Courage

Posted by & filed under HARROP'S FORKED TONGUES.

John McDaniel’s annual Ranch report (read it here) is something that I look forward to as much as anything that appears on the TroutHunter website.

With more than thirty years as a base of experience, McDaniel is not only a highly qualified river guide but a most credible source of information as well. Never prone to exaggeration or fabrication, John’s words pertaining to the Harriman Ranch can be trusted, and I believe completely in the sincerity of his latest report. And because unjustified criticism is not a part of his makeup, comments that may be uncomfortable for some are intended only as points of concern for the Henry’s Fork and its fishery.

John McDaniel brings the mind of a scientist to his observations and conclusions, though I have never known him to qualify his opinions of biological issues on the basis of his PhD in Anthropology. But above intellectual and academic qualification, it is John’s commitment to the truth that makes his appraisal of the Henry’s Fork and its fishery such a relevant document.  I thoroughly understand the risk of challenging the forces that seem willing to shield an organization at the expense of the river it is charged with protecting.

McDaniel is correct that denying or down playing factual problems associated with a fishery that is clearly in a declining trend is not the mark of efficient effort on behalf of the river.

Implying that all is well with regard to the quality of fishing is a dangerous misrepresentation of reality when applied to the future of the Henry’s Fork Foundation or any other organization that depends on a healthy Henry’s Fork for its existence. And while perhaps acknowledging to some extent that trouble does exist for the fishery, stating that it could be worse does not bring relief to legitimate public concern for the river.

It is important to remember that friends can quickly become enemies when subjected to insult or ridicule. Sadly, this has happened in a number of instances when well-intended words of concern for the river have been met with hostility from those who continue to insist that there is no justification for alarm.

With all of this considered, it can be difficult to dispute a growing perception that the greatest threat to the Henry’s Fork is a current unwillingness to acknowledge that the fishery is in crisis to an extent that has seldom if ever been witnessed before.

As a hopeful optimist, I concur with John McDaniel that this trend of decline can be reversed and that the Henry’s Fork Foundation is the vehicle that can make it happen, but we cannot go forward with our heads in the sand.

History tells us that the Henry’s Fork Foundation has been effective in communicating the needs of a healthy fishery to those who hold authority in management of the river. If the past can be replicated, leaders of the organization and community in general will utilize economic value as the most effective argument for a return to the voluntary consideration needed for balanced management of the river.

I find it impossible to accept that a reasonable and just society cannot find a way to bring previously existing consideration for the jobs and revenue that are represented by the Henry’s Fork and its world renowned fishery.
John McDaniel’s statement is a courageous message of concern for the river and should not be perceived as an attack against anyone. 

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