Daniel Lynch: (603) 271-3511
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
August 16, 2004

Fish and Game Commissioner Hatch Honored as Conservation Leader: Represented Strafford County for 25 years

CONCORD, N.H. -- Longtime Fish and Game Commissioner Ellis Hatch Jr., of Rochester, has been presented with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission Award of Excellence, in recognition of a lifetime of dedicated service to the conservation of New Hampshire fish and wildlife and to the advancement of public understanding and enjoyment of these resources. Hatch served as Strafford County's representative on the Commission for 25 years. He officially retired from the Commission in June, but continues to serve as the Strafford County Commissioner in a holdover capacity.

In recognition of Hatch's exceptional contributions, the Award of Excellence, which is the highest award the Commission gives out, is officially called the "Ellis Hatch Award of Excellence." The honor is reserved for individuals who have made the greatest contributions over their lifetime toward the enhancement of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department mission and who have devoted themselves to the conservation of the state's fish and wildlife.

"It is an honor and rare privilege to present the first Ellis Hatch Award to its namesake, Commission Chairman Ellis R. Hatch, for his many years of outstanding contributions to the enhancement of fish and wildlife and marine resources," said fellow Commissioner Jim Jones. "This humble and kind man has been so much more to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and its constituency over the last quarter-century than just an appointed official. His contributions are too numerous to mention."

In recognition of Hatch's strong conservation vision, dedication and action, the Commission proposed to rename the Jones Brook Wildlife Management Area, in Strafford and Carroll counties, as the Ellis Hatch Wildlife Management Area. Hatch championed the protection of this special acreage, which offers deeryards, wild trout and unparalleled beauty. Not only was he successful in working with N.H. Fish and Game to acquire the original land in the early 1980s, but he continued to seek opportunities to expand and further protect this beautiful natural area, adding six more parcels to increase its size from 850 to 1,493 acres.

To build support for the project, Hatch spent many hours on the landing at Jones Pond, tying flies and giving them to visitors along with a lesson about the entomology of the pond and the habitat of the surrounding woods. As northern Strafford and southern Carroll counties continue to become more developed, public appreciation has grown for Hatch's conservation vision and the many opportunities it affords.

Speaker of the N.H. House of Representatives Gene Chandler personally congratulated Hatch, saying, "In recognition of Commissioner Ellis Hatch, his many years of service on the Fish and Game Commission, his dedication to the preservation and development of public land for the sportsman, and his willingness to share his knowledge and interest in New Hampshire's wildlife, I, along with Senator Lou D'Allesandro and Representative Eric Stohl, intend to file legislation to rename the Jones Brook Wildlife Management Area to the Ellis Hatch Wildlife Management Area.

"I believe this would be a fitting tribute to the man that has supported and encouraged the use of this area by New Hampshire sportsmen and nature enthusiasts," Speaker Chandler continued. "It is through his efforts that this area has been preserved for future generations. Having it named for him will be a reminder to all those that enter and a declaration of gratitude from an appreciative state. This legislation will be filed in the fall of 2004 and hopefully acted upon in early 2005."

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission is made up of 11 members, one from each county in the state and one representing the coastal communities. Commissioners are citizens' representatives on the stewardship of the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources. The Commission oversees the setting of policies for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.

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