Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Children, Parents Flock to the Waters

13th Annual Talking Trees Children's Trout Derby
There they stood in a line stretching a quarter of a mile up and down the waters of Oconaluftee River. Some of them were up to their knees while others waded up to their waists. All of them waited and watched in eager anticipation of a tug on the line or the bobbing of a bobber. 

More than 2,000 boys and girls ranging in age from 3 to 11, along with an estimated 4,000 doting mothers and fathers, gathered in Ocanaluftee River Island Park in Cherokee, North Carolina, for the 13th Annual Talking Trees Children’s Trout Derby. The two-day family-oriented gathering offered kids the chance to catch their own dinner. There were also fly-tying exhibitions, fish-cleaning stations, wildlife and fisheries exhibits, food, music and door prizes. Each registered child received a fishing pole, t-shirt, hat, hooks and bait, breakfast and lunch. What a deal! (RMEF contributed $3,000 to help purchase the fishing poles.)

Among those reveling in the scene were volunteers from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Great Smoky Mountains Chapter. In fact, it was the chapter’s twelfth year of helping out. Volunteers manned a booth where they used an RMEF elk trunk to help kids learn more about elk and elk country. They provided elk booklets for kids and Bugle magazine for adults. Volunteers blew up balloons, put temporary tattoos on kids and their parents, spotted on the riverbank for safety and helped boys and girls fishing in the river by baiting hooks, stringing line, casting and removing fish.

Judging from the smiles, selfies and other photos, it was a day to remember for the young anglers and their folks. And don’t forget to save the date. The 15th annual gathering is already scheduled for Friday, July 31, 2015.

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