At their recent ninth annual North American Rendezvous, the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers named Wild Steelhead Coalition board member Josh Mills as their Sigurd F. Olson Award winner for his tireless work to protect American public waters for the future.
The Sigurd F. Olson Award recognizes outstanding effort in the conservation of rivers, lakes or wetland habitat. In bestowing the award, Zack Williams, the editor of the Backcountry Journal said, “Josh recently worked with our Washington chapter and the Wild Steelhead Coalition, where he is a board member, to purchase land along the lower Grande Ronde River, which will be donated to the state, preserving angler access forever. He also organized the fundraising of over $100,000 in the past year to help Bahamas hurricane victims and Australian wildfire victims through anglers tying flies for auction. I have never met anyone else who puts as much effort into conservation as a citizen-volunteer.”
Those of us at the Wild Steelhead Coalition who count Mills as a friend, colleague and leader for wild steelhead protection and recovery couldn’t agree more. As a WSC board member, Mills is an incomparable advocate for the watersheds and communities of the Columbia and Snake River Basin, and a longtime proponent of breaching the four Lower Snake River Dams to restore crucial salmon, sturgeon and steelhead habit, and a tireless supporter of our wild places and public lands. His work during the past year to purchase, protect, and donate an 8-acre parcel of land on the lower Grande Ronde River, ensuring permanent public access to nearly 2,000 feet of riverfront on one of Washington’s most important summer steelhead rivers, was an inspiration to all of us who love wild steelhead and the rivers they depend upon.
Congratulations on the Sigurd F. Olson Award, Mills! Wild steelhead and the rivers of North America are lucky to have you fighting on their behalf.