October 3, 2013

The "Florida At Large" Chapter of Trout Unlimited

I've been a Trout Unlimited member for a few years now, probably 3 or 4.  Back when I lived in the Philadelphia area, geography assigned me to the Perkiomen Valley chapter.  Honestly, I never attended a meeting, as I was also involved with the more-local (but not TU affiliated) Stony Creek Anglers, and the PVTU meeting place really wasn't all that close to where I lived.  There were other chapters that were probably equidistant by car; Valley Forge or Delco Manning come to mind.  Perkiomen was just closest by how the crow flies.

A wild Perkiomen Creek brown trout

When I moved from Pennsylvania to Florida, my membership to Trout Unlimited came with me.  I still receive my seasonal issues of Trout Magazine, which helps to reconnect me to the coldwater pursuits I enjoyed so much. Oh, and of course, all of the messages wanting me to become a Lifetime Member still find their way to my physical & electronic mailboxes.

The problem...I'm currently a member of the Florida "At Large" Chapter, which is pretty much a non-existent entity.  It's akin to being a member of the T! Fishing Blogger Pro Staff.  There are no meetings, no activities, and there are no National Leadership Council Representatives or State Council Chairs.  Maybe it exists and is just poorly advertised?  Something which shouldn't be surprising because there really isn't coldwater or (non sea) trout down here.

Now there are plenty of organizations I could (& may) join locally, St. Johns Riverkeeper, Coastal Conservation Association, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, just to name a few...but coldwater runs deep.  Even if I was involved in one of the aforementioned organizations, I'd still like to do what I can to help  (besides just write checks) to TU.

With that I was wondering if TU ever considered an Online or Virtual Chapter, for people with coldwater interests that may not live in a geographical region conducive to the current membership structure?  Yeah, I get that there are quite a few barriers...like have you ever read the requirements...yikes?  But they already have a great website that has built in many "social" features & do a lot of virtual which leads to physical outreach (to at least) bloggers.  This would be a logical next step for legitimizing that activation plan.  Outside of the TU website, technologies like Facebook & Skype, just to name a few, can do wonders to unite & mobilize like-minded folks from different parts of the country or world.  I mean, you're reading this, right?

So if you were or are in my situation...say a Oregon transplant living in Louisiana 
(a State that is also homeless), is that something you'd consider?

Well, it's just a thought, and I guess fodder for a blog post.  I may actually pursue something along these lines at some point a bit further, but I'd probably have to do more research before I did.  But I know some of you out there that occasionally read this blog have more than "ins" with TU...


  1. That's a great idea. Less over supervision and auditing they'd have to do. I'm sure you could create a chapter where you live. What's crazy is we started a Yahoo Meetup that's linked to our chapter the Triangle Fly Fishers. That thing has grown like crazy. It's a great way for members to link up for trips and stay up to date on club events.

  2. The DC (District of Columbia) Chapter basically exists to raise money for other chapters (and host group trips for camaraderie). You could do the same down in Florida.