Wednesday, October 15, 2014

50th Ann. of Southeastern Outdoor Press at Fontana, N.C.

2014 is the Golden Anniversary for SEOPA

Those passionate folks in the Southeast who felt a calling to write about the outdoors banded together five decades ago to found a media organization while gathering near the Smoky Mountains in Fontana, North Carolina. The steady march of time from 1964 included plenty of hunting seasons and fishing opportunities, before it became time to plan and celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association. Though the recent changes in the publishing industry have been numerous it was a return to Fontana that brought attendees a tangible connection to the past.
NBCI Outdoor Communicator Award Winners at SEOPA
The conference kicked off with a concert by local bluegrass band Balsam Range, and their lead singer quipped that they were proud to be Appalachian Americans. The business of the annual conference is always to help the media members to become better at their craft, and to remain mindful of their professional responsibilities. Workshops at Fontana included adventure photography, writing outdoor stories for youth readers, first aid in the field and newspaper reporting. One session about the tribulations of blogging held particular interest for me since I began my own blog back in January 2009.

A large crowd gathered for the 50th Anniversary
 Ron and Karen Presley traveled from Florida
Fundraising for SEOPA includes silent and live auctions during dinner banquets at the conference. The annual awards banquet is a time to recognize the best of the best from the Southeast for their prowess in outdoor communications. While there were too many awards to list them all it is worth noting that members Bodie McDowell and Thayne Smith were inducted into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame while at Fontana.

Viewing the mountain vistas and could be enhanced by taking a tree canopy zip line tour, or by riding on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. Driving along Highway 28 includes tight turns coupled with steep inclines and is nicknamed the Tail of the Dragon. Visitors can simply stop at any of the roadside viewing areas to enjoy the visual dynamics of the mountains and to make photos. If looking for a place to spend the night while visiting, to enjoy nature and experience family fun then visit the Internet at

To read this feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries from SEOPA click 20152013 - 2012 - 2009.

To view the latest Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Report click here.

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