Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Outdoor Writer’s Organization Entertains and Educates

Santiam River and Guide Eric Smith

Santiam River and Guide Eric Smith

©Bert Gildart: Our Northwest Outdoor Writer’s (NOWA) Conference, held in Salem, Oregon, is over for yet another year, and again, Janie and I leave with some vivid memories.

We’re in agreement that the most significant presentation was John Martin’s overview of global warming. The title of his talk was “Climate Change and Development: Salmon Caught in the Squeeze,” and essentially he said that the future of salmon in the Northwest was bleak. “Only by protecting the headwaters of salmon habitat,” said Martin in part, “can we expect to find salmon in the year 2100.”

Martin was a passionate speaker, and though I doubt all NOWA members agreed with his thesis, Martin certainly held everyone’s attention. As well, he generated constructive debate, and that, of course, is a positive thing.

There was, however, no debate with Martin, who was like an apostle on conditions that could help eliminate global warming. Tragically, he said that so much warming had already occurred that we were “hard wired” for the remainder of the century. He said modifications in energy use would not so much benefit us as it would our children’s children. “But that,” he said, “is a worthwhile reason to modify our life styles.” Though I’m certain many know where I stand, you can go to the annual produced by the Wilderness Society and read my story on Global Warming. You can also link to other blogs (click and click ) I’ve posted on the subject, and hopefully, they’ll add more constructive information.


For Janie and me, some of the more memorable activities began Thursday with a float down the North Santiam River, one of the primary salmon fisheries in the state. Because the day was rainy and chilly, many members originally scheduled to be included in the float declined, in part because the weatherman’s predictions for favorable weather had been wrong. In short, the weather was rotten.

Dennis Phillips (R), Dennis Clay and new Scopes

Dennis Phillips (R), Dennis Clay and new Scopes

Janie and I had, however, had packed our Airstream for many different varieties of weather. When you’re gone for four months, you’ve got to, and so we had foul weather clothing, and were able to enjoy all the river offered. Eric Smith, our guide, pointed out osprey, hooded mergansers, nesting geese and eagles. He said the Santiam was a great salmon fishery and that we should come back. Certainly we will, for fishing is one of our passions (click “Fishing Fools ).

For those not wanting to float, NOWA offered a shooting contest, and the opportunities were many. Later we learned that supporting members had provided over 1,000 rounds of shotgun ammunition. I also enjoy shooting activities, so it was a toss up as to which event I’d attend. However, the river guides had gone to so much work I decided to float rather than to shoot.


The next day, our sponsors introduced to us their many new products, which included new boats, rifle scopes, state of the art GPS systems and Toyoto trucks and SUVs. Dennis Phillips was the GPS man, and over the years, he and I have become good friends. Dennis works for the Walker Agency, which also represents Yamaha, and the summer Janie and I spent on the Yukon, their help was vital.

Humorist Alan Leary & What the Heck items

Humorist Alan Leary & "What the Heck" items

Through the years, I have tried to reciprocate, with literally dozens of stories about our adventures on the Yukon and McKenzie rivers. Saturday night when NOWA acknowledged Dennis’s contributions to our organization, Janie and I felt accolades were certainly warranted.


Our big moment was presentation of items for our “What the Heck Is It” contest. With the exception of one or two items, everything came from the Northwest, Exceptions included alligator poop and a tarpon scale. We included those items, however, as many not only belong to NOWA but to the Outdoor Writer’s Association of America (OWAA) and have attended national conferences held in Florida and in Louisiana.

Aging Turkey by length of spur

Aging Turkey by length of spur

Items from local areas include turkey spurs, a bone turkey call, and skulls of various types. Also included were various lures and the spent casings of various calibers. All totaled, our contest had 25 possible points and the winning table totaled 12. In view of the fact that most members have been exposed at one time or other to all the items, that may not seem like a very good percentage. However, they see many such items infrequently, and so the recesses of the memory must be deeply probed.

As always, we learn much by attending NOWA conferences, but at the end of the day, it remains the opportunity to see old friends that we value most. Already, we are looking forward to the OWAA convention to be held this year in Bismarck, North Dakota, and seeing once again our many good friends–who also belong to NOWA.

One Response to “Outdoor Writer’s Organization Entertains and Educates”

  1. Tour of America » News from the Airstream blogosphere Says:

    [...] and Janie Gildart, who we hosted at our home in Tucson last month, were recently at the Outdoor Writer’s Conference in Oregon.  I think they’re heading home to Montana now, but with them you never can be [...]