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Owning our hypocrisies

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Missoulian mailbag

I thought if I saw another reference of climate change having a negative effect on our outdoor lifestyle and the tourism industry, particularly fly fishing, I would have to say something. We all have our hypocrisies; maybe we should own up to some.

An opinion in the Missoulian on June 21 mentioned fly fishing guides leaning on their drift boats during warm weather fish closures. Those drift boats and rafts are generally towed with large four-wheel drive trucks; mine is. The clients for the fishing guides fly into Missoula in jet airplanes. Boron, carbon, fluro-carbon, hypalon, pvc, tungsten, steel, nylon, plastics, graphite, fiberglass and lead are just some of the materials we use to chase non-indigenous trout with. These materials are not necessarily mined or manufactured with pollution-free methods.

Montana rivers and fish populations have been manipulated for decades by humans to create the fly fishing industry. The fish kill on the Yellowstone last year likely was caused by a disease or parasite carried by hatchery fish, perhaps exacerbated by warm temperatures; it wreaked the most havoc on native mountain whitefish.

A while ago, in his column, George Ochenski mentioned climate change affecting the insect populations on the Missouri River. That contrived tail-water environment is created by a big hydro-electric dam; as is the Big Horn, another popular fishing river.

Yes, we should recognize and work on environmental problems, but we shy away from discussing how our lifestyles and recreation contribute to those problems. Our consumerism and the materials and fuels used in the tourism and fly fishing economies are part of the climate change problem. I don't have the answer; but insinuating climate change is harming our pursuits and our pursuits are not part of climate change is superficial thinking; an inconvenient truth indeed.

Dudley Improta, 

Missoula

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