Middle River Dispatches is a gumbo of posts about fly-fishing, conservation, politics and days afield.


Time to turn the page in the Sadler career book.

As you will see below, I have joined the Outdoor Writers Association of America as their new executive director. This is a very exciting opportunity for me, aligning both personal and professional interests and creating a chance to help this storied organization move forward.

OWAA’s mission “…is to improve the professional skills of our members, set the highest ethical and communications standards, encourage public enjoyment and conservation of natural resources, and be mentors for the next generation of professional outdoor communicators.”

I bet you can see why I am really looking forward to working for them.

Our headquarters is in Missoula, Mont. and while I will be traveling there often, will remain based here in Virginia.

OWAA is comprised of more than 800 individual outdoor communicators from the broad, modern spectrum of outdoor beats, from shooting to camping, fishing to kayaking, wildlife watching to backpacking. From these diverse backgrounds and disciplines, members gather beneath the OWAA banner to hone skills, share philosophies, develop profitable business strategies and network with peers, conservation policymakers and industry trendsetters.

Want to join us?

Dispatches will continue but with a more random posting schedule. I will continue to beat the Habitat = Opportunity = Economic Activity drum, talk about tenkara, and share some insights into of life’s more entertaining moments.

Change is good and this is a good change!

OWAA taps Sadler as executive director

MISSOULA, Mont. — The Outdoor Writers Association of America announces the hiring of Tom Sadler as the organization’s executive director.

Sadler is a lifelong outdoorsman and has worked for years in both the conservation and outdoor recreation arenas. A former U.S. Navy Reserve officer and an avid angler and hunter, he lives in Verona, Va., in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. Sadler replaces Robin Giner, who left OWAA at the end of 2012.

“OWAA is fortunate to find someone of Tom’s caliber to lead our organization into a demanding new era,” said Mark Taylor, OWAA president and outdoor writer for The Roanoke Times. “This era requires that we adapt to an ever-changing media landscape in order to best serve our existing membership and attract new members. Tom is more than equal to the task at hand.

“We had a number of excellent candidates, but Tom’s experience in the outdoor and conservation arenas — complemented by his vast professional network — best positions him to lead the OWAA,” continued Taylor. “I believe he will guide our group to new heights.”

Sadler owns and runs a consulting firm, The Middle River Group, where he focuses on advocating outdoor recreation and conservation. He launched the company in 2008 after moving to Verona from Washington, D.C. Prior to that, Sadler was the director of program development for the Trust for Public Land. He also served as the conservation director for the Izaak Walton League of America and was president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.

Sadler has worked as an outdoor columnist for the New Virginian in Waynesboro and writes about the outdoors and conservation on his blog, Dispatches from Middle River (middleriverdispatch.com). He also works occasionally as a fly-fishing guide for Mossy Creek Fly Fishing in Harrisonburg, Va.

Sadler serves on the boards of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association and the National Fisheries Friends Partnership. He also is a member of the steering committee of the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture, a National Fish Habitat Partnership.

“My passion for the outdoors and conservation are exceeded only by my desire to share those passions with others,” Sadler said.

“OWAA members are the best communicators of those passions. To be able to help OWAA do more of that by growing the membership, increasing our supporter base and helping our members and supporters become successful is really an exciting opportunity.”

OWAA is The Voice of the Outdoors®. The Outdoor Writers Association of America is the oldest and largest association of professional outdoor communicators in the United States. It was organized in 1927 by members of the Izaak Walton League of America and includes professional communicators dedicated to sharing the outdoor experience. OWAA’s professionals include writers, photographers, outdoors radio- and television-show hosts, book authors, videographers, lecturers and artists. The association is headquartered in Missoula, Mont. For more information, contact Outdoor Writers Association of America, 615 Oak St., Ste. 201, Missoula, Mont. 59801; 406-728-7434, info@owaa.org; www.owaa.org. [LINK]


  1. Russell Schnitzer says:

    As a very new member, this is heartening news. Congratulations on this new challenge, Tom.

  2. Chris "Kiwi" Kuhlow says:

    My hat’s off to you…congratulations.

  3. Thanks Russ!

  4. Thanks Chris!


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