The ninth annual Trout Unlimited Tri-State Camp wrapped up at Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria, Virginia on June 28. Twenty campers, ages 13-17, spent a week honing their fishing skills and learning about cold water conservation issues. This year’s campers came from Virginia, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island, Arkansas, and Puerto Rico. Paul Kearney served a camp director and George Gaines as executive director. Numerous volunteers from Trout Unlimited, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and Shenandoah National Park assisted with the camp.
Campers started their days with fly casting after breakfast, followed by fly tying and a guest instructor. The afternoons and evenings were spent fishing in local streams and ponds. An annual highlight of the camp is a trout presentation by DGIF fish biologist Paul Bugas, which is followed by an electro-shocking demonstration on the Rose River. However, this year, the skies opened up just as Paul and the campers arrived at the river, cancelling the activity.
The camp staff has done an outstanding job of following up with campers. To date, more than 20 campers have gone on to college and majored in some type of environmental science. In addition, four camp graduates came back to serve as counselors this year. The Tri-State Camp is one of 21 youth camps conducted each summer by TU Councils across the country.
The camp is a joint initiative between the Trout Unlimited state councils and local chapters in Virginia, Maryland/District of Columbia, and West Virginia.