More On Rusty Gates's Passing

December 23, 2009 By: Marshall Cutchin

The untimely death of Rusty Gates Jr. on Saturday brought sadness to many friends, colleagues and admirers. Long-time Traverse City Record-Eagle writer Sheri McWhirter says in this morning’s paper: “Not only was Gates a behemoth in the fly-fishing world, but he also was integral in local conservation and environmental justice issues. ‘He was the kind of person who comes along once in a while, the type of person who stands for himself and things that are valued by so many others,’ said Jim Olson, a Traverse City attorney who worked with Gates on environmental legal battles.”
And the Chicago Tribune‘s Trevor Jensen notes Gates’s persistent local focus: “Every September, Mr. Gates and his group, which today counts about 800 members, executed a major river cleanup, pulling out many canoe-loads of trash left by careless visitors. The Anglers of the Au Sable also won several legal battles in defense of the river, notably a ruling that stopped a plan for exploratory drilling for gas below the Mason Tract, a nature preserve next to the river’s South Branch.”
Eric Sharp says that if you want to “to experience Rusty Gates’ legacy, drive this winter to the Mason Tract on the South Branch of the Au Sable River and snowshoe or ski through the snowy, hushed woods to the banks of one of the least despoiled streams in Michigan.” In the Detroit Free Press.
This morning Interlocken Public Radio published a short podcast interview with Josh Greenburg, who took over management of Gates’s Au Sable Lodge when Gates fell ill. “He just geniunely enjoyed getting people involved in fly fishing…. He was an incredible recruiter of people.”