Chuck Parker: Sportsman Activist

Spider Rybaak

Tucked into the northeastern corner of Lake Ontario, claiming the entire western half of Oneida Lake, etched by the Oswego and Salmon Rivers, the finest salmonid streams in the Lower 48, and watered by numerous productive streams and brooks, Oswego County offers some of the best fishing in the Western Hemisphere.

Small wonder, then, that it spawns some of the finest conservationists in the country.

Take Chuck Parker, for instance. An avid hunter and angler, the Texas, NY resident believes political activism is every sportsman’s responsibility, and practices what he preaches.

Parker traces the roots of his activism to the Mad River Club, which he joined in 1989. Ever since, he’s served in numerous conservation-minded sportsmen groups in every capacity from secretary to president, and reached the top when he was elected to the presidency of the New York State Conservation Council (NYSCC) a couple years ago, an office he still holds.

Parker describes the NYSCC as an advocacy group dedicated to promoting sportsman’s issues.

“One of our greatest concerns is legislation out of Albany,” says Parker. “We have advisors on the New York State Conservation Fund Advisory Board and the New York State Fish and Wildlife management Board,” he adds.

True conservationists, the NYSCC’s membership knows man is an integral part of the natural order, and graciously accepts responsibility as steward of the environment.

The NYSCC’s website states: “For over 80 years, the NYSCC Inc. has been a leader in advocating the wise use and management of NY’s valuable natural resources to ensure that they are protected for our children’s children.”

In this vein, NYSCC member clubs offer a wide variety of outdoor activities designed to acquaint kids with the great outdoors, including 4 H Youth Shooting Sports Programs, Youth Fly-fishing, the Oswego County Envirothon, Oswego County Soil and Water’s Annual Conservation Field Days (open to 5th graders) and the Plant a Tree program.

Parker has been a Hunter Safety Instructor since 1993, and states, unabashedly, “We stand opposed to the New York Safe Act. We would like to see it overturned.”

And that’s to be expected, considering the group’s respect for the natural order, and its acceptance that man is on the top rung of the food chain.

Parker feels the greatest threat facing hunting and fishing is the lack of activism among outdoorsmen. “I’m involved with a lot of good sportsmen but the problem is 7 out of 10 don’t belong to a sportsmen’s club, so they don’t advocate for our right to hunt and fish.”

His solution: “Get your friends to join a sportsman’s club and teach your children the importance respecting our natural environment as well as how to safely enjoy all that is has to offer.”

Chuck Parker was named as one of The Syracuse Post-Standard’s “Heroes of Conservation” in 2011.