History of Washington Trout Unlimited

The Washington Council (Northwest Steelhead and Salmon Council) of Trout Unlimited has traveled a long road since its inception as the "Northwest Steelheaders" in the Portland/Vancouver area in about 1958.

In early 1967 Northwest Steelheader members Larry Cassidy of Vancouver and Bill Luch of Portland initiated action to merge the Northwest Steelheaders with Trout Unlimited. It was voted, approved and finalized in Spokane in late 1967. Doug Allan of the Icicle Valley Chapter and C.C. "Red" Pittack of the Upper Columbia Chapter also played important roles in these meetings. Both Cassidy and Luch went on to become early presidents of Trout Unlimited as did C.C. "Red" Pittack. Red eventually became Chairman of the Board of the nationwide Trout Unlimited organization. This merger doubled TU's membership from 4,000 to 8,000 overnight, a far cry from today's 455 chapters and 100,000 members. The Washington Council today includes 30 chapters and more than 4000 members statewide.

By 1974 growth of membership and chapters resulted in changes. The Northwest Steelhead and Salmon Council of Trout Unlimited (NWSSCTU) was incorporated as a Washington non-profit 501(c)3 corporation with its own unique logo. In 1998, to better identify the council with the national Trout Unlimited organization it was determined to use the name "Washington Council" in lieu of NWSSCTU, which originally denoted it had members in Idaho, Oregon and Washington.  Not wishing to give up their familiar logo or name the members voted to continue the corporation name as NWSSCTU, keeping the logo but referring in daily use to the Washington Council.

In 1985, NWSSCTU and Trout Unlimited national hired Jerry Pavletich of Aberdeen to be the first executive director of the council.  Jerry had been a highly committed volunteer in the organization and was one of a few people who were most knowledgeable on the complex issues surrounding fish conservation and recreational fishing.  In those early days Jerry maintained the office records in the trunk of his car as he carried out the business of the Council.

In September of 1989 a corporate office was established in Olympia at the Bristol Court office complex where it remains today.

In 1992 after a year long intensive review by a national "Strategic Review Committee", Trout Unlimited underwent a major reconstruction. Forty nine states were divided into ten regions with Alaska, Oregon and Washington comprising Region IX (Northwest).  A National Resource Board (NRB) was created to determine TU's mission and action agenda, a Board of Trustees was recruited to administer fund raising and financial control.  Each region is represented on both the NRB and the Board of Trustees by a regional vice president.  Also three directors are elected by the states in each region to serve on the NRB.  Here in Region IX, each state council elects an NRB director to represent its state.

One of the early actions of the Board of Trustees was to hire regional directors in Region IX (Northwest) and Region III (Southeast) as a two year test program. The program was to terminate in September of 1997. Bill Robinson, a long time TU volunteer and former Washington Council president was hired to fill the Northwest Regional Director's position and to take on the responsibilities that were performed by Jerry Pavletich. In September when the program terminated the Washington Council voted to hire Bill as the Council's Executive Director. Bill serves as the Executive Director today.

In 2002 the title of Executive Director was changed to Conservation Director to better reflect the duties of the position.

In 2003 Bill Robinson resigned as Conservation Director.


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