By Dan Plummer
Hancock, N.Y.–The 10th annual One Bug trout tourney and fundraiser has come and gone.
It was a huge success. But don’t take my word for it.
Listen to the words of local business owners, who told me that the Friends of the Upper Delaware River’s biggest shebang of the year lifts all boats in the Hancock region with a surge of nourishing cash after a lean winter.
“I’m not sure who’s more excited to welcome the One Bug to Hancock each spring,” Nancy Furdock, programming director for Hancock Town Square, told me. “The participants love it, and so do all the residents and businesses who benefit from the influx of fishers who come from near and far to enjoy our world-class fishing.”
More than 250 people filled the gigantic tent at Hancock’s Fireman’s Park on Friday, April 28. My team of local resident workers did it again this year, transforming a rented 40-by-120 foot tent into a piece of art.
Some friends jibe me for overdoing the decorations. But I have always felt that the tent has to have a special vibe to do justice to this amazing annual event. The men and women who support FUDR’s work deserve the best, so my team and I try to create a weekend they’ll never forget.
I was able to announce during the opening reception this year that the One Bug has now generated just under $1 million in proceeds over its 10-year history. Nearly every penny stayed right here in our community.
FUDR practices “shop locally, think globally.” We spend our money where we sleep, to the benefit of local hotels, restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, outdoors suppliers, lodges, and other shops.
“The One Bug breathes life back into Hancock after a long, tough winter,” Theresa Allen, the owner of Hancock Liquor, told me. “Every spring during the One Bug new faces walk into our shops spending money that supports our number one industry, tourism.”
She added, “If these folks are treated right, they’ll be back. If not, they won’t!”
Besides supporting local businesses, One Bug dollars support FUDR’s work.
Jeff Skelding, the FUDR executive director, said that work currently includes development of a stream corridor management plan that will address such things as flood mitigation, habitat enhancement, and a more sustainable water release program from NYC-owned reservoirs.
Skelding told me, “The One Bug gets all our partners together in a very special environment. This year’s guests included U.S. Rep. John Faso, who spent the night in Hancock so he could tour FUDR’s Sands Creek renovation project the next morning. Good stuff!”
One of my right-hand men on the tent crew for the past several years has been Forrest Weyrauch, an East Branch resident. He told me, “The One Bug allows locals and visitors the opportunity to share their passion for the river, and I for one believe it’s a great thing.”
FUDR also honored two veterans from Project Healing Waters, an organization that gets disabled vets on the water as a form of therapy that helps them clear their minds in a beautiful, stress-free environment. Participating veteran Alain Lajoux said, “This is a great thing FUDR does. I learned a lot from my guide, Mark Malenovsky. And what a beautiful river.”
FUDR puts local kids through an annual fly-fishing camp at Frenchwoods in Hancock. This year, four local graduates of the FUDR/Canfield fishing camp–Tommy Latosky, Jeremy Mouseau, Chris Gross and Owen Wormuth–participated in the One Bug for their first time.
“My first One Bug was truly an experience I will never forget,” said young Wormuth, who goes by the nickname Shammy. “I had so much fun, met many amazing people, and learned so much. I am really happy I was given the opportunity to participate in such a great event and would love to participate in years to come.”
Sherri Resti Thomas, FUDR executive coordinator, said, “I’ve been employed by FUDR a long time now, and I believe we are making a positive contribution to where I grew up in many ways. I’m proud of what we do. I believe our work is vital. The river is a gift and we need to protect it.”
She’s right. According to an economic impact study, tourism on the Upper Delaware River system generates more local dollars than any other industry.
With the 10th-anniversary tourney in the books now, the One Bug banners have come down and the huge crowd has receded a bit, though the 2017 fishing season is now at full tilt.
The good news is the river is still here flowing cold and clean right through the heart of our towns, the common thread that binds us all together. If the river is treated with the care, attention and promotion it deserves, the tourism economy will thrive, lifting all boats. There’s no downside. And isn’t that a rare thing these days?
Dan Plummer, who has been fishing for trout in New York since his boyhood in the Elmira area, is the longtime board chairman of FUDR.