Trout Unlimited works to improve land issues | SierraSun.com

Trout Unlimited works to improve land issues

Bruce Ajari

This past year Trout Unlimited (TU), a grassroots conservation organization, opened an office here in Truckee. A full-time TU national staffer, David Lass, was hired to work on public-land issues in the Sierra Nevada.

TU protects public lands for hunting and fishing, boosting and maintaining stream flows to reconnect good coldwater fish habitat, and restoring degraded private lands that have historically been important for fish migration or spawning.

In California the organization works to accomplish projects and advocacy goals. The group also is working on bringing its message to the next generation of anglers in California. In simple terms, they protect, reconnect, restore and sustain.

Lass is one of five paid staffers in California. The 24-year-old Lass works in an office in downtown Truckee at 10356 Donner Pass Road, Suite 3. It’s in the blue office building located behind Tippy Canoe on the first floor.

He grew up in Portland, Ore., as part of an outdoor-loving family before graduating from Colorado State University with a major in natural resource recreation and tourism with a minor in parks and protected-area management. He also attended the National Outdoor Leadership School in Lander, Wyo., during the fall of 2003.

Lass has also worked as a fishing guide out of North Park Anglers in Walden, Colo., guiding mostly on the North Platte and private waters. During the summer of 2006 he worked with TU as a summer intern in California. His work was prioritizing water rights in the Russian River watershed.

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He sees his role out of the Truckee office as base for the local area, Northern California and the Sierra Nevada. One of the specific items he referred to was protection of the headwaters of main tributaries such the upper Truckee in Meiss Meadows. Another is working on the Forest Service’s Travel Management Plans in the various National Forests. The re-establishment of the native Lahontan cutthroat trout is another project that TU is supporting.

Accomplishment of TU’s goals will take collaboration between stakeholders and government. Establishing communication with all parties is a high priority for local TU office.

TU is also looking into establishing a college outreach program. Right now it is targeting the University of California and California State College systems. Conservation and coalition building will be a goal with the colleges. They are also looking to help with Trout in the Classroom Projects in local schools.

As a grassroots organization, TU is also looking to establish more chapters in Northern California. Presently the closest chapter is in Graeagle, Calif. Lass would love to get one established here in the Lake Tahoe region.

If anyone is interested in volunteering for such a chapter they may contact Lass at 587-7110 or drop by the Donner Pass office.

Trout Unlimited is a welcome addition to the local area and David Lass has been very active since he recently moved into his office in downtown Truckee. He has made a presentation to the local fly fishing club, and was a valuable addition to the second annual Cliff Frazier Memorial Youth Fly Fishing Class, conducted by the Tahoe Truckee Flyfishers in July.

Lass is proving that he is a contributing member of the local community as he makes strides to reach the goals established by TU for the region. Please welcome him to the community when you get the chance. He is a capable young man with great vision. And, he’s not a bad angler, either.

Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.