Inside Outdoor Retailer

Lessons from the Fishing market and the ‘Jim Range effect’

I just spent the past week in D.C. on an interesting mission; to advocate for the trade at OIA's Capitol Summit, and then a few days later to do the same for AFFTA, the Fly Fishing industry's trade association; their lobbying event was called the 'Jim Range National Casting Call'.  The OIA event was clearly organized at a high level, and put the industry agenda in front of some of the most important lawmakers in the Obama administration, including a face-to-face with former Colorado senator Ken Salazar, the new Dept. Of Interior Secretary and a key friend of the Outdoor industry in Washington.  A friend of the industry award was given to both Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) for their work on behalf of enhancing outdoor recreational opportunities for citizens in their respeective states and for advocating on the national stage.  The Casting Call was a different approach… a softer, closer to the ground affair that brought kids and lawmakers together to learn about fishing and the interface between recreation and environment.  Jim Range was the spearhead for this event 10 years ago,  and was a political dynamo who applied his passion for fishing to his work as a senior policy advisor to Senate Majority leader Howard Baker, chairman of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.  Sadly this was the first event after his passing in January, and the mood was both somber and reflective of his powerful spirit.  Read here to learn more about this amazing man's legacy of conservation advocacy.

The two approaches were markedly different, and both had great value for me personally as well as for the respective industry's I serve in my work here at Nielsen.  While my suit was donned (one of it's rare appearances) for my presence on Capitol Hill, I was wearing a volunteer shirt and running shoes for the AFFTA event, which took place very near D.C. on a historic section of the Potomac River (Fletcher's Boathouse).  For OIA it was clearly an adult affair, with little discussion about the actual activities involved in human powered recreation.  For AFFTA, day one was a participation-fest with nearly 500 kids from in and around DC learning how to catch fish for the first time, with parents in tow and at least 50 logo-shirted volunteers from teenager to elder statesman.  Day two of the Casting Call brought congressional players to partake of the Potomac's revived Shad population, as well as bear witness to 'shad planking', roll-casting, fly-tying and a host of other related hands-on displays related to resource protection and the art of catch and release.

First fish 

Youngster's first catch!  Can you remember that time for yourself? 

Warner and Living Classroom 

former Senator John Warner (co-author of Gore's Repower America initiative just testified to in Congress last week) and the good folks at Living Classroom/

Below, one of the Potomac's famous Hickory Shad, caught and released by Alan Gnann, Board Chairman of  AFFTA

 Gnann and Shad

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