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Save the Wetlands

A number of people today consider the Fergus Falls Fish & Game Club and the Fergus Falls Save the Wetlands Club as one in the same but that was not always true. The Fish and Game Club was founded in 1920 and the Save the Wetlands Club was started in 1954.

The Fergus Falls Fishing Club was formed on March 9, 1920 as a reflection of the interests of the founding members at that time. At a meeting held on April 4, 1921 the name was officially changed to the Fergus Falls Fish & Game Club.

The Fergus Falls Save the Wetlands Club was formed in October of 1954. Recognizing the fact that our wetlands were decreasing a small group in the Fergus Falls area decided to do something about it. The "Save the Wetlands Smelt Fry" was initiated as a fundraising opportunity with the dollars raised being used to acquire properties with essential wetlands in danger of being drained.

The two organizations worked closely together. The Fish and Game Club members would help to catch and clean the smelt and assist at the Smelt Fry and the Save the Wetlands Club were, in most cases, members of the Fergus Falls Fish and Game Club and would often attend our meetings.

These organizations continued to work as separate entities until the late 1970's when the decision was made by the Save the Wetlands Club members to transfer their activities, including money and land, to a younger group with the same objectives of their Club. Thus began the start of numerous meetings over several years which would end with the Fergus Falls Fish & Game Club accepting the responsibility of continuing the eforts of the Save the Wetlands Club.

In the Fergus Falls Fish and Game Club's Annual Statement for the year ending March 31, 1982 the following statement was made and is part of that record. "During the past year the Save the Wetlands Club turned its assets over to the Fergus Falls Fish and Game Club to continue the work they have been doing in acquisition and preservation of area wetlands. Assets on March 31, 1982 consisted of cash and savings accounts and certificates totaling $37,508 and approximately 900 acres of land, the value of which will be determined at a later date. These assets are dedicated for use in continuing the work which has been carried on by the Save the Wetlands Club for over 25 years".

Fast forward to 2014 and the efforts of the Save the Wetlands club ring true today. The original 900 acres that were transferred to the Fish & Game Club were sold with proceeds being applied towards new land acquisitions. Today, the Fergus Falls Fish & Game Club owns over 1,100 acres with two of our acquisitions (our Dohman and Orwell properties) being part of a critical habitat corridor benefiting pheasant, deer, prairie chickens, ducks and geese in western Otter Tail County.