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Annual Meeting & THAW Update
Over the past 6-months, we have been proceeding at full-steam with the planning and organization for an in-person Annual Meeting this Winter. Despite a resurgence in COVID-19 cases over the summer resulting in renewed mitigation requirements and individual health concerns, we hoped that the severity of COVID-19 spread in Idaho (and restrictions/concerns about gatherings) would have abated enough that putting on an effective and well-attended, in-person meeting would not be an issue by December.
- First, while caseloads associated with the ongoing Delta variant surge have decreased some over the past weeks, they remain high overall, and health officials we have spoken with caution that we may not yet have reached the peak.
- Second, by late last month, we learned that USFS, BLM, and State Agency representatives would (with only several individual exceptions) not be allowed to travel, and hence not be able to attend, an in-person IOGA meeting in December.
- Finally, of the many responses we received to the member survey last month, approximately 60% responded that they would not attend an in-person Annual Meeting this December.
In light of these factors and member feedback, a special meeting of the Board of Directors was called to review the survey results and discuss the concerns outlined above (click here for minutes and Board poll). This was followed by a remote polling of the Board. The resulting vote confirmed the decision to cancel the in-person Annual Meeting and THAW Gala this year.
Basis For The Decision
- Lack of Agency Staff Attendance/Participation:
- Agency staff presentations and discussions are a central component of IOGA meetings. Not having agency staff in attendance at the annual meeting would diminish the value of the meeting for members and limit the content and productivity of section breakouts and other relevant sessions.
- Limited Attendance/Participation by Members:
- Regardless of personal opinions or level of concern about COVID and in-person gatherings, having such a significant proportion of members not participating in the discussions, decisions, and Association Business at the Annual Meeting is problematic on an organizational level.
- With fewer than half of the members that would normally attend the annual meeting, it is likely that respective Activity Sections (and potentially the General Assembly) would not have enough voting members in attendance to constitute a Quorum (as required by bylaws).
- Financial Feasibility:
- This is the most fundamental issue: Based on the attendance we might expect, it would be nearly impossible for IOGA to not incur financial losses, let alone cover costs, in putting on the in-person meeting (with over half of members not attending and no agency staff). While IOGA’s political strength, membership, and financial position have all improved greatly over the past three years, the organization cannot afford to lose money in putting on our meeting.
The Annual Meeting and THAW are key events— to address Association business, industry issues and concerns, and to generate annual operating revenue. We understand this decision will be disappointing for many of you, IOGA staff and Directors included. We hope that even if you personally would have attended an in person meeting, you will also understand that IOGA cannot afford to lose money in order to put one on.
What does this mean for IOGA? We need your support.
So, I am asking our members to help carry us through. As a starting point, if you haven’t already, I hope you will take a couple of minutes to renew your membership. Beyond membership dues, I hope you will consider making an additional [voluntary] contribution to IOGA this year. An additional $200 contribution by most, if not all, IOGA members would amount to enough to cover the expenses and offset the revenue we will lose from the Annual Meeting.
- Defending and protecting the interests of outfitters and guides in Idaho, in the legislature, with agencies and management authorities (USFS, BLM, IDFG, IDL, IOGLB, etc.), and on National issues with our congressional delegation and partners.
- Advocating for the reasonable regulation of our industry and effective, responsible management of the land, water, and wildlife that sustains it.
- Communicating with and coordinating the membership, to keep you all informed about critical issues and actions affecting you and your businesses, alert you when your actions are needed, and coordinate industry responses to issues affecting us all
- Serving as the voice and champion of outfitters and guides in Idaho
From our work responding to COVID-19 protocols and closures, without which outfitters and guides would have been shut down or else drastically limited; our success in passing amending legislation to the laws governing outfitted hunt tag allocation and increasing the outfitter set-aside; negotiating importing updates and changes to IOGLB rules; representation and advocacy for Idaho’s salmon and steelhead; reinvestment in our members and industry in East and North Idaho; the strength of our relationships with the Governor’s office, elected representatives, and industry partners; monitoring and engagement of agencies and management authorities.
Looking forward to this year, your assistance will support our work on:
- Changes to IOGLB rules and statutes;
- Hunt tag allocation and outfitted hunt tag restrictions;
- SNRA Outfitter Management Plan;
- Rule and enforcement issues for East Idaho fishing outfitters;
- Idaho Department of Lands outfitter lease agreements;
- Idaho Salmon and Steelhead recovery actions;
- Completion of the first industry economic impact study for Idaho since 1993;
- Industry marketing and promotion using funds awarded by the Idaho Travel Council;
- Statutes regarding outfitter liability;
- National issues affecting the industry (minimum wage, overtime, motor carrier, SOAR, etc.).
Click the 'Donate' button to make a contribution in support of IOGA via PayPal/credit card of your choice.
To make a contribution by check, please send to:
PO Box 95
Boise, ID 83701