Messages From The President
Life sometimes takes unexpected turns. So it was with our recently completed State-wide raffle. When the first prize winner was picked out of the hundreds of ticket stubs and George Nimmo was announced as the lucky one, immediately some of those in attendance recognized the name. Back in 1969 George was one of a small group of local conservationists who were at the center of opposition to the Tocks Island Dam project. (you can learn more about this project by visiting the links below). It also was this small group of activists led by Fred S. Burroughs that, in the same year, laid the ground work and founded our Trout Unlimited Chapter, the first of its kind in New Jersey.
Fast forward to 1975, when the dam was disapproved by a majority vote of the Delaware River Basin Commission. One of our present charter members, Chet Johnstone recalls that it was George Nimmo who called him from Trenton on that fateful day with the words “we won!”. Chet had not seen nor been in contact with George for many years, and when I approached Chet to find out if he would be interested in meeting up with George over lunch, we had a plan. So on Tuesday after Easter, Chet, Danny Rodriguez (another old timer) and myself got together with George and his wife Jeanne at Bill’s Luncheonette in Chester, NJ. What a reunion and what a lovely time of reminiscing and reflecting on the old times! Too much to mention all of it here, but of course there was the dam, many prior leaders and old friends, George’s service as vice president, treasurer, State Council representative and finally his recognition as a honorary Life Member of State Council. At one point, George became melancholic. He explained how his “mom required more and more of his time and care, he got married and had a child and he left his chosen profession, never to return. TU took a back seat….and eventual his eyes failed him – trout fishing became the odd man out. Not bitter – just realistic – sometimes we have to play the hand life deals us, and so it came to past, he said. The last time he wet a line was in 1999, in the Adirondacks.
Nothing more for me to add, except to say two things: “Thank You” to all you [old] guys who have done so much for our cause, and to call on today’s newer members to hold high the torch they lit in 1969.
George left me with a P.S. when he wrote to me after the meeting. I want to share it with you:
I’d like to leave you with a quote from the late Fred S. Burroughs, Princeton University, Class of 1937: “The greatest rewards of any organization are not necessarily the accomplishments of the organization, but rather, the human relations that are made”. Fred was right back then and he’s still right.
More about our past:
Ghost Waters: Tocks Island https://vimeo.com/142291370
History Lesson by Chet Johnstone: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByKX8aiq9xVoNUpjVFFJZDFMc2M/edit
The leadership in all the Trout Unlimited chapters is represented by individual groups of committed volunteers that, over time, find themselves in a constant motion of change. This is no different in our chapter. One such change came upon us just recently, and this one is worthy of special mention. Chapter member John Nordstedt, for many years the tireless dynamo providing much needed energy to the chapter, a past membership chair and vice president, and the recipient of the TU New Jersey State Council’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award, is saying good-bye to the cold climate of New Jersey, and moving to the West Coast of Florida. His single-handed leadership at the helm of the 2016 Sparta Glen Restoration Project must be ranked as one of the most significant achievements in our chapter’s history. John is leaving us a great many wonderful memories and a profound sense of gratitude for all his contributions to our cause. I believe to be speaking on behalf of all of our members when expressing to John our heartfelt thank you and our very best wishes for his life’s new Florida chapter. Be well John, have fun chasing mullet and snook, and stay in touch.
Changes inherently also bring renewal. We consider ourselves fortunate to have found in Rich Egge, Dean Blumetti and Derek Groff, three members who have come forward and volunteered to fill the board vacancies that we experienced in the past months. The chapter’s affairs are in the hands of a great group of people, and we look forward to a productive and rewarding 2017. But change will be in the winds again before long. At the end of this year, both the Treasurer Tom Mount and I will have completed our statutory two-year term. Yes, it’s only February, but it is not too early for all of you to start thinking and begin to do some soul searching now.
On March 25 the chapter is holding its Annual Fund Raising Banquet at Perona Farms in Sparta, NJ. Please come and join us, it always has been an evening filled with comradery, renewal of old friendships and just plain old fun. Your support is welcomed and needed.
As to 2017, we will soon publish a full calendar of activities and events that your chapter will sponsor or participate in. Please spend some time to look it over, you no doubt will find some opportunities where you can volunteer your time and talents for the good of our cause.
Thank you for listening!
As the year is rapidly moving to a close, this is a good time to look back and re-live our accomplishments and look forward and think of our path ahead for the months to come.
2016 saw one of the most ambitious projects this chapter ever has undertaken come to a remarkably successful completion: the Sparta Glen Brook Restoration. With the help and support of various government agencies, conservation organization, local businesses (see web site), and countless volunteer hours, the stretch of brook that flows through the Sparta Glen Park in Sparta, NJ, has been given a new life and, over time, will again be able to support fauna and flora like it always had in years gone by. We all can be proud of this accomplishment and of our chapter’s contribution to its calling – the conservation of our local fresh water habitats.
Continued stewardship of the Sparta Glen Brook will be key to the long term success of this undertaking. It is my sincere hope that we were successful in creating a continuing interest by the governing body of Sparta Township and Sparta’s population at large, in preserving and protecting this valuable and irreplaceable local natural resource for the future enjoyment of all.
Back down to earth…. These past months were filled with fishing trips to the Salmon and the Ausable rivers, a river clean-up along the banks of the Flat Brook, participation at Project Healing Waters Veterans events, sponsorship of the Jefferson Youth Fishing Derby, planting and/or education events on the Sparta Glen Brook, the Paulinskill River and at the Pequest Trout Hatchery, and many others too numerous to mention. To sum it all up: The Chapter is active and very much dedicated to making a difference. Thank you to all who made a contribution to this end.
But there is no resting on our laurels. Going forward, we must not avoid addressing our challenges. On top of the heap is our mission to continue to create awareness in our local communities of the importance of conserving our coldwater resources and to offer up our chapter as a “home” to those wanting to become active participants in this endeavor. To do this, we will need to embrace with enthusiasm the expanding of our efforts to redefine our core message and then to deliver it to our target audience through todays communication channels. With this in mind, I look forward to an exciting and busy 2017.
With my very best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving Weekend, and all good things and thoughts for the Holidays.
See you all at our Annual Holiday Party on the 21st of December, at the VFW Post in Sparta NJ!
We are kicking off our 2016/2017 opener with a presentation covering the WEST BRANCH OF THE FARMINGTON RIVER, a classic tail water in north-western Connecticut. There is something for everyone on the Farmington: Classic dry fly pools. Mysterious pockets for nymphing. Spirited runs to swing wets and streamers.
Our presenter and guest speaker will be Steve Culton, a teaching guide who has been fishing Connecticut’s Farmington River for over 40 years. If you are interested in learning new methods, fishing new flies, or just expanding your general knowledge base, all while being introduced to the Farmington, Steve Culton is for you. Don’t miss this, come meet with friends and enjoy!
Over the next few weeks, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities in store for all. During the first half of October, we again will deliver rainbow trout eggs from the Pequest Trout Hatchery to about 21 participating TIC schools. I will coordinate this season’s TIC program, so please contact me, if you are interested in helping. Furthermore, on October 14, a group of students from the Pope John Paul High School in Sparta plans to spend a day at the Sparta Glen Brook planting additional trees and participating in various conservation activities. We are in need of chapter members to be present in support of this ongoing effort in the Glen. Also in October on a Saturday yet to be determined, we are looking for Chapter Volunteers do help with some in-stream remedial work, such as repositioning rocks and small boulders that are believed to have been shifted by local youth over the summer, while cooling off in the Glen.
Last but not least, Rich Egge has generously offered his time and talents to become our next Chapter Vice-President, succeeding our ever so committed John Nordstedt. Thank you Rich! We will place Rich’s name in nomination for confirmation by the membership at the September 21 chapter meeting.
A warm welcome back to all, after these long, hot and dry summer months.
“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” Sam Keen
Summer is upon us, and with it we get to enjoy the luxury of allowing ourselves to indulge in what Sam Keen describes so poignantly. In this spirit, I wish you all a wonderful and lazy time ahead, until we see each other again on September 21at the next membership meeting!
But not all things will take a rest in the meantime: On July 9 our chapter is sponsoring the Annual Youth Fishing Derby on Weldon Pond in Jefferson Township, and on August 8 we will have a presence at the New Jersey State Fair held at the Sussex County Fair Grounds. A good number of volunteers have agreed to help with the Fishing Derby, but we still are looking for volunteers to help out at our table at the NJ State Fair. If you are interested, please contact me at 973-222-4559. We always have a good time and find lots of interest when sharing our passion with the general public at this event.
Oh! And let’s not forget about the Annual Chapter Picnic at Camp Mohican on Saturday, August 13. Please check the newsletter for details, and skip the breakfast that morning to have room for the dogs, burgers, fish fry and more. Don’t miss this this opportunity to mingle.
I also have some other very good news to share with all of you. Dean Blumetti, relatively new to our chapter, but not at all new to TU, has graciously offered to lead our conservation efforts as the chair person of the conservation committee. This is a key position on our chapter’s board, and I invite all members to lend their full support and helping hand to Dean. Thank you Dean!
All for now. Enjoy and make the best of these summer days, check the water temperature, and give the fish a break when it reaches seventy degrees. If you can, you may want to consider doing the same for yourself . Remember the introduction – it’s now respectable.
Summer is just around the corner, and so is our first membership meeting on June 15 at its new location at the VFW Post, 66 Main Street, in Sparta NJ. With all the efforts and resources our chapter recently has put into the Sparta Glen Restoration Project, selecting the town of Sparta as the location for our new home base makes for a perfect ending to our Sparta Glen story.
Speaking of Sparta, at the upcoming June 14 Sparta Town Council Meeting, our chapter will receive an honorable mention from the Township Council. The meeting starts at 7.30 PM, it would be nice to see many of you there.
Mark your calendar: June 10-12 with the chapter’s AuSable trip; August 8 with the New Jersey State Fair at the Sussex County Fair Grounds, and August 13 with the chapter picnic at Camp Mohican near Blairstown, NJ. Please refer to the newsletter for details.
So for now, keep cool, keep fishing, and consider taking a leadership position in helping to shape our chapter’s conservation role in the years to come.
At the upcoming membership meeting on Wednesday, May 18, there will be a special treat waiting for you: Our featured guest speaker is no less than Jay “Fishy” Fullum, fly tyer and comedian par excellence. To quote a comment from the internet: To know Fishy is a privilege to say the least. He has a sense of humor that does not quit! His knowledge in fly tying and fly fishing is above and beyond most people you have ever met.
You do not want to miss this opportunity! Be there!
Looking back, this past month must have been one of the busiest in the history of our chapter. While the events were dominated by the 6-day in-stream work and riparian
planting weekends in the Sparta Glen Park, our volunteers also participated in four days of Flatbrook float stocking, a clean-up day on the same water, and a Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing outing on the education pond at the Pequest Trout Hatchery.
Other than for float stocking, May promises to provide some welcome relief for those overworked volunteers. So go out there, chase some fish, snag some flies and enjoy spring time and the land awakening anew.
The excitement is about to begin in Sparta Township’s Glen Ravine. On April 5, weather permitting, the in-stream work to restore a section of the Sparta Glen Brook is set to begin. We all have walked the path to this moment together, some a bit more, some a bit less, and a long journey it was: almost three years from the first thought to the present. Thank you and congratulations to all who volunteered their talents and contributed in their own ways, and now the best of luck and success with the job at hand in the Glen.
Once again, the chapter can proudly look back at a very successful annual banquet event, held on March 19 at Perona Farms in Sparta. We all were honored by the presence of Congressman Scott Garrett, Sparta Mayor Christine Quinn and Sparta Township Engineer Eric Powell. It was wonderful to listen as they all shared with us some of their personal thoughts and memories of the Glen’s past. Special thanks are in order to Glen and Sue and to all the others, for putting their heart and soul into making it all happen.
I also want to mention our last chapter meeting, during which the membership voted to change the meeting venue from the current location at Camp Jefferson to the VFW hall in Sparta, NJ. The first meeting at the VFW is scheduled for June 15. More details will become available on our web site and also in the newsletter.
Some up-coming dates to remember:
Time to dust-off your rods and reels! And to those die-hards who have never put them down for the winter break, dust them off anyway! Wishing all of you a fulfilling and fishy 2016 trout season.
During our February membership meeting, those in attendance were given a special opportunity to get up-close and personal with the current state of the Sparta Glen Brook Restoration happenings. Following a illustrated overview by John Nordstedt, Sparta Engineer Eric Powell, Brian Cowden of Urbany Fisheries, and Nathaniel Sajdak of the Wallkill River Watershed Management Group, each spoke of their particular involvement with this undertaking up to now and once it starts in early April, and beyond. I am certain that for many of you this may have been the first time you became fully aware of just how large an undertaking the Sparta Glen has become.
More on Sparta Glen: at this time, posters and video spots are going up all over Sparta, promoting the project and inviting volunteers. Look for them in the library, town hall, supermarkets and other public locations. Furthermore, a public presentation on the subject will be given at the Sparta Library on March 9, at 7 PM. Hope some of you can be there.
During the past month, our chapter learned of Gary Ervey’s decision to make room for someone else to take over the reins of our conservation chair. Gary is known by many of us as a dedicated member and conservationist, with many accomplishments to his name, including log jam removals on the Big Flat Brook, two kiosk installations, giving Sue Reed beginners lessons on an excavator, and many others. Gary deserves our wholehearted thanks for all he has contributed in the past.
For many of us, April marks the start of the 2016 trout fishing season. Opening day is April 9. NJ Fish and Wildlife will again be stocking many of New Jersey’s trout streams, including some of them during the pre-season. We are fortunate that Ed Sinning again has agreed to manage the chapter’s float stocking of the Flat Brook. Please offer to help when he begins to look for volunteers. Ed will also be leading the annual Big Flat Brook clean-up, which is scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 16.
So many more things to talk about, but I am heeding the recommendation from some of you, to keep it shorter…. this time!
Winter finally caught up with all of us this past month, and when it did, it was with a vengeance. Fortunately what fell from the skies was light and fluffy, and other than for volume, did not present much of a challenge of clearing.
At our January membership meeting, we were treated to a spectacular presentation by Jim and Joan Flagler of Tight Lines Production in Califon, NJ. On the subject of fishing New Jersey’s streams in January. His presentation included exquisite video documentations of the variations of the many small critters that call their home in the depths of the South Branch of the Raritan river. He also shared with us his knowledge of how to trout fishing this time of the year and what kind of rigging to consider. Great presentation, thank you Tim!
A few days ago, the first Project Healing Waters Fly Tying event of this year was held at the Veteran’s Heaven North Facility in Glen Gardner. Three members of our chapter help Bobby Jacinto make the evening event into a success. Unfortunately, this time attendance was light, but for very understandable reasons.
Our community outreach efforts in Sparta, NJ on behalf of the Sparta Glen Restoration Project are beginning to bear fruit. The students at the graphics department of the Sparta High School are busy designing posters for placement in local public places and businesses. A three slide video presentation currently runs in both the Public Library and the Municipal Building. Several businesses, including Lakeland Bank and Stop & Shop have given us assurances that they will display the posters, or run the video presentation on their television monitors.
Detail logistics plans for both the in-stream and the riparian planting work phases were finalized at an operations meeting that brought all the important restoration players together, and was hosted by the Township Engineer. Things are really coming together now!
Finally, this past weekend eleven chapter volunteers were staffing our donation table over the span of three days at the annual Somerset Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, NJ. The show was well attended, and the proceeds from our raffle ticket sales are on their way to the bank, where they will be held, until it is time to start spending some money for the Sparta Glen Project. My thank-you to all who donated their time and goodwill to this effort.
Remember! At the February membership meeting, in lieu of a speaker’s presentation, there will be an important update on the Sparta Glen Brook Restoration. The discussion Panel will include all major players in the project, including Sparta School and Civic organization leaders. Please make an effort to attend.
Dates to remember: February 17 - Membership Meeting; April 16 – Flatbrook Clean-Up. Please visit our web site for details.