A knock on Jerry O'Connell's door yields an unexpected visitor seeking permission to fish in his backyard. He grants permission to Noah Maclean, on the condition that Noah join Jerry and the family for dinner. Noah agrees, and mistakenly leaves behind an important flybox.
Jerry O'Connell founded Big Blackfoot Riverkeeper and is currently the executive director. He first viewed the Blackfoot in 1986 while hitchhiking through Montana. It was love at first sight, and that moment planted the seed that eventually resulted in his moving from New England to the Blackfoot valley in 1992. His love affair with the Big Blackfoot River continues today.
Jerry has been involved in a variety of projects to protect the Big Blackfoot. He served on the River Recreation Advisory for Tomorrow committee which, in conjunction with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, developed new recreation guidelines for the Blackfoot. He is currently on the board of The Big Blackfoot Chapter of Trout Unlimited which has restored over 700 miles of Blackfoot tributaries. Additionally, he is currently president of the Missoula City/County Consolidated Planning Board.
Jerry lives in Greenough with his wife Deborah, a couple of horses and a rather large crew of dogs.
Learn more about Jerry and his work at bigblackfootriverkeeper.org.
This episode of the Tell Us Something podcast was recorded in front of a live audience on September 10th, 2017, at The Wilma in Missoula, MT. 8 storytellers shared their story on the theme “Up the Blackfoot”.