After reviewing nominations, the member of the year team made the following report:
First of all, we would like to thank those that made this project possible. To all the contributors: Alaska Airlines, Blue Moose Rafting, Alaska Kayak and Raft, and to the Alaska Outdoors Directory online bookstore for their generous contributions for awards for our Forum Member of the Year!
Now to our nominees...
Each one of these individuals who have been nominated has contributed in some fashion to the Alaska Outdoors Directory Forums community. There were many nominees that received wonderful reviews from other forum members that took the time to not only vote, but to talk and speak openly about their nomination and why exactly they voted for certain forum members.
These are the nominees:
- Brian M (exempt but still received votes)
- Jim Strutz
- Michael Strahan
- Wetland Retrievers
Now to the Forum Member of the Year 2008
This person exemplifies attributes that: Provides a welcome environment for new guests, abides by forum rules, treats other members with respect, and provides reliable, well-presented information on the Alaska Outdoors Directory Forums.
Here are some things that were said about our Member of the Year:
- He always has great stories, and he always does his research. His pictures from the trap lines make me want to leave my job today to live at my lodge. Hopefully I can do just that next winter!
- He is very thoughtful of other on the forum and seems to take the time to research events and topics. Then presents the information in a straight forward manor, allowing everybody to make up there own mind. When he offers his opinion on things he backs it with reason. I may not agree with everything he says but one has to respect his opinion.
- For his great stories of the true Alaskan life in the bush and for being so level headed not ever being disrespectful to others even when he disagrees with their views.
- He provides the most thoughtful responses of anyone using the forum (IMO).
Your Alaska Outdoors Directory Forums Member of the Year 2008 is: Mark Richards, known here as Bushrat
Mark Richards and his high-school sweetheart, Lori, married and made the big jump from the lower-48 to Alaska in the spring of 1980. They arrived by canoe, descending the mighty Yukon River. They moved to the remote bush of the eastern interior the next summer, lining their laden canoe scores of miles up a Yukon River tributary and building their log cabin from dead-standing spruce with only an axe and bowsaw. The rugged bush life must have agreed with them, for they've been there ever since, more than one hundred miles from the nearest faraway village, living a subsistence lifestyle and raising a family of three children and several generations of beloved sled dogs. The "kids" have since departed for college and lives of their own, all honors students from the remote bush, home schooled by mom and dad.
Mark is by necessity a hunter and gatherer, fisherman, and also a trapper. He has been dependent upon Alaskan game meat and fish, wild plants and berries, and fur for nearly thirty years, and this dependence has taught him a profound respect for the natural world and for all fish and wildlife. He tans and sews his own fur hats and mitts and mukluks for his family's winter travels, and still uses only snowshoes and dog team to access the backcountry in winter. His wilderness skills match his knowledge of interior-Alaska flora and fauna.
Mark is also a freelance writer, a crafter of traditional Athapaskan birch-bark baskets, and dabbles in the technological side of what he calls his "techno-primitive" lifestyle. While he and his wife still haul buckets of water from the river and heat and cook only with wood, their cabin roof sprouts solar panels that power a ham-radio station and satellite-internet system for education and communications.
Mark's love of the Alaska outdoors, and particularly hunting and fishing and trapping, led him to become involved in co-founding the Alaska chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (AK BHA). This volunteer and advocacy work means Mark spends a lot of his time reading fish and game management reports and research, writing letters and editorials, and talking with biologists and managers and other hunters about the current and future state of fishing and hunting in Alaska. You will often find him on the Alaska Outdoors site posting in the game management forum.
Thank you, Bushrat, and to all the nominees for their contributions to the Alaska Outdoors Directory Supersite (tm).
Member of the Year Team
Alaska Outdoors Directory Forums
Here are some more Bushrat pix:
For myself, I will say that there are a many forum members who have poured out their knowledge and insight on these pages, and provided guidance and wisdom at several levels. Some were nominated but many more were not. These men and women have brought value to our community and in some cases, great value.
I heartily agree with the choice of the majority who voted for Bushrat. Mark has consistently been a source of inspiration, guidance, and wisdom on these forums. Mark is gracious and thoughtful, and respectful of those that he is communicating with, even when he disagrees with their ideas.
Congratulations, Mark, and thanks for your tremendous contributions year in and year out.