Idaho BHA Co-Chair Bruce Smithhammer shares his experience at the Eastern Idaho Fly Tying Expo, April 19-20 in Idaho Falls.
As Idaho BHA membership continues to grow, we are taking our message to new venues and reaching out to more and more hunters and anglers about the backcountry we care about. With this in mind, BHA recently had a booth for two days at the Eastern Idaho Fly Tying Expo in Idaho Falls. The event draws fly tying talent and many interested anglers from the broader region - including Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.
Honestly, we weren't really sure what kind of reaction we would receive, since this was our first time at this event. The response was surprisingly positive! Steve Walker (ID BHA Board) Ken Theis (Utah BHA State Coordinator), Jared Grover (ID BHA Contractor) and myself had a great time meeting new people and discussing the fantastic backcountry opportunities that the region has to offer.
People flowed to the BHA booth all day long, intrigued by the vintage recurve bows and bamboo fly rod on display, and drawn to Ken's English Setter, "Lucky." From this, conversations about protecting our backcountry sporting opportunities became an easy transition. Over and over we heard the same message from many that we talked to - "it's getting harder and harder to find places to get away from ATVs in the backcountry...," "my favorite backcountry lake that I used to hike to is now getting impacted by illegal motorized use...," I don't even bother hunting my local area anymore, it's getting so overrun..."
While it is certainly troubling to keep hearing this message so frequently these days, it also confirms that we have our work cut out for us. Overwhelmingly, people we talked to were excited to hear that we are a sportsman's group, focusing specifically on maintaining/improving backcountry integrity and protecting opportunities for future generations. We are already looking forward to participating in the ID Fly Tying Expo next year, and we have a number of other activities planned in the coming year to meet and talk with as many people as we can about the importance of BHA's mission.