Knowing When to Go

Yellow Dog Fly Fishing client, Clint Pike, sent us this blog after visiting Punta Allen, Mexico and learning about YDCCF's efforts to support the local primary school.  In addition to supporting the construction of new bathrooms, YDCCF awarded an additional grant earlier this month. Please visit our grantees page for details.  

Knowing When to Go

It was approaching mid-afternoon when our guides, Alex and Carlos told me to reel up the line, we were heading to another spot.  I glanced over at my girlfriend, Lena, who was smiling under the sun. The salt water gently lapped at the side of our boat as Alex turned over the motor.  I shot Lena a smirk and turned my hat backward just before losing it as the boat shot out across the open water.

We had arrived in Mexico the previous morning.  We were obviously fresh tourists; toting luggage, fishing gear, and glowing with enthusiasm.  A month ago, our trip to Mexico seemed so far away. The temperatures in Bozeman Montana were dangerously cold and snowfall had permanently blanketed our city.  In my classroom, the students were either out with the flu or suffering in their seats, trying their best to respectfully hide their apathy. When March hit, it was obvious, everyone needed a break.  

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Having been a teacher in Montana for seven years, I have become aware of two important things.  During the summer, you stay and over spring break, you go. I am certain that every region of the country has their spring break destination.  In Montana, the long cold, and dark winters drive every adventurous spirit south. Some drive the ten hours to Moab, while others migrate to Southern California, Belize, or Mexico.  

This was my first time visiting Mexico and for the next few days, we would be visiting an area that received little traffic, other than locals and avid fly fisherman.  We were excited to be staying at the Grand Slam Lodge and visiting Punta Allen, a village of around 200 people just south of the lodge. Both sit on a narrow piece of land separating the open ocean from Ascension Bay, a fly fishing mecca providing direct access to the brilliant blue waters surrounding the Yucatan Peninsula.  

The boat danced across the water as Alex transported us to a new location.  We spent the remainder of the day chasing bonefish, snook, and an occasional dodgy permit.  Soon, it was time to pull in our lines and head to the lodge.

When we arrived at the lodge, we were greeted with warm smiles, helping hands, and cold margaritas.  We hustled to our room, quickly dropping our belongings and heading out to the beach to enjoy the remaining few hours of daylight.  Following the shoreline south, we quickly reached the village of Punta Allen. It was evening, quiet and exactly what we were looking for.  As we walked the unpaved roads, the sounds and scents of families preparing for dinner drifted out into the streets. Sometimes when you are on vacation, you forget that others around you aren't.  This evening, we had the privilege of being alone and unobtrusive, which often tends to lend itself to introspection.

We soon found our way to the school, a brightly colored set of buildings in the center of town.  From the outside, the school seemed similar to what I was used to back home. The walls were colorfully painted by the artwork of children. There was a basketball court, playground equipment, outside covered areas, and outside bathrooms.  Since the gate to the school was locked we could go no further and decided to wander our way back to the lodge.

After a full day of fishing and a wonderfully relaxing evening we arranged to visit the schools with Mike from Grand Slam Lodge before our departure.  I was curious to get a closer look. We were greeted at the gate by one of the teachers, she smiled as she welcomed us. Peering in through the windows, I caught a few curious glances from students.  I smiled back, reminded of my classroom waiting for me back in Montana.

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As our tour continued, I was informed that the bathrooms were a new addition and prior to their installation there was one bathroom to service all 53 students in the school. I was shocked.  How could one of the most basic human needs not be being met at a school? As an experienced educator, I understand the challenges in providing for my students a proper education day-to-day, much less trying to teach hungry, tired, and deprived children.  Furthermore, it was great to hear that the new bathroom additions were the results of charitable donations from the Yellow Dog Community & Conservation Foundation. It was encouraging to hear that Yellow Dog is giving back to the community. I look forward to hearing about future community projects.

We loaded up into the truck and headed back to gather our belongings. Mike had arranged boat transportation back to the small dock in Tulum where our trip began. We climbed into our boat, La Tarantulita, and our driver smiled and asked if we were OK taking our time getting back.  Lena answered for the both of us, “We are in no hurry to leave.”

YDCCF Gives Back to Places Anglers Care About
Eg-Ur River, Mongolia

Eg-Ur River, Mongolia

Lower Jack Creek, Madison County, MT

Lower Jack Creek, Madison County, MT

The Board of YDCCF met again on March 6, 2018 and approved another $20,000 for eight new grants to projects in Belize, Chile, Louisiana, Mexico, Mongolia, and Montana. These newest grants are illustrative of YDCCF’s continued commitment to fisheries restoration, protection and education, and community assistance.  Groups funded include the Madison Conservation District in Ennis, Montana; the Taimen Conservation Fund in the Eg Watershed, Mongolia; Anglers Benefiting Louisiana’s Estuaries in St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes, Louisiana; Torres del Paine Legacy Fund in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile; and the Punta Allen Primary School in Punta Allen Mexico. 

YDCCF provides a mechanism for all anglers to support the destinations and communities they care about, and help other nonprofits and businesses connect with local communities on-the-ground.  As anglers, this work not only fulfills the responsibility to be good stewards of fisheries resources, it also defines our legacy for future generations.

On hearing of their grant award Charlie Conn, Executive Director of The Taimen Fund (TTF), commented "TTF greatly admires YDCCF's commitment to work with local communities to protect fisheries worldwide.  We are honored to receive a grant from YDCCF and look forward to growing a long lasting partnership with a committed organization."

“Giving back is the right thing to do, and this Foundation is the perfect mechanism that allows our company and our clients to make a difference in so many of these areas,” says Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures Co-Founder Jim Klug. "The Yellow Dog model has always included philanthropy, and now through YDCCF, we can support more relevant projects and leverage even more money in the communities where we work, fish and travel.”

YDCCF Grant Awards
March 6, 2018

Madison Conservation District, Ennis, Montana
YDCCF awarded a grant to the Madison Conservation District to restore and enhance riparian vegetation along Jack Creek and to improve in-stream habitat within Jack Creek by re-establishing riffle and pool stream structure.  Stream and riparian restoration and enhancement activities are intended to support existing fisheries values for this important tributary to the Madison River and provide opportunities for the re-introduction of Arctic grayling.

Angler's Benefitting Louisiana's Estuaries (ABLE)
ABLE is a non-profit organization that engages in coastal restoration and environmental education activities in Louisiana. The organization has been heavily involved in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, where the community's thriving commercial and recreational fishing industries are continually threatened by the degradation of its fragile coastal environment.  YDCCF provided a grant to ABLE to engage local students in environmental education programming that will encourage good environmental stewardship along the community's vulnerable coast.  Participants will not only gain technical knowledge and hands-on experience regarding local fisheries and the coastal environment, but will also learn how to be responsible citizens of Louisiana's coast.

The Taimen Fund
YDCCF provided a grant to assist The Taimen Fund (TTF) for their Riverkeeper program in the Eg Watershed, Hovsgol Province, Mongolia.  The River Keeper Program is an ambitious anti-poaching project spanning a total of seven different villages throughout the Eg Watershed, along approximately 120 miles of river. The Riverkeepers employed in the program are local herders that spend a great amount of their time caring for their animals along the riverbanks of the Eg River and its tributaries. These individuals, with generations of historical experience in the watershed are stewards of the land and the river as well.

Toledo Exposure & Wil Mehia, Belize
Toledo Exposure (TE) is the only organization in the country of Belize that is dedicated solely to social and environmental justice using multi-media as a tool. Volunteers from TE go out in the field gather stories and expose what is happening in our society from an environmental and social justice standpoint. YDCCF provided a second grant to help TE and Wil Mehia continue their efforts to patrol Southern Belize to monitor for illegal fishing. Funding will also support two PSA's to educate people about the setting of gillnets and how it affects the fishing and health of the fisheries.

Torres del Paine Legacy Fund, Chile
YDCCF provided a grant to the Torres del Paine Lagacy Fund to establish appropriate infrastructure and interpretive information critical to minimizing visitor impacts and enhancing appreciation of the unique but fragile wetland ecosystems that comprise Torres del Paine National Park. With funding from YDCCF, the Legacy Fund will construct a boardwalk in a highly trafficked but sensitive segment of the popular “W” circuit, as well as design and install interpretive displays that communicate the critical features of the surrounding ecosystems to the estimated 80,000 outdoor enthusiasts that hike this iconic trail every year. The completed project will offer an improved hiking experience that also protects and celebrates the very landscapes park visitors come to enjoy, and furthermore provides a valuable example of how diverse destination stakeholders can come together in collective stewardship to protect and enhance cherished natural heritage.

Discretionary Grants
Chica de Mayo, Bozeman, Montana: YDCCF provided a sponsorship for Chica de Mayo, an annual women’s fly fishing event in Bozeman, Montana which encourages girl and women to fish.

Punta Allen Primary School, Punta Allen, Mexico:  YDCCF has awarded a new grant to the Punta Allen Primary School restore the palapa roof where the kids have lunch, and convert a storage room to a computer classroom. 

Yes for Responsible Mining, Montana: YDCCF awarded a grant to Yes for Responsible Mining, a coalition of Montana conservation and sportsman groups working to pass a ballot initiative in November 2018 that would allow the state the ability deny permits for new metals mines that would require perpetual water treatment to address surface water pollution from heavy metals and/or acid mine drainage.

An Evening with YDCCF

The Bozeman Sprits Distillery generously hosted the Yellow Dog Community & Conservation Foundation (YDCCF) on March 7th to raise awareness and funding for the Foundation’s work. About 80 people came out and helped to raise over $4,000 for YDCCF through raffle tickets for prizes like a Thomas & Thomas fly rod and Hatch Reel, Bozeman Spirits gift basket, merchandise sales, donations, and a silent auction. The turnout was more than expected and provided a real testament to the value of these fisheries and communities across the globe YDCCF supports. Notable sponsors Dan Lohmiller of Rivers Edge Fly Shop and KC Walsh of Simms Fishing Company were also in attendance.

As for the winners of the raffle prizes, Bill Dennis won the Thomas & Thomas fly rod and Hatch Reel, and Michael Schreiner won the Bozeman Spirits Distillery Gift Box. Congratulations to both gentlemen on their winnings!

YDCCF is thrilled by the amazing show of support from our community. Thank you for supporting great fishing and great fisheries!

"Our goal was to help promote what YDCCF is doing for local rivers in Montana and communities around the world. It is a great organization to support, as most of us here travel to the places YDCCF is helping out."                                Jim Harris, Owner,                                            Bozeman Spirits Distillery

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Seychelles Swaps Debt for Marine Protection

YDCCF is excited to share a new article from February 23rd announcing a groundbreaking marine protection program in the Seychelles, Africa.

It’s great to see the government of this tiny African nation take steps to protect their marine resources and preserve and enhance the country’s fishing for the future. The Seychelles hands-down offer some of the most incredible sportfishing and flats fishing on planet, and these latest steps will only make things better in the years ahead.
— Jim Klug, YDCCF Board Member and Founder and Director of Operations for Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures.
Celebrate with YDCCF on March 7th

Join us March 7 at the Bozeman Spirits Distillery to learn more about to learn more about YDCCF and enjoy a fun evening of drinks, hors d'oeuvres, raffle and silent auction.

Raffle Prize 1: Thomas and Thomas Road and Hatch Reel, Value $1,500.
Raffle Prize 2: Bozeman Spirits Distillery Gift Basket, Value $200.

Tickets are $10.00.  To purchase email or call 406-223-2273. Tickets may also be purchased at Bozeman Spirits Distillery - 121 West Main Street.

Special signature whiskey available along with door prizes and a silent auction on event night. 

All proceeds will help YDCCF continue to support fisheries and angling communities across the globe.  YDCCF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and all donations are tax deductible,