It's a time honored tradition for manly men to grab a Jim Harrison novel, an Orvis hat and some felt waders to go fly fishing in America's streams. But their expensive gear is killing the rivers they love.
The Times today runs an article about Didymosphenia geminata (didymo) — an invasive, single cell species that is tracked on the bottom of felt fly fishing boots and can wreak havoc on ecosystems when introduced to a new area. But a ban on felt boots would devastate the fly fisherman's aesthetic! And it also hurts to fall down in the streams, as fisherman Arvey McFarland told the paper:
In all these years, the number of times I've fallen wearing felt soles, I can count them on one hand," he said. "When I've tried various rubber and pleated soles, I've opened my right elbow and dislocated my shoulder. No more for me."
Poor guy. Pulling in a nice rainbow trout in rubber boots just wouldn't look good in pictures for the office, either. On the Fly Fisherman message board, the felt boot debate has been going for years. When Trout Unlimited, a conservation group backed a ban on felt boots the yuppies got worked up:
Now TU is getting into the "ban the felt" act: Sorry, but there are so many vehicles to transfer these harmful invasive organisms from waterway to waterway, I don't see what the positives are. May as well ban all water sports if they're going to go that route.
Because if fly fishermen can't wear expensive, cool looking boots, no one in America should be able to swim anywhere, ever. Alaska and Vermont have already banned felt boots for fishing, and Maryland is close to doing the same. The war on Hemingway yuppies has only just begun.
[Image via Getty]