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

TRCP Honors Conservation Giants at Annual Awards Dinner

On Wednesday night, September 30, I had the honor to be part of this event. It was a great chance to share more Jim Range stories with many of his good friends. He may be gone but events like this remind us that he is far from forgotten.

This TRCP press release captures the evening quite well.

TRCP Honors Conservation Giants at Annual Awards Dinner

At second annual Capital Conservation Honors, the TRCP pays tribute to Rep. John D. Dingell,
Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris and TRCP co-founder Jim Range,
launching Jim Range Conservation Fund in his honor

WASHINGTON – At its second annual Capital Conservation Honors, held last night near the group’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership recognized the achievements of some of the sportsmen-conservation world’s brightest stars and launched a fundraising effort honoring the legacy of former TRCP chairman and co-founder Jim Range. The two-year campaign for the TRCP Jim Range Conservation Fund begins with $150,000 in contributions already in hand and has a fundraising goal of $2 million.

The gala event featured a keynote address by Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University and best-selling author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America. Congressman John D. Dingell of Michigan was awarded the TRCP’s Sportsman’s Champion Award for his leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives on legislation to protect our nation’s waters and wetlands and to provide funding for fish and wildlife adaptation strategies in climate change legislation. Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops and a lifelong conservationist who has donated millions of dollars to conservation and education groups, was presented with the TRCP’s Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award. Lead sponsors of the Sept. 30 event included Bass Pro Shops, Beretta, Frontiers Travel and Orvis.

“The TRCP’s Capital Conservation Honors recognizes the best of the past, present and future of conservation in America,” said George Cooper, TRCP president and CEO. “Reflecting on the lives of giants such as Theodore Roosevelt, John Dingell, Johnny Morris and Jim Range showcases the great achievements that sportsmen have made in the name of conservation – yet also lights a path forward by illustrating how much remains to be done to assure the future of our shared natural resources and our great sporting traditions.”

Throughout his success, Johnny Morris has remained an ardent conservationist and is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Sport Fishing Institute’s Fisherman of the Year award, the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies President’s Award, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Conservationist of the Year award, the Master Conservation award from the Missouri Department of Conservation and the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Hunting Heritage Award. He was inducted into the International Game Fish Association’s Hall of Fame in 2005 and has been named one of the 25 most influential people in hunting and fishing by Outdoor Life magazine.

“Conservation of our outdoor resources remains a cornerstone of our company,” said Morris. “I am humbled by this honor and pledge to continue carrying on the legacy of sportsmen-conservationists like Teddy Roosevelt and Jim Range.”

Jim Range, who passed away in January, was memorialized with the official launch of the Jim Range Conservation Fund. A hero of modern conservation, Range was instrumental in the crafting and passage of a string of landmark natural resource laws, including the Clean Water Act. Range served on the boards of directors for Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, the Wetlands America Trust, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, the American Sportfishing Association, the American Bird Conservancy, the Pacific Forest Trust, the Yellowstone Park Foundation and the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust. An original board member and chair of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Range also was a White House appointee to the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, the Sportfishing and Boating Partnership Council and the Valles Caldera Trust.

“When Jim Range co-founded the TRCP, I thought ‘no one better,’” said Theodore Roosevelt IV, a member of the JRCF Leadership Council. “He never removed conservation into ideology. For Jim, as for TR, conservation was about people as much as about place. He was a ‘real guy’ who could talk to absolutely anyone and keep them at the table: hunters, steamfitters, CEOs.”

Range’s dedication to the conservation of fish and wildlife in support of the nation’s sporting traditions remains entrenched in sportsmen’s lives through the TRCP. The TRCP’s establishment of the Jim Range Conservation Fund assures that Range’s conservation legacy as directed through the mission of the TRCP endures and will be perpetuated through the group’s ongoing efforts on behalf of American hunters and anglers.

“Range understood the great art of politics but never became so involved in ‘winning’ that he lost sight of the goal: service,” continued Roosevelt. “It is the hope of all of us that this fund will be the beginning of permanent financing to protect our hunting and fishing traditions.”

“The Jim Range Conservation Fund will assure that Jim Range’s voice continues to influence the way we as a nation use and enjoy our shared resources and fish and wildlife habitat,” said TRCP Board Chair Jim Martin, conservation director of the Berkley Conservation Institute, “and by recognizing and honoring the achievements of other great sportsmen-conservationists, the TRCP intends to perpetuate that benefaction. This is the foundation of the TRCP’s Capital Conservation Honors, and this is the legacy of our great friend Jim Range.”

The JRCF Leadership Council is led by Co-chairmen Hon. Howard H. Baker Jr. and Ted Turner. Council members are James A. Baker IV, Charles “Chip” H. Collins, Matthew B. Connolly Jr., George Cooper V, David Perkins, Charles S. Potter Jr., Theodore Roosevelt IV, John M. Seidl and R. Beau Turner. Additional support for the second annual Capital Conservation Honors was provided by the Range family, Dusan Smetana Photography and The Thomas Group.

Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions
of hunting and fishing.

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