DEMISE OF THE RED HERRINGS?
So…again the nation-wide search starts for a new director of fish and wildlife in Washington State.
Joe Stohr, who is temporally sitting in resigned-director Jim Unsworth’s old office must be scratching his head in wonderment…wondering which paper to sign and which phone call to take. I’ve been told that Joe, one of the assistant directors under Unsworth, was a pencil pusher that seldom if ever really dealt with issues covering fish, game or the tribes.
For more information on Joe take a look at Terry Sheely’s Columbia River Region on page 9.
At the bottom of page 2 Puget Sound Anglers’ State Board President, Ron Garner, has his own take on the upper management/managers for WDFW. Ron states, “We need three deputy directors. One for fisheries, one for game and land, and one for finances. This is too big of a job for one person.”
I can’t argue with that right now and I’m all for change after the fiascos the outdoor sportsmen have had to deal with over the years.
WDFW’s Commission has a big chore on their hands and I hope they do a better job than they did when hiring Unsworth back in 2015. In January of that year there was an article written by a gentleman named Tom Remington titled “In Washington, Some Mourn the Arrival of New Fish and Game Director.”
Remington is a writer, author, researcher and blogger that covers outdoor related topics and issues including management, environment, the Endangered Species Act and other topics. I believe he resides in Idaho and had some issues of his own with Jim Unsworth.
In reference to Unsworth, Remington wrote, “…we are now witness to the second and third generations of post-normal, conservation wildlife scientists, presenting little hope…”
“To rousing ovations of many in Idaho, their deputy director of the Fish and Game Department (IDFG), Dr. Jim Unsworth, departed the Gem State to take over as head seat at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). To many in Washington, who have been following the wolf introduction disaster, seeing Unsworth as their new director is worse than a Tippecanoe curse. But obviously to the committee that selected Unsworth (the Commissioners), he was their match made in heaven.”
Remington also said, “From the years that I have covered wolf and other wildlife issues in the state of Idaho, I’m not sure I recall a statement made in a government document that upset outdoor sportsmen any more than the one that Jim Unsworth was part of.”
Pitty poor Washington?
The WDFW commissioners have a huge job cut out for them and when you consider that they are all appointed volunteers, how many will just throw up their hands and say screw-it, just hire someone and let’s get it over with.
Unfortunately, I believe that was the attitude of many commissions in the past when hiring a director. We can’t let that happen again. Is Ron Garner’s theory/proposal of three designated assistant directors overseen by a head director the best option? Maybe. At least it’s pro-active and the best thing I’ve heard for a while. I still believe that the commissioners need to go very slooooow on this so they have a chance to experience the job and many of the consequences involved. They need to know better what to look for in a new director. We don’t need, or want, another red herring with rhetorical strategies, distracts, misleads and offers false conclusions to the commission or the outdoor life community – readers of TRN.
Next month is our 34th anniversary of being in print and working for the betterment of our fish, fisheries and readers here in the Pacific Northwest. That is nearly 400 months of dis-satisfaction with Washington’s directors (less the brief period that Bern Shanks was at the helm). Many were in over their heads and some were just there on a stopover rung while climbing their own ladder to retirement with no serious concern for the sportsmen or the resources. That is way too long.
This is not your fish and resources nor is it mine. It is OUR resources and opportunities of those that follow us. We need to do everything we can to keep our corner of the world part of “God’s Country.” If you have any suggestions on what we need in a director, ideas on resource enhancement, outdoor access, opportunity, or just want to offer thoughts on the state of the State, I’d love to hear from you. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.