Cathy Allen is the winner of the October photo contest. Cathy and her teddy shared photos from her recent trip to D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and archives in Spearfish, SD. Congratulations Cathy!
More than 30 years before the first national wildlife refuge was established in 1903, the first national fish hatcheries were created. Throughout 2022 the National Fish Hatchery System has been marking its 150th anniversary.
Teddy knew hatcheries were an important part of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service history, so he was thrilled to visit the DC Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and National Fish and Aquatic Conservation Archives in Spearfish, South Dakota in October. What a fabulous day of discovery he had! Founded in 1896, this fabulous place is still carrying out its original mission, stocking more than 50,000 brown and rainbow trout in 14 reservoirs across South Dakota and Montana in 2021. Named after its first superintendent, DC Booth also preserves the historic and cultural heritage of the USFWS, with a living fisheries museum, an active archive of fisheries records and artifacts, plus interpretive and educational programming.
Teddy was surprised to learn that none of the 67 fish hatcheries have Visitor Services staff or funding. Yet, DC Booth was named “Best Place for a Family Day” in a local contest. How are they able to do take such good care of 190,000 visitors annually? Easy! Their Friends! The Booth Society manages the volunteer corps required to operate multiple educational venues on the site including historic homes, a museum, an underwater viewing area, even a replica Fisheries Railcar. All of it – every single venue on the property – is staffed with two shifts of volunteers daily throughout the season – all managed and paid for by The Booth Society. That’s 14,000 volunteer hours!
Let’s tip our hats to the amazing board of directors and staff at The Booth Society. Executive Director Karen Holzer, Gift Shoppe Manager Nancy Cole, a volunteer board, and a scattering of interns have created a huge legacy – raising the money to pay for facilities renovations, interpretive signage, even land purchases – to build DC Booth National Fish Hatchery into the spectacular place to visit that it is today. Teddy had a great day and highly recommends taking your whole family for a fun day of exploration and learning.