By now most folks know that 16 of the warmest years on record have occurred since the turn of the century, with 2016 being the hottest and 2017 the second hottest. While the science on climate change is settled, the mountain sports community is also witnessing the impacts of this warming first-hand, as snowfall and snowpack are less reliable, putting fishable water at risk. The main question I hear from anglers in regard to climate change is what can I do? Recently, fellow Protect Our Winters Riders Alliance member and backcountry skiing guide KT Miller and I teamed up with Trout Unlimited to offer an answer to this question at Discovery Ski Area near Anaconda, Montana. Connecting snowsports and angling in one fun advocacy effort helped people see how much we all need winter. From sliding on snow to swinging flies in the river, we’re all affected and we have the chance to work together on solutions.
With support from Fishpond, we set up a booth with information on how climate change can impact the $886 billion dollar outdoor industry, and how snowsports lovers and anglers can help protect outdoor-focused jobs and lifestyles. (The outdoor industry is twice as big as the pharma and motor vehicles industries.) We gave them links and strategy for contacting our elected leadership to ask for clean energy votes. We registered people to vote on-site. We helped people connect with their local Trout Unlimited chapters to learn more about how climate action can help preserve their favorite streams.
Lift tickets were discounted for the day, and Discovery donated ten dollars from every ticket to POW and TU. Plus, each skier and snowboarder got a free raffle ticket for the chance to win one of many awesome gifts, including the new limited edition POW Fishpond River Rat Beverage Holder 2.0, plus Fishpond hats and stickers. While it may have partially been the balmy bluebird day, I felt all warm inside knowing fishing companies like Fishpond and organizations like Trout Unlimited are making an extra effort to connect with the snowsports industry in solidarity for climate action. We all need winter!
Learn more about Protect Our Winters and join their movement here.
Learn more about the Work TU is doing conserving cold water fisheries in your backyard here.
Words and photos by Fishpond Tribe Leader Hilary Hutcheson who is actively fighting a changing climate. She lives and works in Montana, just outside of Glacier National Park, where the effects of a short winter can be seen all around her. @outsidehilary