Sportsman & Recreation Day on the Land
July 15, 2017
It’s never easy planning an event, especially one in northern Arizona in the summer. We learned that this year by having to reschedule our third Sportsman and Recreation Day on the Land, an annual event still trying to find the best season, because of conflicts with similarly-themed events in the area. However, despite the calendar changes, the event went off without much fuss!
The event was started in 2015 in order to help bridge the growing relationship divide between land users and land managers and owners. Most of the former are hunters, fishermen, and hikers, and the latter are ranchers and agency officials. It’s not an obvious schism, but the Diablo Trust ranches have noticed that their relationships with hunters and other recreators have been strained in recent years, if those relationships exist at all.
In true Diablo Trust style, the event is science and action-based, expressing common concerns of all parties through presentation and hands-on exploration of the landscape. This year the Day on the Land was held at Kinnikinick Lake on the Flying M Ranch (Coconino National Forest), and the focus was on fish and the water.
The first presenter was Ian Harrison, Freshwater Specialist with the Moore Center for Science at Conservation International and Technical Officer to the Global Chair with the IUCN-SSC/Wetlands International Freshwater Fish Specialist Group. He started the day with an overview of the history of global freshwater conservation, and explaining a bit about the threats still facing conservation efforts: climate change, pollution, and overuse and improper use of the world’s scarce freshwater supplies.
Our second presentation was by Shelly Shepherd, Information and Education Program Manager with the AZ Game and Fish Department (AGFD) in Flagstaff. She brought the focus more towards the Southwest, discussing the social and financial side of outdoor recreation, including hunting, angling, backpacking, and bird-watching. Conserving and maintaining our open spaces is not in danger, but many recreation groups use more than they put into the pot. We had a short Q&A session about possible solutions.
The third and final presentation for the morning was from Scott Rogers, Fisheries Program Manager with the AGFD. He took the day’s topic to an even finer level, speaking directly about fish and fishing in northern Arizona. Scott described some projects being proposed to enhance the habitat in various lakes for fish, and how he and his team decides to stock each lake around the state.
Lunch was a delicious picnic spread put together by Diana Kessler, Linda Blosser, and Kit Metzger. We used reusable diningware from Friends of Flagstaff’s Future - as with all of our events we are endlessly thankful for the contributions and dedication of our friends and neighbors!
After lunch were a series of “regular” presentations: Tom Mackin, Diablo Trust Wildlife Committee Chair; Steve Cassady, AGFD Landowner Relations Specialist; Hymer from the Raymond Wildlife Area; and Kit Metzger from the Flying M Ranch.
We were threatened by rain after lunch, but fortunately only a few drops fell on us! (The rain came back when we left, to Kit’s delight!) We do apologize for not warning everyone about the rough roads.
The 2017 Annual Sportsman & Recreation Day on the Land was a day of fun education, and we look forward to the event in 2018!