Honoring the Wenatchee Sportsmen’s Association

A WDFW partner for over 25 years, the WSA is devoted to causes that benefit hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation.

Members of the Wenatchee Sportsmen’s Association pose for a photo after completing a project.
Members of the Wenatchee Sportsmen’s Association pose for a photo after completing a project.
Roger Gill of the WSA marks the pole of a “guzzler,” a wildlife watering system, so it can be more easily seen from far away.
Roger Gill of the WSA marks the pole of a “guzzler,” a wildlife watering system, so it can be more easily seen from far away.

The Colockum wildlife area outside of Wenatchee is 92 thousand acres of incredible views, varied terrain and habitat for many kinds of wildlife, including one of Washington’s largest elk herds.

The area has a rich history of being traversed by covered wagon trains during the push to head west and a homesteading family that maintained the land in its natural state through many generations.

That family handed over the land to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to protect many years ago. While WDFW is the main steward of the land, the Wenatchee Sportsmen’s Association (WSA) provides much of the maintenance and advocacy that has allowed it to remain natural, along with other public lands in the area.

As part of its 25th anniversary in 2019 of combining the Wildlife and Fisheries departments, WDFW is recognizing the partners who have helped along the way, and the Wenatchee Sportsman’s Association has been a major one, with 70-plus years of advocating for wildlife, fish and outdoor recreation in North Central Washington.

Since 1949, WSA members have organized or helped with many projects and initiatives involving public lands or natural resources around the region. The group maintains wildlife watering systems in wilderness areas, builds and fills wildlife feeders, removes old barbed wire fences that can injure animals, builds and repairs new fences, and helps plant grass and shrubs after wildfires, among other projects.

WSA also has a long tradition of providing funding for projects. Most recently, the group purchased a gas-powered fence post pounder for the Colockum Wildlife Area and pledged $10,000 towards the construction of a target shooting range on the Chelan Wildlife Area.

Additionally, they have provided volunteers and funding for projects including bighorn sheep captures, Canada goose banding, winter turkey surveys, annual public lands cleanup days, and members are heavily involved in planning processes for public lands.

Members of the Wenatchee Sportsman’s Association are passionate about hunting, fishing and the outdoors in general and work to pass that on to others. They help plan and implement an annual Youth Hunting and Fishing Day for children who might not have the opportunity otherwise.

Since 1968, this group has provided almost 11-thousand hours of volunteer service and over $250,000 in funding to projects and initiatives that benefitted area fish, wildlife, and recreation. These hours and dollars bridge a funding and resources gap that WDFW couldn’t otherwise fill. These volunteers literally allow the Department of Fish and Wildlife to direct limited resources to other projects.

Why does the Wenatchee Sportsmen’s Association give so much? When asked during a recent outing to the Colockum, members Dave Dahlen and Roger Gill had a short but direct answer- “For the wildlife. It’s conservation.”

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is excited to honor the Wenatchee Sportsmen’s Association as its Organization of the Year. WDFW salutes the Wenatchee Sportsmen’s Association, its members, its officers and board of directors. We couldn’t do it without you!

Written by

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.

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