Military veterans who are supporters of river and wild land protection took on a new mission today: learning about the importance of safeguarding key local creeks for recreation. The best part of this operation was its objective of fishing and camaraderie.
Armed with fishing poles and tackle, about a dozen military vets from Vet Voice Foundation paired up with Trout Unlimited and The Central Coast Wild Heritage Campaign to help build support for permanent protection of Mono and Indian creeks and the Santa Ynez River. These creeks and a river supply water to Lake Cachuma and are critical for fishing in the Los Padres National Forest.
In a statement, Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA-24th) said protecting key fishing streams benefits both people and places.
“Connecting our veterans with some of the beautiful places they served to protect is a special thing. This event serves as an important reminder that we need to continue to support and care for our veterans’ physical and emotional needs after their service to our country,” Capps said. “I���m pleased that we could also highlight the need for wild land conservation and protecting our critical habitats on the Central Coast.”
Veterans at the event echoed this desire to combine the healing power of the outdoors with their focus on protecting public lands.
“Teddy Roosevelt, the founder of America’s conservation movement was also a veteran,” said Vitali Mostovoj, Thousand Oaks, of Vet Voice Foundation.” As a member of the Vet Voice Foundation we follow in his footsteps to ensure that the tradition of veterans protecting lands such as the Los Padres National Forest continues. We are proud of our service and believe that veteran voices can make a difference in protecting our natural treasures.”
Teaming up with vets and other supporters of land and river conservation are critical to the future of public lands as both a recreation destination and a source of tourism revenues.
“Trout Unlimited is committed to supporting our veterans, and to conserving habitat and sporting opportunities on our public lands,” said Jessica Strickland, California Field Coordinator for Trout Unlimited. “The Los Padres National Forest provides exceptional fishing and hunting, and we want to make sure that great places to fish such as Mono and Indian Creeks, the Santa Ynez River, and Lake Cachuma are protected and improved for veterans, sportsmen and women, and future generations.”