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SPECIAL SECTION: The Upper Valley Home Improvement Guide

March - April 2014 VOL. 9 NO. 1

Stormtracker : Upper Valley Native

Jim Cantore page


Cute! Baby Animals at Billings Farm What to put in that empty flowerpot? Ask Edgewater Farm $4.95 U.S. Display until May 1, 2014


Things to Do This Spring

Quick Looks Hanover, N.H.


Trout Unlimited By R e b e c c a S i e g e l

Think about how you might describe the geographic boundaries of the area where you live. Maybe you’d mention major roads, population centers, town borders or county lines. When Ron Rhodes and Ken Grecsek describe the contours of the Upper Valley chapter of Trout Unlimited, they name rivers: the Sugar, the Mascoma, the Waits, the Ompompanoosuc, the White and the Ottauquechee. The Upper Valley chapter, founded in 1969 in Hanover, N.H., is one of 400 Trout Unlimited (TU) chapters in the country. And it’s the only one of the 12 chapters in New Hampshire and Vermont to span the border between states. Like many others, Grecsek and Rhodes found their way to Trout Unlimited because of their love of fishing. Both fished as kids. Grecsek, the chapter’s president, grew up across from a river. “I didn’t know anything about fish species then; I just loved to fish,” he says. Rhodes’ grandfather owned a sporting goods store and “had a fishing rod in his hand from the time [he] was 2 years old.” Both also understood early on there would be no fishing if the rivers weren’t healthy, and so were drawn to the TU’s mission to conserve and protect fish habitats. “Oftentimes, people think of Trout Unlimited as a fly-fishing-only organization,” says Rhodes, who is the Upper Valley chapter member secretary. “That’s not true. Our focus is not on the fishing. It’s on the conservation of the resources. If you improve the resources, the fishing will be better.”


For example, for the last couple of years, the chapter has paid the tuition for one child each in Vermont and New Hampshire to attend an annual fly-fishing summer camp. And chapter volunteers participate in the “Trout in the Classroom” project, where students in Trout Unlimited members Lindsey and Ben plant willows and box elder trees along the banks of Ottauquechee River. grades K-12 raise brook trout and salmon A glance at the chapter’s Facebook from eggs and then release the fish into page gives you a feel for the variety of proj- local streams. Chapter funds also go to programs ects members are involved with: riverbank such as Hope on the Rise, a fishing retreat restoration on the White River in South for women with cancer, and Project HealRoyalton, Vt., to funding a fish ladder on ing Waters, which provides fly-fishing eduMill Brook in Pomfret, Vt., to tree plantcation and outings for disabled veterans. ing along Mink Brook in Etna, N.H. Their primary source of funds is a They’re able to accomplish all these banquet and raffle held every other spring. projects (and more) because of their Located at the Hotel Coolidge in White members. “All local chapters of TU are completely volunteer organizations. There River Junction, Vt., the banquet draws up to 125 attendees. is no paid staff,” says Rhodes. Members While TU members take habitat do projects, education and outreach, restoration and education seriously, they and accomplish most of the fundraising have a lot of fun while doing it. The chapthemselves. ter Facebook page is busy with informaSays Grecsek, “Recruitment is our tion about fishing lessons, equipment chapter’s unspoken mission.” But that reswaps and, of course, opportunities to fish cruitment effort is widely dispersed. “We focus on the underserved or nontradition- together. We welcome anyone who loves fishing. All types of fishing,” says Rhodes. al population,” says Rhodes, by funding The Upper Valley chapter meets projects and encouraging involvement monthly at Upper Valley Outfitters in from people not ordinarily associated Lebanon, N.H. For more information, with fishing, including children, women visit their website http://tu226.wordand veterans. Upper Valley Life


March - April 2014


Upper Valley Life, Mar-Apr 2014