T.R. on the Democracy of Wilderness

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress.

From its very nature, the life of a hunter is evanescent; and when it has vanished there can be no real substitute in old settled countries. Shooting in a private game preserve is but a dismal parody; the manliest and healthiest features of the sport are lost with the change of conditions. We need, in the interest of the community at large; a rigid system of game laws rigidly enforced, and it is not only admissible, but one may also say necessary, to establish, under the control of the State, great national forest reserves, which shall also be breeding grounds and nurseries for wild game; but I should much regret to see grow up in this country a system of large private game preserves, kept for the enjoyment of the very rich. One of the chief attractions of the life of the wilderness is its rugged and stalwart democracy; there every man stands for what he actually is, and can show himself to be. -Theodore Roosevelt

T.R. ivia

What drug was commonly used to help asthmatic children during T.R.’s childhood? Send your answer to info@trcp.org or submit it on the TRCP Facebook page for your chance to win a TRCP camo hat! If you’re stumped, ask for a hint on our Facebook page.

Congratulations to David Kidd from Westminster, Colo., for answering last month’s question correctly.

Last month’s question: Where did T.R. shoot his first deer?

The answer: T.R. shot his first deer in New York’s Adirondack Mountains when he was a boy. He shot it by torchlight or jacklight, a practice he later helped outlaw.

Al Perkinson

Q: What is your fondest hunting or angling memory?

There are many, but I’d have to say that I really enjoyed my trip to Panama with my friend Chris Fischer and my son, Reid. We went through the Panama Canal at night, fished at Tropic Star Lodge and made a trip up the Darien River to visit some native tribes – escorted by armed guards to protect us from the FARC rebels. What a great adventure.

Q: What led you to your career in conservation?

I’ve always been involved in the not-for-profit world. My dad was a college president and I studied arts management at Columbia University. Since being at Costa, I’ve had a chance to combine my love of the outdoors with my desire to get involved and protect it. I’m very fortunate in that regard.

Q: How did you get involved with the TRCP?

Whit Fosburgh and I got to know each other when he was at Trout Unlimited. He introduced me to TRCP and the great work they’re doing in fisheries management.

Q: What do you think are the most important conservation issues facing sportsmen today?

The urbanization of America is the most important issue. A greater and greater percentage of Americans are moving to urban centers. This is causing a decline in the number of people who hunt and fish and otherwise enjoy the outdoors. If people don’t enjoy the outdoors, they won’t value it, and they won’t care about protecting it. I fear the day will come when kids only experience the outdoors through reality TV and video games. Our top priority should be to instill a love of the outdoors in our youth.

Q: What are your hopes for the future of the TRCP and how can Costa and the sportfishing community help us realize those dreams?

The environmental and conservation communities must join forces and get behind practical solutions if we hope to succeed at protecting our waters and fish populations. I think that the TRCP is helping to make that happen and so I’m more optimistic about the future because of the efforts of the organization. Others can help by putting the well-being of our environment ahead of politics.

Q. Tell us a little bit about your recent award as one of Outdoor Life’s 25 Most Influential People in Hunting and Fishing.

It’s an honor to be included. Outdoor Life has a rich tradition and is one of the most respected publications in the industry. The award is as much for Costa as it is for me. Everyone at Costa is very mission driven. All of their hard work produces the revenue that allows us to give to conservation. We tell our employees that the more they sell, the more we can give. It is such a motivational message for them.