Springfield — Faced with the potential elimination of trapping in the state four decades ago, Paul Kelley organized supporters to convince lawmakers to thwart the campaign that would have doomed one of his biggest passions. He later worked with trappers and legislators to implement fees and furbearer stamps to fund conservation, research and education programs.
On top of that, the Hudson resident served for more than a decade as president of the Illinois Trappers Association.
For his dedication to conservation and the outdoors, Kelley will join two other dedicated outdoorsmen as part of the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Class of 2014.
Dan Basore of, Warrenville, and Charlie Potter Jr., of Lake Forest, have been selected for the Hall of Fame, a program of the Illinois Conservation Foundation. The three were introduced during a ceremony at Conservation World at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield on Aug. 16, and will officially be inducted at the annual ICF Gala at the Hilton Chicago/Indian Lakes in Bloomingdale on Oct. 4.
“Dan Basore, Paul Kelley and Charlie Potter have helped connect tens of thousands of Illinoisans – and people from around the country – to the joys of spending time outdoors here in Illinois,” ICF Executive Director Eric Schmidt said. “They are great ambassadors for outdoor recreation – and for decades have helped anglers, trappers, and hunters of all ages experience the history, heritage and excitement of the great outdoors.”
For more than 50 years, Kelley has promoted the importance and heritage of trapping in Illinois as a member of the Illinois Trappers Association. As a staunch advocate for hunting and trapping in the state, Kelley has also promoted youth hunting and trapping programs, helping found a Wilderness Camp in central Illinois, and instructing at a youth outdoors camp through the Illinois Federation for Outdoor Resources. Kelley has also taught courses for novice trappers and Illinois Conservation Police officers to promote ethical trapping.
Basore has been teaching and promoting the joys of fishing to children and adults in Illinois and throughout the Midwest for more than 30 years. Basore’s famed “Historical Fishing” exhibit is a popular feature at outdoors shows and kids fishing clinics.
For 25 years, Basore has written the Fishing History column for Midwest Outdoors magazine.
One nominator referred to Basore as “a living Smithsonian for the fishing community, taking pride in explaining the history of fishing.”
Potter is well known throughout America for his leadership in the conservation arena, and in the Midwest as host of the Great Outdoors Show on WGN Radio.
Potter grew up in Illinois and has deep roots in the state. His passion for waterfowl and conservation is reflected in his book “Following the Flight” that chronicled the migration of ducks and geese from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
Potter is president and CEO of the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, chairman of Great Outdoors, LLC, a leading outdoor industry exposition company, and is the past CEO of the North American Wildlife Foundation (Delta Waterfowl Foundation). Potter has worked on projects to enhance wetlands, wildlife habitat, open space and the efficiency of conservation funding throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Potter is a past chair of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission and is a past board member of the DNR Advisory Board.
First HOF event for Schmidt
Schmidt, who was selected to lead the ICF in May and began the job June 1, is presiding over his first Hall of Fame induction. He replaced Travis Loyd, who had been in the job only weeks before his resignation. Mark Spangler, the previous executive director, did not have his contract renewed when it ended last year.
Schmidt, a graduate of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a background in fundraising for various organizations, is mainly focused on fundraising and strategic planning for ICF.