rock! They fund
tons of great programs
in the park. Join now!
In Yellowstone there's a need for all manner of scientific study to support the execution and refinement of the Native Fish Conservation Plan. Some of that work includes fish sampling. It's everything from "What type of fish are in those streams?" to "What's their genetic make-up? ".
Given the vast geography of the park - 2,650 miles of streams and 110,000 acres of lakes - you need a lot of human beings to go do that work and to do so the National Park Service relies upon volunteers to help.
And these volunteer are not scientists, they're fly anglers.
|Bill Voigt, co-director of the Volunteer Fly Fishing|
Program, Best Job on the Planet
Lucky volunteers also fished the Firehole River to study the impact of the park's many thermal features on trout. Water temperatures were documented where fish were caught, fin clips were taken and fish were measured. All that angling amounted to data for researchers and a good day on the water and a tug on the line for volunteers.
If you're visiting Yellowstone Park in the future you can participate in this program. Bill's only criteria seems to be that you have an interest in the work at hand. Angling experience levels don't seem to matter and old and young can participate alike.
To help ease the financial burden, volunteers receive a free pass to the park and free lodging. Volunteers can choose between living in the bunkhouse or camping at a campsite near the research team's headquarters.
I'm already plotting my return to the park and when I do so volunteering for the program will be a must do activity. I'm sure I'll find Bill and his wife, Joann, side-by-side leading projects along the park's waters helping normal folks become scientific anglers.
|Rebecca and Marc fishing the Lamar River|
Rebecca lost a very nice fish along here (you're welcome for reminding you of it) and
I got a nice Rainbow not too far from where Marc is standing. Otherwise, a very slow afternoon on the river.
Editor’s note: In June, Trout Unlimited, along with Simms, the Yellowstone Park Foundation and the Outdoor Blogger Network, held an essay contest. Two winners, Marc Payne and I, were selected to attend the second annual TU Blogger Tour – this year’s tour took place July 24-28 in Yellowstone National Park. It was friggin' awesome.