Sportsmen Recognized for Contributions to Backcountry Conservation

DENVER, CO - Four sportsmen from across the West were presented with awards at the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers’ Annual National Rendezvous in Denver, in recognition of their outstanding contributions to protecting backcountry habitat and promoting conservation efforts

Jim Posewitz of Helena, Montana; Bob Mirasole of Chattaroy, Washington; Oscar Simpson of Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Scott Willoughby of Eagle, Colorado were the recipients of this year’s awards.

“The awardees truly embody the boots-on-the-ground conservation ethic our membership values” said National Board Member and Awards Committee Chair, Jay Banta. “These guys live for hunting and fishing the backcountry and have dedicated a good part of their lives to keeping that tradition alive. Our national awards are but one small way to distinguish their ongoing efforts.”

Jim Posewitz of Helena, Montana received the Aldo Leopold Award, which is given to an individual or a group who has done meritorious work on preserving backcountry values and land habitats. Posewitz retired from the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in 1993 and went on to found Orion, the Hunters Institute, a sportsmen organization that leads the conversation about hunting ethics and fair chase. Jim is also the author of numerous influential books on fair chase and our hunting traditions.


Bob Mirasole of Chattaroy, Washington received the Sigurd Olson Award, which is given to an individual or a group who has done meritorious work on preserving backcountry values and aquatic habitats. A diehard angler and passionate conservationist, Bob was recognized for representing Washington Chapter of BHA in an ongoing process to work towards fishery management solutions on the Columbia River and for serving as a representative during recent trips to Washington DC to advocate for Land & Water Conservation Funding.  


Oscar Simpson of Albuquerque, New Mexico received the Mike Beagle Award, which is given to a member of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) who has gone above and beyond promoting BHA’s core values. Simpson is a well-known as a vocal conservation figure throughout the West who was recognized for the hard-to-miss energy he continues to dedicate to maintaining New Mexico’s finest fish and wildlife habitat. Simpson was instrumental in a coalition that recently worked to protect 240,000 acres of high value habitat through the designation of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.


Scott Willoughby was recognized by receiving the Ted Trueblood Award, which is given to a journalist or media professional who has been particularly eloquent and effective communicating to the core principles of the Backcountry Hunter & Anglers. As the outdoor writer for the Denver Post, Willoughby has brought a youthful, yet thoughtful and well-balanced perspective, to timely issues that impact hunting and fishing.


“As an organization dedicated to passing on the legacy that folks like Theodore Roosevelt and Aldo Leopold built generations ago, we’re honored to recognize a few of the sportsmen leading the charge to pass our legacy along today” said Backcountry Hunters & Anglers’ Executive Director, Land Tawney. “Their selfless dedication to the land and to our sporting traditions is admirable. We thank them for all that they do.”

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