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
  • DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
    Greater Yellowstone Coalition seeks a development professional to coordinate the organization's individual giving program. The position description is available at http://greateryellowstone.org/careers Please email a letter...
  • IDAHO STATE DIRECTOR
    The Wilderness Society is seeking a full time Idaho State Director who will preferably be based in Boise, Idaho. At least 8-10 years of experience...
  • COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER AND BEARS EARS EDUCATION CENTER MANAGER
    Conservation nonprofit Friends of Cedar Mesa in Bluff, Utah is hiring for two positions. We seek a Communications Manager to execute inspiring and impactful communications...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Wilderness Volunteers Wilderness Volunteers (WV), a 24-year leader in preserving our nation's wildlands, is seeking a motivated person with deep outdoor interests to guide our...
  • HECHO POLICY AND ADVOCACY MANAGER
    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...
  • FISHERIES BIOLOGIST
    Under the direct supervision of the Director of Shoshone-Paiute Tribe's Fish, Wildlife & Parks, in coordination with the Tribal Programs Administrator and the Tribal Chairman,...
  • REGIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NORTHERN ROCKIES, PRAIRIES & PACIFIC REGION
    Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation has grown into America's largest and most trusted grassroots conservation organization with 53 state/territorial affiliates and more than...
  • STEWARDSHIP MANAGER
    STEWARDSHIP MANAGER Job Vacancy and Description Posted June 2, 2021: Open until filled The New Mexico Land Conservancy (NMLC) is a non-profit, regional land trust...
  • KSJD - MORNING EDITION HOST/REPORTER
    KSJD is seeking a host/reporter. Please see for www.ksjd.org for more information. EEO compliant.
  • ON THE EDGE OF CEDAR MESA/BEARS EARS
    Quiet, comfy house for rent in Bluff, Utah. Walk to San Juan River. Bike or hike to many nearby ruins and rock art sites. Beautiful...
  • CARPENTER AND LABORER WANTED.
    Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rain forest on the coast, Hike the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg meadows,...
  • PROJECT MANAGER
    Title: Project Manager Reports To: Program Director Salary Range: Negotiable; starting at $60,000 Location: Bend, OR The Deschutes River Conservancy seeks a Project Manager to...
  • PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    The Deschutes River Conservancy seeks a Program Director to join our dynamic team in restoring streamflow and improving water quality in the Deschutes Basin. WHO...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR - TWISPWORKS
    Established healthy nonprofit in the Methow Valley of Washington state, TwispWorks is hiring the next Executive Director. Terrific opportunity to strive for our mission to...
  • BOARD DIRECTOR
    Help us achieve our mission of promoting excellence in the professional practice of wilderness stewardship, science and education to ensure the life-sustaining benefits of wilderness....
  • TEMPORARY FULL-TIME RANCH OPERATIONS ASSISTANT
    Twin Willows Ranch in Ocate, NM is seeking to immediately fill a Temporary Full-Time employment position as Ranch Operations Assistant for Facilities, Equipment, Land, and...
  • RANCH OPERATIONS ASSISTANT
    Twin Willows Ranch in Ocate, NM is seeking an individual to fill the Regular Full-Time position of Resident Operations Assistant for Technology, Hospitality, Gardening, and...
  • CONSERVATION PROJECT MANAGER
    Conservation Project Manager Position Description Join Skagit Land Trust (the Trust), a not-for-profit conservation organization based in Mount Vernon, Washington, and help protect land for...
  • POEM+ NEWSLETTER
    Start each month with a poem in your inbox by signing up for Taylor S. Winchell's monthly Poem+ Newsletter. No frills. No news. No politics....
  • OUTDOOR PROGRAM - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
    St. Lawrence University seeks to fill the position of Assistant Director in the Outdoor Program. To view the complete position description, including minimum qualifications required,...