The newly formed B.C. chapter of the North American-based Backcountry Hunters and Anglers hosted an open house at the Days Inn in Cranbrook on March 8.
“The turnout and response to our open house was successful beyond our Backcountry Hunters and Anglers expectations,” said Chairperson Bill Hanlon from Sparwood. “We signed up 23 new members and spread the positive word about who we are and what we represent.
“We believe that this support shows the BCHA message resonates with a wide variety of people.”
The capacity crowd learned more about the fledgling Canadian branch of the organization and listened to guest speaker Land Tawney, Executive Director of the BCHA from Missoula, Montana. Tawney said that protecting backcountry opportunities, proper watershed management, and fair chase hunting were some of the priority issues for the group on both sides of the border.
Tawney also fielded questions from the audience. He was asked several questions — including one about important projects the BCHA was working on south of the border, and also why he thought an organization like the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers was important to all backcountry users.
“One of our signature projects lies in the heart of Idaho in the Clearwater Basin,” Tawney said. “We have been working for over five years with ranchers, loggers, ATV users, local elected officials and other conservation organizations to come up with a watershed-wide project that gives certainty to all.
“The backcountry experience we think is important to all that use it, regardless if you hunt or fish. The solitude, challenge, and the rewards that come with the backcountry not only help us pass on our outdoor heritage to future generations, but in addition, clean, cold water for all.”
Tawney said he was “very excited about the new B.C. chapter because it has so much energy and potential.”
The B.C. chapter is comprised of a seven-member board of directors, including four from the Kootenays: Bill Hanlon and Sam Medcalf from Sparwood, Aden Stewart from Cranbrook and Corey Phelps from Creston.
For more information check the website www.backcountryhunters.org.