Craft beer, cool swag and conservation were the topics of conversation recently when the Pennsylvania Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers hosted its BHA Bash at Appalachian Brewing Company in Harrisburg during the week of the National Rifle Association’s Great American Outdoor Show.
Sponsored by First Lite Hunting Apparel, the event featured prize giveaways, story-telling and the camaraderie one would expect around a glowing campfire shared among friends. Hunting tales were exchanged, future plans were hatched and membership ranks were bolstered by all who attended.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is a national grassroots organization of avid outdoorsmen and conservationists that serves as a voice for wild public lands, waters and wildlife. Established in 2014, the Pennsylvania Chapter of the group represents a diverse and enthusiastic team that seeks to protect and improve these places in the Keystone State and beyond.
“It has been an awesome few years of growth for BHA memberships,” said Pennsylvania Chapter Chairman Nate Fronk during the event. “In 2014, we started out with just 40 members in the entire state. Now we are well over 1,500 strong, which is up from 300 members two years ago. In 2019 alone, we experienced 40% membership growth. That’s a testament of how invested sportsmen and sportswomen are in maintaining a strong united voice for our public lands.”
The all-volunteer group works to promote, conserve and improve diverse public lands, both locally and nationwide, be it a Wilderness area, state game lands, or wild trout streams. Standing by rigorous science and best practices, BHA advocates for public land access, habitat improvements and the preservation of these cherished resources all sportsmen love.
“The Pennsylvania Chapter’s growth and enthusiasm is providing for a busy year of projects on the state’s public lands throughout 2020,” Pennsylvania Chapter Vice-Chairman Nick Long said.
On Feb. 22, there are three habitat projects taking place on state game lands — one in Bradford County, one in Lebanon County and one in York County. Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has partnered with QDMA and the Game Commission to do select cuts that will increase browse and cover for wildlife.
“We also have a few more of these work days being planned, and I am working with the Game Commission on an “Adopt a game land” program that is about to start this spring. We have been working on some projects in a few state forests as well,” Long added.
While all Backcountry Hunters & Anglers members want to enjoy the best hunting, fishing and outdoor experiences possible in their lifetimes, they consider it their duty to think beyond today, leaving land and wildlife resources improved for future generations —a vision that commonly unites all members, further strengthening the BHA bond.
“I’ve never been part of an organization that was so instantly welcoming as BHA,” said Pennsylvania Chapter Secretary Don Rank. “Going out west to the national rendezvous last summer, I arrived not knowing a single person other than our regional director. Within the first hour, though, I was welcomed right into the fold as though I were an old long-time friend.”
“It’s an organization that doesn’t matter where you’re from, whether you are a trophy hunter or meat hunter, fly-fisherman or spin fisherman. We all love our sport and care about the traditions of keeping wild places wild. That’s what BHA is all about.”
For more information about the Pennsylvania Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, visit https://www.backcountryhunters.org/pennsylvania_bha.