LOUISVILLE, CO — Forty-five years ago, Umpqua Feather Merchants opened its doors to anglers and shops in search of high-quality flies and unmatched variety. Now it’s wrapping its anniversary celebration around a good cause, collaborating with Trout Unlimited and the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska to raise $45,000 to help conserve and restore key salmon and trout habitat in Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest.
As the planet’s largest remaining temperate rainforest, the Tongass envelopes a diverse ecosystem that houses critical spawning and rearing grounds for all five species of Pacific salmon, as well as for steelhead, rainbow trout, and both resident and sea-run cutthroat and dolly varden. The Tongass also represents an opportunity for Umpqua to give back through a variety of methods, including the sale of Tongass branded merchandise and from the sales of its Tongass line of waterproof packs and bags.
“It is a professional and personal investment by all of us here at Umpqua to make sure that everyone—and especially anglers—can continue to enjoy and experience these pristine and precious environments that make flyfishing an incredible world to work and play in,” says Umpqua CEO and President Jeff Fryhover.
Umpqua is allocating raised moneys to two primary efforts: $10K will go to Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska for its important outreach work. The remaining $35K will be directed to Trout Unlimited and will be used in partnership with the US Forest Service for a restoration project within the Tongass National Forest. As of this time, the project scope has been narrowed to restoration of salmon, steelhead, and char habitat damaged by historic logging activity in a high-value watershed on Baranof Island. Before cash is applied to the project(s), it will go through a grant and fund matching program with the hope that the final amount will double or more.
For more info check out, umpqua4tongass.org. Tax-exempt donations can be made through the site and will be directed to a TU account designated for the cause. An online shop will offer Tongass-branded merchandise to the public, where 100 percent of proceeds will go directly to the initiative.