By Roger Mitchell, Stevensville
Dale Burk was one of the first people I became acquainted with after I moved to the Bitterroot from Jacksonville, Florida, over eight years ago. Eventually, I met other members of his family, including his wife Patty, for whom I developed a soft spot in my heart. She is a sweetheart.
I have engaged in conversation with Dale many, many times, usually over coffee and snacks at Light of the Valley Church before the Sunday morning main event. Discussions with him varied widely, but quite often touched on one of his favorite subjects—fly fishing on one or another local stream. I even gave him some chicken feathers once to supplement his stock of fly tying material.
Imagine my pleasure, then, when I picked up the Bitterroot Star, October 31 issue, and saw that he had been inducted into the Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame. I don’t normally read news articles too closely, but I read this one through, every word, from beginning to end, with my amazement growing continually. It became quite evident to me that there was more to Dale Burk than he had ever let me see.
What would be the condition of Montana’s forests, rivers, and wildlife if Dale had not taken the path he did, sometimes at great expense to himself and his family? No one knows and we can speculate until the cows come home, but the fact remains that he performed magnificently and provided a vitally important service to this state and its environment. All of us—natives, transplants, and tourists—benefit greatly from the work that Dale and others like him have done and are continuing to do to protect our world. He deserves the recognition and our thanks. My thanks…belatedly.
Kudos to you, Dale Burk, my friend. I am pleased to know you.