Jim Thrash: A solid man

  • Jim Thrash

    Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association
 

Jim Thrash, 44, who died July 6 in the Glenwood Springs, Colo., fire, was a McCall, Idaho, conservationist. That is how I came to know him.

Jim was an outfitter in the heart of Idaho - Salmon River country. For several years he chaired the wilderness committee of the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association. He was on its board, then its vice president, and last year was elected president. Together we worked on and off for almost a decade on just two matters, neither of which ever concluded.

The first was wilderness. Jim helped track each false start and blind alley, beating back congressional efforts to enact wretched bills, keeping the hope of serious legislation alive, doing all he could to keep places wild in the meantime.

He worked for his fellow outfitters, whose businesses depend upon wild places all over Idaho. He worked for himself; his livelihood depended on unprotected wild areas such as French Creek and the Salmon River Breaks. He worked for an Idaho-to-be in which wilderness could endure.

A group of us came together four or five times a year to plot or lobby. Because we worked so long to so little apparent end by someone else's rules, something of the camaraderie of a lost cause came to color these times. Underneath was an unspoken bond: We didn't intend to lose the battle.

The second matter Jim Thrash worked on was to keep the alliance between Idaho outfitters and Idaho conservationists in working order. In our state the political ground upon which all conservationists stand is thin enough. Jim was among those consciously resisting pressures to slice it thinner by letting differences become disagreements, and disagreements divisions.

To me it was, and is, a form of madness to elevate disputes over outfitter practices to a pitch threatening our common stake in keeping Idaho wild. In the small boat of Idaho conservation, it is not intelligent to use the paddle to whack each other.

Jim was part of an outfitter leadership that from the late 1980s determined to achieve four goals: making IOGA a tough professional advocate for the business interests of its members; significantly raising standards of outfitter practice; giving outfitters sharper and separate standing in Idaho conservation politics; and working cooperatively within the broader conservation ranks. Doing it all at once was tough. I respected Jim for the skill and patience he brought to it.

And like everyone else, I came to like him. He was friendly, quiet, alert, a close listener, well and plain spoken, competent, gentlemanly, genuine. He was at home in wild mountains and with people both; the combination made a solid man.

I don't know much of how he died, and for whatever reasons am not reading the reconstructions. I hear he was helping others; that fits the man I knew. What I feel is loss and sorrow for his wife and two children.

So Jim, from me, from the boat we chose separately and then chose to help row together, we are diminished, but we remember. And we can't give up.

Memorials to the Educational Trust Fund for Ginny and Nathan Thrash can be sent to IOGA, P.O. Box 95, Boise, ID 83701.

Pat Ford lives in Boise, Idaho.

High Country News Classifieds
  • WATERSHED RESTORATION DIRECTOR
    $58k-$70k + benefits to oversee watershed restoration projects that fulfill our strategic goals across urban and rural areas within the bi-national Santa Cruz and San...
  • OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
    We are a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that builds resilience on arid working lands. We foster ecological, economic, and social health through education, innovation, and collaboration....
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    Come work alongside everyday Montanans to project our clean air, water, and build thriving communities! Competitive salary, health insurance, pension, generous vacation time and sabbatical....
  • CAMPAIGN MANAGER
    Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA), a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to protecting, defending and restoring Oregon's high desert, seeks a Campaign Manager to works as...
  • HECHO DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO) was created in 2013 to help fulfill our duty to conserve and protect our public lands for...
  • REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE, COLUMBIA CASCADES
    The Regional Representative serves as PCTA's primary staff on the ground along the trail working closely with staff, volunteers, and nonprofit and agency partners. This...
  • FINANCE AND OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
    The Montana Land Reliance (MLR) seeks a full-time Finance and Operations Director to manage the internal functions of MLR and its nonprofit affiliates. Key areas...
  • DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION
    The Nature Conservancy is recruiting for a Director of Conservation. Provides strategic leadership and support for all of the Conservancy's conservation work in Arizona. The...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Amargosa Conservancy (AC), a conservation nonprofit dedicated to standing up for water and biodiversity in the Death Valley region, seeks an executive director to...
  • BIG BASIN SENIOR PROJECT PLANNER - CLIMATE ADAPTATION & RESILIENCE
    Parks California Big Basin Senior Project Planner - Climate Adaptation & Resilience ORGANIZATION BACKGROUND Parks California is a new organization working to ensure that our...
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE ASSISTANT - (PART-TIME)
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a part-time Customer Service Assistant, based at...
  • SCIENCE PROJECT MANAGER
    About Long Live the Kings (LLTK) Our mission is to restore wild salmon and steelhead and support sustainable fishing in the Pacific Northwest. Since 1986,...
  • HUMAN RESOURCES GENERALIST
    Honor the Earth is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on identity. Indigenous people, people of color, Two-Spirit or LGBTQA+ people,...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Colorado Trout Unlimited seeks an individual with successful development experience, strong interpersonal skills, and a deep commitment to coldwater conservation to serve as the organization's...
  • NEW BOOK BY AWARD-WINNING WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST, BRUCE SMITH
    In a perilous place at the roof of the world, an orphaned mountain goat is rescued from certain death by a mysterious raven.This middle-grade novel,...
  • DESCHUTES LAND TRUST VOLUNTEER PROGRAM MANAGER
    The Deschutes Land Trust is seeking an experienced Volunteer Program Manager to join its dedicated team! Deschutes Land Trust conserves and cares for the lands...
  • PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Now hiring a full-time, remote Program Director for the Society for Wilderness Stewardship! Come help us promote excellence in the professional practice of wilderness stewardship,...
  • MOUNTAIN LOTS FOR SALE
    Multiple lots in gated community only 5 miles from Great Sand Dunes National Park. Seasonal flowing streams. Year round road maintenance.
  • RURAL ACREAGE OUTSIDE SILVER CITY, NM
    Country living just minutes from town! 20 acres with great views makes a perfect spot for your custom home. Nice oaks and juniper. Cassie Carver,...
  • A FIVE STAR FOREST SETTING WITH SECLUSION AND SEPARATENESS
    This home is for a discerning buyer in search of a forest setting of premier seclusion & separateness. Surrounded on all sides by USFS land...