Well, we come to the end of another great trapping season. Here in the Interior, we had tough conditions. The first two months were relatively tropical, with little snow. The second half of the season was just the opposite. I didn't hear a lot of out-right complaining, but lots of trappers were mumbling and grumbling about the conditions (including yours truly). As a group, we're not as bad as the farmers in the Midwest, where I grew up. They ALWAYS complain about the weather. For the most part, we try to roll with the punches and keep on doing our thing. Regardless of weather conditions, we enjoy our time on the 'line.
Thanks to yeoman efforts by many people, The Fling and fur auction were successful again this year. Dan Tempel and family led the organization of The Fling. I heard nothing but compliments about the event. JR Pederson was the head honcho for the fur auction and that event came off without a hitch, as well. We thank all the donors and sponsors and volunteers.
Jaimie Kassman of Bethel was named as the Fabian Carey Trapper of the Year during The Fling. Jaimie is a successful trapper, but there was another aspect of his life which brought him the honor. Jaimie runs a treatment center for troubled teens. He uses trapping to teach values and life lessons to these young men. His program epitomizes the best of what our members can accomplish. We applaud Jaimie's creative thinking and dedication.
You've read about the concept of "fur certification" in previous issues of this magazine. The topic is new enough that many of us are still trying to gather all the info before making a decision of where we stand on the issue. We held a discussion of certification the day after The Fling. Mark Schmitt of North American Fur Auction and Howard Noseworthy of Fur Harvesters of America led the discussion. A lot of facts and opinions flew around the room. When the dust settled, everyone agreed that we were more well-informed. I can't speak for anyone else, but I can still see advantages and disadvantages to this program. Hopefully, the clouds will clear and we'll see a clear direction in the near future.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the results of elections for your Board of Directors. Jim Masek and JR Pederson were re-elected. They have both been stalwart contributors for many years and we're glad they have remained in familiar positions. Bill Gottmeier stepped aside after one term on the Board. We thank Bill for his service to ATA. Bob Hunter was elected to replace Bill. Officers are elected by the nine members of the Board. At our most recent meeting, Norm Piispanen was re-elected as Secretary, Ross Beal was re-elected as Vice President and I was re-elected as your President. Bob Hunter was chosen to take over the role as Treasurer. I think I can speak for all officers and other members of the Board when I say that we look forward to serving the members for the next year.
This is a bitter-sweet time of year for trappers in Alaska. We're sad that trapping season is over for another year, but we're looking forward to a great summer. I hope that your summer is full of sunny days, exciting trips around the State and lots of fish. If you have any free time, please sit down and compose a story about your experiences on the trapline. Sharing those stories in this periodical is one of the key features that holds our organization together.