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Outdoors / By Will Elliott: Local flavor spices hall inductions

Four of the 12 inductees honored during the New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on April 25 are from Western New York.

The late Joseph Jemiolo Jr. of Boston, along with famed writer and outdoorsman Lee Wulff, were honored with a Pioneer Award presented posthumously for their accomplishments. Jemiolo’s widow, Margaret, accepted the award plaque.

As always, people recognized by NYSOHOF could have been inducted years earlier for their efforts.

Each honoree must be nominated and the nominator submits recommendations from peers about the nominee’s years and extent of service. This year, retired Department of Environmental Conservation Officer Dick Lang nominated and introduced retired DEC trapper Al Reigle of Lancaster for induction.

During his background remarks, Lang noted that Reigle at age 92 continues to work a trap line and teaches a trapper certification course each year. When Reigle stepped to the podium he began with the comment, “I only have eight years to go,” which drew some applause. But the tag line to that remark was, “before I retire.” Those three words got laughter along with greater applause.

Frank Miskey Jr., the youngest of this year’s inductees, has a listing of volunteer conservation-based service akin to an outdoorsman twice his age. Son of Master Instructor Frank Miskey Sr., Frank Jr. has worked on sporting club projects, sportsman-education programs and county federation projects since early childhood.

His mom noted that he was trying to do dad’s work at age 8. Frank Jr. thanked all at meetings and in the field who inspire him to do all that he does.

Leo Roth, outdoor writer for the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, has made significant contributions to the outdoors well beyond his column writing. Nominator Dennis Money, founder of the Seneca White Deer Inc., pointed out the many ways Roth has served conservation and environmental causes, programs and outcomes.

Roth humbly accepted his induction, noting that his efforts are in the direction of Rochester newspapering legends such as the late Floyd King. Roth has assisted in many programs, including Seneca White Deer, Red Cross Casting for Kids, and a catch-and-release steelhead program among many other beyond-the-office efforts.

Gordon Batcheller of Rensselaer County is currently the DEC Chief of the Bureau of Wildlife, but he has a background of service in Western New York.

Batcheller served as a wildlife biologist at the Region 9 headquarters in the early 1980s, monitoring trapping and small-game programs before and after the scheduled work day.

His wildlife efforts, especially in trapping, have resulted in outcomes on an international scale.

Batcheller plans to retire in July after a career in state, national and international environmental conservation involvements that began in Buffalo.

When accepting his award he thanked all and summed up his career and involvements by saying, “I’m all for everything that gets young people outside.” He referred to anglers, hunters and trappers as “the fuel of conservation.”

Other inductees honored that night were Chuck Parker, current president of the NYS Conservation Council; Bill Lansley of Onondaga County, active in county federation hatchery, women and pheasant programs; Dave Simmons of Oswego County, active in federation youth, Women-in-Nature, and conservation projects; Larry Steiner of Otsego County, Safari Club program coordinator and involved in handicapped sportsmen, venison donation and Archery in Schools programs; and Joan Wulff of Sullivan County, widow of Lee Wulff and deemed by her peers as “The First Lady of Fly Fishing.”

Anyone can nominate an outdoors person for induction in the New York State Outdoorsman Hall of Fame.

For details on nominating, the new museum in Vails Mills and other NYSOHOF information, visit