posted: April 29th, 2014 | by:Bert
©Bert Gildart: When Milt Keiser, a longtime member of the Northwest Outdoor Writer’s Association (NOWA), announced the year’s winner of the organization’s prestigious Enos Bradner award, Chuck Robbins was genuinely astounded. But he shouldn’t have been.
For the past year, Chuck has struggled to make the organization’s newsletter the very best it can be. Over the years, he has written several books and been published in many of the nation’s most prestigious outdoor magazines; and though he was an obvious candidate to many, still this calm and deliberate man was caught off guard.
Setting for the award was the Kwataqnuk Resort which overlooks the beautiful Flathead Lake in Polson, Montana, and the time was this past Saturday night at the Northwest Outdoor Writer’s Association’s Awards banquet. It was the culmination of a four-day conference, consisting of seminars, alerts by “news makers,” and finally, awards for various journalistic achievements.
But the top award was the Enos Bradner award, and for yet more reasons, it would be hard to imagine a more deserving candidate.
Chuck’s understanding of the outdoors is more than just academic. He brings years of knowledge about the outdoors to the NOWA organization having worked first as a guide in Pennsylvania where clients included Jimmy Carter and Dick Cheney.
About 15 years ago, Chuck and his wife Gale moved to Dillon, Montana, where the man continued his work, guiding on Montana’s fabled Big Hole River. Today, Chuck has clients from countries such as Japan and from most every state in the union. In other words, Chuck Robbins must know about the outdoors in a way that satisfies a broad-based clientele. Little wonder, Milt Keiser, himself a recipient, passed the baton on to Robbins.
The Enos Bradner award recipient is chosen by the three most recent, past chairmen of the NOWA Board of Directors. Criteria for selection includes long time outstanding support of NOWA and upholding the high professional standards of outdoor journalism practiced by Enos Bradner. Bradner was outdoor editor of the Seattle Times for 26 years serving between 1943 and 1969. He was also a founding father of NOWA. He died in January of 1984, leaving a legacy that demands high standards, such as those personified by Chuck Robbins.
L to R: Chuck positioning himself in Big Hole to optimize fishing success; “biggest brookie I’ve ever
caught in Montana; too beautiful to keep.
For a number of years I’ve had the good fortune to tag along with Chuck and remember an anecdote that summarizes Chuck’s attitude about the sport he loves so much. Several years ago I was with Chuck when he caught what he believed was one of the river’s largest Brook trout. For a few moments we admired the fish, noting the beautiful patterns of white dots all back dropped by a light greenish coloration.
I thought Chuck might have the fish mounted, but he said it was too beautiful to keep, and so he released it. We watched as the fish reestablished itself, and then suddenly, with a vicious flick of its tail, reentered the swift waters of the Big Hole.
With a look of satisfaction that was almost akin to that of an evangelist, he smiled. “Someday,” he said, “we might just catch that ole Brookie again.”
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4th ed. Autographed by the Authors
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Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.
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