WASHINGTON — Most anglers didn't know his name, but Jim Range was possibly their greatest ally in the political scene. Tragically, he died Jan. 20, of cancer, at age 63.
"Although he never wanted credit for anything, Jim was a stalwart for conservation," said Chris Horton, BASS national conservation director. "It was reassuring just knowing he was there, behind the scenes in Washington, working to protect our aquatic resources and, just as importantly, our access to those resources.
"I had the privilege of getting to know Jim personally over the last six years, and his mentoring and friendship will forever remain a high point of my life. His contributions — his gifts to us as anglers — should never be forgotten."
As an attorney, consultant and policy analyst, Range quickly made his mark, playing a critical role in crafting the federal Clean Water Act. An original board member and chair of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, he was a White House appointee to the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council and the Valles Caldera Trust.
Additionally, the avid angler and hunter was a founder of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) and served on the boards of the American Sportfishing Association, Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, Wetlands America Trust, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and other organizations.
While serving as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico said, "Jim Range has been one of those rare individuals who have dedicated their lives to bringing opposing parties together to unite for a common good.
"He did it as a senior staffer in the United States Senate, working on clean air, clean water and wildlife issues. He is still doing it in the conservation field now with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. I truly believe that if extremists on both sides of the environmental spectrum could learn from Jim's wisdom and work, the whole country would be better off."
In recent years, Range attended Bassmaster Classics to promote the TRCP and help educate state conservation directors about the Fishable Waters Act.