Just a week into the essay contest for the chance to fish in Yellowstone National Park this summer with the likes of TROUT Magazine Editor Kirk Deeter, and 18 bloggers have already submitted entries. The deadline for qualified blog posts to be entered into the contest is June 1.
So far, the entries have been varied and really, really good. I'm very impressed with the level of knowledge of the park and the environmental issues facing Yellowstone's priceless fishery--at the very least, bloggers are doing their homework.
Take Kirk Werner's piece--many of you might recognize Kirk as The Unaccomplished Angler. While Kirk's piece mostly references the Firehole River and his annual journey to the park to chase the browns and rainbows that call the Firehole home, it's clear that he understands what Yellowstone is all about--it's a magical place that occupies a prominent place in the American psyche.
Other posts have come from folks like Marc Payne, an avid fly fisher, but one who has yet to visit Yellowstone. His piece in The Perfect Drift references the park as only it can be imagined by a trout angler yet to wet a line in such storied rivers as the Lamar, the Gibbon or the Madison.
"So, I will write what I know," Marc writes. "I will share the truth, and perhaps convey in words what I feel in my heart."
Still other posts are coming from sources first believed to be unlikely--until you realize that we're talking about Yellowstone, here. It is, after all, a landscape that has inspired millions of people around the world. So, when an entry came in from The Working Mom's Travels, I quickly realized that this contest might be bigger than we expected.
Now, as the entries continue to roll in, let me share a bit of what the two winning bloggers will experience in late July.
First, they'll meet up with the tour at Headwaters Lodge, just outside the southern boundary of Yellowstone the afternoon of July 24. There, in the shadow of the Tetons, they'll learn first-hand from Trout Unlimited and the National Park Service just what's at stake in the effort to suppress lake trout in Yellowstone Lake, and to restore native trout populations all over the park.
We'll get to bed early--we need to be up and on the road by 6 a.m. on July 25, because we'll be headed to Yellowstone Lake, where the bloggers will hop on a Park Service work skiff and be taken out on the lake to see the commercial-grade netting efforts in progress--they'll see lake trout being pulled from the lake and quickly dispatched in an effort to keep these invasive char from continuing their attack on native Yellowstone cutthroats.
After lunch, the whole gang will caravan north and east, up the storied Yellowstone River to the mighty Yellowstone Falls. We'll end up in the Lamar Valley by mid-afternoon, where we'll get the chance to fish a bit and see more efforts on the part of the Park Service to improve native trout fisheries in the park.
Stay tuned... more details are yet to come. In the meantime, I want to thank the great partners who are helping TU make this tour happen. First, thanks to Simms and the Yellowstone Park Foundation for helping finance this venture. Without them, Blogger Tour 2012 wouldn't be happening. And, of course, thanks to Rebecca and Joe at the Outdoor Blogger Network. They're help in hosting this event online has been invaluable.
Mostly, though, we're grateful to the scores of folks who are spreading the word about the essay contest. Remember, the first 30 entrants will get a free one-year membership to TU, and a whole host of prizes are available to bloggers, even those who don't win one of two grand-prize trips to Yellowstone.
And stay tuned to the home pages for all four organizations involved in this event for the latest as the contest continues, and June 1 approaches.