Save ‘Take a Kid Fishing’

The US Fish & Wildlife Service is currently performing an Environmental Assessment of Arizona’s fish stocking program that is expected to potentially affect the popular Take a Kid Fishing program at La Paz County Park each year.

Walter Shontz is urging residents and visitors who have enjoyed Take a Kid Fishing to write Brie Darr, USFW, PO Box 1306, Albuquerque, NM 87103 and explain how important the program is in Parker, AZ each February. A quick response, Shontz says, will make all the difference in continuing the program.

Last year’s 32nd annual event had 750 youth attend over two days.

Shontz can be reached at (928) 669-5220. The Environmental Assessment is available here.

2 comments

  1. Here’s mine:

    March 29, 2011

    Mr. Dave Weedman
    Habitat Branch
    5000 Carefree Highway
    Phoenix, AZ 85086

    Miss Brie Darr, USF&WS
    PO Box 1306
    500 Gold Ave SW, Suite 9019
    Albuquerque, NM 87103

    Greetings from Parker, AZ!

    This letter is in response to the Sport Fish Stocking Program Environmental Assessment for Arizona. I would first like to point out that La Paz County Park Lagoon is lumped into a group that is quite possibly stocked continuously where our Lagoon is stocked only once a year for the Take a Kid Fishing Program.

    Take a Kid Fishing is a 32-year-program here in La Paz County. It is much more than one or two days of fishing for kids at the county park. Several weeks before the event, which usually is the second weekend in February, The Take a Kid Fishing Committee gets together and prepares rods & reels for the kids to use for free. Approximately one week before the event, The Committee visits the outlying communities’ schools in Ehrenberg, Quartzsite, Bouse, Wenden, Salome and Parker Dam, CA. The volunteers teach the children how to use the rod and reel, how to tie fishing knots and teach them a sport for life. They also deliver a strong message to “get hooked on fishing not drugs and tobacco”.

    On the day of the event, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles bring the local children to La Paz County Park for a day of family fun. The Committee Volunteers are on-hand to teach the children about knot-tying, casting and baiting the hook. They are taught about the different kinds of fish and they are taught to respect and take care of the outdoor recreation areas.

    Within a few days of the event, High School Honor Society Students and Student Council Members are on hand to provide guidance and education for the area schools that were visited by the Take a Kid Fishing Committee volunteers. Walter Shontz, Take a Kid Fishing Director, tells the High School volunteers that “this is your first step to mainstream community service”. He usually gets this response: “I didn’t know volunteering could be so fun!” Busloads come from Ehrenberg, Quartzsite, Bouse, Wenden, Salome and Parker Dam, CA. It is a field trip that all the area children know about and look forward to each year.

    In addition, Boy Scout and Cub Scout Troops from Lake Havasu City participate in this event and for the past three years this office has had inquires from other Boy Scout Troops from Blythe, CA and the West Valley area of Arizona. This past year there were 750 kids in attendance over the two-day-program.

    Thank you for your consideration of my comments. This once-a-year event is very important to our rural community, our children, teens and parents. It teaches respect for the outdoors, a sport for life and delivers a strong anti-drug and tobacco message.

    Respectfully,

    Mary Hamilton
    Director
    Parker Area Tourism

    Cc: LPCBOS; Town of Parker Mayor & Council; AZ Legislators, Russ Jones, Lynn Pancrazi, Don Shooter, Walter Shontz

  2. Here’s Senator Don Shooter’s Letter to AZG&F:

    DON SHOOTER
    1700 WEST WASHINGTON, SUITE S
    PHOENIX, ARIZONA 85007-2844
    CAPITOL PHONE: (602) 496-4139
    CAPITOL FAX: (602) 417-3221
    TOLL FREE: 1-800-352-8404

    ______
    DISTRICT 24
    Arizona State Senate
    COMMITTEES:
    APPROPRIATIONS
    SUB-APPROPRIATIONS
    NATURAL RESOURCES AND TRANSPORTATION
    WATER, LAND USE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
    VETERANS AND MILITARY AFFAIRS

    April 4, 2011

    Dave Weedman
    Habitat Branch
    5000 Carefree Highway
    Phoenix, Arizona 85086

    Dear Dave,
    I am writing this letter to you today to encourage you to continue the “Take a Kid Fishing” Program. This is an important event for the youth of La Paz County and the surrounding areas, and is a great family event. We have a similar event in Yuma that I have taken my children and grandchildren to over the years. This is a great bonding experience for all ages involved. While I know that budgets are tight, we should be able to find a way to continue this program. Please let me know how I can help. I have spoken to the director of Arizona Game and Fish Department, and he has assured me that they will work on this situation. If we are unable to facilitate this event, I would like to know, in writing, at least two weeks before the event as to why we couldn’t make this happen. Perhaps then I can help from this end. I’m sure you feel as I do, that these kinds of events are great for the kids because if they’re participating in events like this, they’re not doing other things that could be bad for them. This also might encourage them to take a life long interest in the great outdoors, and enjoy the great American sports of hunting and fishing. This is a great family event, let’s see what we can do to make sure it continues, thanks for your help.
    Sincerely,
    Senator Don Shooter
    Legislative District 24
    Don Shooter, District 24
    Proudly Serving Yuma and La Paz Counties
    cc: Mary Hamilton
    Robbie Woodhouse

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