New York State Outdoor Writers Association to honor Bill Hilts, Jr. for his continuing involvement in promoting natural resources.
The NYSOWA M. Paul Keesler New York Outdoor Citizen Award is annually presented to an individual or organization that effectively has raised the public’s awareness of outdoor recreational opportunities and conservation issues in New York State. The award recipient is officially announced at the annual conference of the New York State Outdoor Writers Association (NYSOWA).
The award was created to honor worthy individuals and organizations, at the same time perpetuating the name of one of NYSOWA’s dearest members. The late M. Paul Keesler spent nearly five decades promoting and conserving the outdoor wonders and recreational opportunities within New York State. Paul Keesler founded the New York Sportsman magazine which enlightened and educated readers statewide and beyond to the wild treasures of the Empire State. Keesler also wrote books on canoe fishing New York waterways and on his beloved West Canada Creek and Mohawk Valley.
This year’s award winner is Bill Hilts, Jr. of Niagara County. As an outdoor writer and Tourism Director for Niagara County he has promoted the outdoor resources of Niagara County and western New York. Through his bi-weekly newspaper columns and weekly radio shows he has kept western New York up to date on all the great opportunities for outdoor recreation, including current fishing conditions. As Director of Outdoor Promotion with Niagara Tourism Corporation he has spread the word throughout New York State and the northeast about the fantastic opportunities for outdoor recreation in western New York State.
His articles in magazines including New York Outdoor News, Lake Ontario Outdoors, Great Lakes Angler, and The Fisherman have helped make people aware of the world class fishing and recreation opportunities that exist in the Lake Ontario region. He has taken the lead in organizing booths and displays for Lake Ontario Counties at outdoor shows. By playing a leading role in organizing and continuing to help in running the LOC Derby he has demonstrated to the public that the fishing on Lake Ontario is the envy of other areas in the northeast and upper mid-west.
As president of AGLOW and NYSOWA, Bill Hilts, Jr. worked tirelessly to help other writers gain insight, information, and the outlets to spread the news of hunting and fishing, as well as other outdoor recreation. Bill also used his positions of influence to increase the public’s awareness of many fish and wildlife management issues (e.g. problems with the hatcheries, lack of information or access from the DEC personnel, deer management issues) throughout New York State and the northeast.
Bill Hilts, Jr. embodies the spirit of the Keesler Award to publicize New York State resources and increase the public’s awareness of conservation issues.