases.

Wichelns explains the problems with water access and hydro-politics around the world, by focusing on the major hot spots around the world. Those hot spots are in the areas of the most densely populated areas on earth. Water and its use form the basis of major challenges in the hot hydro-political spots in the world will have future consequences for the rest of the world.

He also pointed out the problem growing in 3rd World countries making strides to gain position in the global economy while still having population growth well above the ability to handle such variance between industrial growth and human quality of life.

Wicheln pointed out the problem with technological advances being introduced into dense population areas of the world. The idea of tube wells made clean, healthy ground water available to the people in Pakistan. Before the wells, people were dying for lack of safe drinking water and lack of irrigation. Now, because the technology was so successful there is a huge problem with depletion of the ground water. The people will not give up their tube wells and the rivers will not have water forever.

Q&A

What about the melting of glaciers in the Asian water system .. are they reducing due to warming and what are the problems? DW... Yes, they are melting. When the planet warms there will be a huge increase in the water levels coming off the mountains and it will be a years long problem in excess. But when that is done there will be a huge drought as a result: no snowmelt.
What about invasive species in international waterways? DW ...Yes, must be but no his specialty.
International Organizations working to find solutions? DW ... Yes, the UN and CGIAR.ORG World Economic Forum: Water Initiative

Overall a very interesting day. A very good day for the first state-wide conference on rivers, ever held in the state of Indiana. We just hope this will not be the last. We also hope this will become and annual event... at least someplace in the state.

O'fieldstream

Indiana Rivers Rally: Opening Remarks

Opening remarks by: Brent Ladd


The Indiana Rivers Rally is for the people in this room. Indiana has the longest unimpeded waterway east of the Mississippi... the mighty Wabash River. Indiana has more miles of waterways than INDOT has in roadways. This should tell us something.

At the IRR there are between 180 and 200 people in attendance. This is a unique event in the history of Indiana waterways and a long time in coming. This should be a great opportunity for the members of the community who volunteer as well as work in the efforts toward waterways and resource utilization, conservation and preservation.

Comments by Molly Dodge: Hanover College Rivers Institute Co-Chair of the IRR.

Keynote Speaker: Tim Palmer "Rivers of America"

Originally from Pennsylvania, Tim has traveled the country in all directions in search of the rivers of America. Knew nothing about Indiana Rivers until Bill and Marty Mayer showed up at a PA "Dam Rally" .. with concerns for the streams in Indiana that were in danger of being damed and destroyed.

Side show on his journey to become an advocate for rivers and waterways in America.

Rivers are at the root of all people, no matter where they live on planet earth. Whether a river exists in the heartland of flat food producing country or in the idyllic lands of the mountains of the wild west or the slow, lazy flowing waterways of the deep south, to the now acidic waters of the northeast, waterways tug at our very soul. If they are lost, then we become as the father of the land ethic that is enjoying a resurgence, Aldo Leopold said about not wanting to live in a land with wildness.

Thus, for the sake of soul saving events that go far past the esoteric views of a purist, keeping waters flowing free and clean are essential to our very existence.

Tim, during his presentation talks about the efforts he has undertaken on his own personal photo-journey that culminated in his coffee table photo essay book. He is now working on another photo book about the restoration of riparian zones around the watersheds throughout the U.S.

The range of Tim's presentation is enormous and it takes in the full range of waterways .. rivers of life in the U.S., from the deep south to the west; from the northeast to the desert rivers. Then off to the northwest and the wilderness lands of Alaska.


Q&A

What did Tim call "Lake Powell"? Powell Mudhole

Photos taken, how? Mostly from land for best quality. Some from boats; from ladders; skis in the winter .. any way he can get the shot?

How many cameras lost over the years? Only dropped one camera into water. Dropped camera off cliff - but was not damaged. Tim still shoots film; using camera (Canon A-1) from 1984.

How many oars lost? One .. his 'stone-age' oar .. using stones attached the oars to provide 'free' balanced oars.

How did you get around and to all those places? He lived out of his van for 24 years. He and his wife lived out of their car in order to 'be on location'. He and his wife now live in a house in Oregon.

Does he confer with Native Americans? Yes.. wherever and whenever possible.

What are you currently working on now? Photographic book on Trees due out in '08; Sierra Nevada book due out in a few months; published by Heyday Publishing.

O'fieldstream

Indiana Rivers Rally

West Lafayette, IN 7 June 2007

Today is the first day of the 3 day conference which many in the water and resource community has been awaiting for years. The Indiana Rivers Rally conference being held at Purdue University today - 7 June - through Saturday 9 June, is a gathering of the most interested and motivated of people working for the conservation, preservation, restoration and facilitation of Indiana's Hoosier Waterways.

Scientists, municipalities, non-profits and commercial enterprises all, will meet to discuss, debate and plan for the better use of the water and resources supportive to water in Indiana, for now and into the future. Many in the water community have great hope for the promises this meeting should bring about.

We at O'fieldstream are actively involved in the conference and will be reporting on the daily activities. If possible, we will blog directly from the conference. If not we will bring you daily updates. We are, unfortunately, only able to attend the first two (2) days of the conference, but we will obtain a 'stringer' to record the main events of Saturday 9 June in our absense.

Read about the objectives, mission and participants of the Indiana Rivers Rally on their official website. Also, you can read about the various organizations that are pushing this years meeting on the TippeFlyFisher; one of our satellite blogs.

Please... take the time to read about the conference. This will be your only way to find out what is happening at this conference as it is not open to the public. Again, remember this is the first year for the conference. We are sure there will be changes - very good ones at that - coming for the use and conservation of Hoosier waterways. As well, we hope to see next years' conference open up to a broader audience. At least that will be the O'fieldstream input.

Stay tuned ....

O'fieldstream