Many Hands Make Light Work

By Tom Keer

Nov 26, 2014

One day last fall, I was walking the beach and saw a tangle of monofilament fishing line washed up on shore.

One day last fall, I was walking the beach and saw a tangle of monofilament fishing line washed up on shore.

There were a bunch of gulls and terns walking around it and I figured they’d get caught in it and it’d create a mess.  I stopped and grabbed it and started pulling.  From the looks of it someone had hooked a big fish that pulled out a bunch of line and then broke off.  Occupational hazard for sure, we’ve all been there at some point, and I half expected a striped bass to be on the other end.  Alas, there was none.

But it made me think that we all have a hand in conservation, and if we all work together then many hands will make light work.  Picking up trash along a river bank or hauling out debris like old tires from a stream bed… there are many ways we all can have a positive impact on our environment.

Getting involved with a conservation group is another great way to have a positive affect.  There are a number of excellent groups that focus on fresh and saltwater fisheries. When I had a lot of free time, I joined the Board of Directors of CCA in my state, but now that I’m tight on time I volunteer for a day or two each year to lend a hand on a specific project.  Every little bit helps.

On top of that, every angler who buys a fishing license or boat registration helps on the big scale, since a percent of that revenue goes towards habitat management, education, fish surveys and research, fish stockings and access.  Federal groups like the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service allocate funds to state fish and wildlife agencies, and those state agencies then re-allocate that revenue towards management, education and access programs.  On that level, everyone who buys a license helps the cause, and combined with a grass roots effort we all have a hand in improving our fisheries and waterways.

We have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and if we all do even a little bit we’ll see a dramatic improvement in our land, water, and fisheries.  Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!

Tom Keer is an award-winning freelance writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Visit him at or at
Tom Keer
Tom Keer
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at or at