To whom it may concern:
This is in response to the anonymous letter to the editor printed November 17 in the Northern Student regarding our spring break 2011 ice fishing trip. In the letter, the author expresses concern about using a particular commercial fishing guide from Rainy River and goes on with a list of grievances against said outfitter. They go on to draw distinctions between acceptable and unacceptable types of outdoors adventures and speculates how the Outdoor Program Center may well be on its way to ruinous gas-powered expeditions hunting protected species. They suggest getting in touch with our values.
I actually am quite impressed with the concern expressed, the humor (tending to hyperbole) and the obvious care which this person shows for our program.
Thank you for your obvious concern about what values are taught through our trips. Indeed this is the primary reason for the Outdoor Program to exist, to teach values through learning skills, visiting beautiful natural places, and sharing these adventures as life-long memories.
A couple years ago we decided to add an ice fishing trip as an option for students. We wanted a late season spot with good fishing, called around for rates and decided to check the place out. Students leading the trip camp up with Woody’s and we decided to give them a try. It was a departure from our typical schedule of xc skiing, climbing trips, kayak and sailing instruction. We offered a straight up fishing trip because we have a hard time convincing kids they want to sleep out in the woods in the winter… maybe we can try harder to convince them.
I really do appreciate the history and the perspective you give the topic of visiting the border country and how to do so with a sense of values and history. I have read about Oberholtzer and have been to the island camp. I take your suggestion to connect more students with this history seriously, and would like to visit more if you are so inclined to talk with me. I’d enjoy it.
Outdoor Program Director
Bemidji State University