The New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame proudly announces that it has inducted eight new members, including two posthumously in the Pioneer Category. These inductees represent all areas of the state and many fields of endeavor. The NYSOHOF is an organization dedicated to honoring those individuals who have spent many years preserving our outdoor heritage, working for conservation, or enhancing our outdoor sports for future generations.
Ray Besecker of Onondaga County has been a volunteer fishing instructor for over 30 years for many organizations in the greater Syracuse area. Besecker has worked with elementary schools, children’s camps, SAREP, the Izaak Walton League, and Friends of Carpenter’s Brook, among others. He has also been an active member and officer in several organizations including Friends of Carpenter’s Brook, Onondaga County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, and the Izaak Walton League.
Robert C. Hughes II of Steuben County has been a science teacher for 25 years and has had a tremendous influence in getting youngsters involved in the outdoors. He has developed an Environmental Science Class and started a leadership training group which involves hiking, etc. in the Adirondacks. Hughes also developed a Woodlands Resource Course which stresses giving back to nature through projects like fish stocking, trail building, and designing and building lean-tos.
Scott McKee of Erie County has had a major impact on improving musky fishing in that area as well as other conservation projects. As a longtime member and president of the Niagara Musky Association he has been largely responsible for spreading environmental awareness, organizing spring cleanups, angler diary studies that benefit DEC research, and youth involvement. He has organized and funded the Niagara River Fish Attraction Structure Project and other conservation efforts benefitting species from fish to eagles.
Charlie Pace of Madison County has been a key member of the Fish and Wildlife Management Board, Conservation Fund Advisory Board, and other sportsmen’s organizations. He is largely responsible for agreements that have gained access to Cazenovia Lake for anglers and funding for National Archery in Schools Program in many area schools. As a founder and officer of SHOTS (Sportsmen Helping Others Through Sharing) he was involved in raising thousands of dollars to aid handicapped sportsmen and programs that have benefitted youngsters involved in hunting and fishing.
Lance Robson of Cayuga County has been a volunteer for 40 years as a shooting instructor and range supervisor involving youngsters from Boy Scouts of America to local rod and gun clubs. Robson has also been an active member in many area organizations from sportsmen’s clubs to conservation boards such as the Great Lakes Action Agenda and Adirondack Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention. Robson has also served on Conservation Fund Advisory Board, Fish and Wildlife Management Board, and assists as sportsman education and shooting instructor with the Wildlife Society of ESF and Cornell University.
Ray Hrynyk, better known by his pen name of Spider Rybaak, is a prolific outdoor writer from Madison County who has authored many books and freelances for several publications. Hrynyk is even better known for his activity involving youth, including the NYS Outdoor Writers’ Scholarship program and his seminars promoting area fishing. For many years he has annually conducted free fishing clinics for youngsters in Madison, Onondaga, Oswego, and Jefferson Counties where he donates his time and all materials to get youngsters involved.
In the Pioneer Category the late Leon Chandler of Cortland County is honored for his work in promoting fly fishing and conservation. Chandler was Vice President of Cortland Line Company where he elevated the products made there, developed the line rating system in use today, and helped promote the sport of fly fishing through seminars. He served as national president and a director of Trout Unlimited as well as being an ambassador who helped popularize the idea of fly fishing.
Another inductee in the Pioneer Category is Charles Rechlin of Erie County who was active in local clubs and the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs. Rechlin served as president of the Erie County Federation for many years as well as its representative to the NYS Conservation Council. He is credited with playing a major role in banning gillnets in Lake Erie, reducing phosphate levels in Lake Erie, securing funds to upgrade Sturgeon Point Marina, and preventing a large portion of Allegany State Park from being closed to hunting.
Annual Banquet Saturday, April 30 in Canastota
The new inductees will be honored at the annual banquet and will have their plaques displayed at the NYSOHOF Museum in Vail Mills, NY. These inductees will be formally inducted at the annual banquet on Saturday, April 30, 2016 at the Rusty Rail in Canastota, NY. Family and friends are invited to join in this evening of celebration. Registration will begin at 5 pm with dinner at 6 pm followed by the presentations. Reservations must be made by April 23 by calling (315) 363-3896 or (315) 829-3588 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.