Federation was formed in the early 1940 and has been very active
over the years. Its accomplishments include educational programs
and conservation projects and guidance and recommendation to our
elected officials and various town, county, state and federal officials
regarding issues important to our community.
Many, many, people ask, exactly what is
the Federation and what does the Federation do? The officers and board
members are pleased to provide you with the following historical reconstruction
The sportsmen of Orange County began meeting
and engaging in projects throughout the area since the early 1940s. Many
of the same individuals who had been working to make the out-of-doors
a better place for all to enjoy, formed the Orange County Federation of
Sportsmen's Clubs, Inc. and incorporated in 1958. Significant credit must
be given to the following individuals for their foresight in creating
the Federation as we now know it today:
Directors at inception were:
Past officers included, but were not limited to: Timothy Rich, William Wright,
Jack Rosenthal, Frank Reggero and Tom Jefferson. The Federation has grown
from an informal group of individual outdoors men to a tax exempt, charitable,
visible, not-for-profit organization today of some 30 member clubs whose
combined membership exceeds 6,500 men, women, and children from Orange County.
- John W. Wycoff of Chester
- Peter A. Nuzzolese of Goshen
- William Acker of Warwick
- Frank Cherry of Port Jervis
- John Canade of Montgomery
- Oscar Tompkins of Cornwall
- D.V. Brown of Hamptonburg
- Frank Thayer, Jr. of Newburgh
The purpose of the Federation was then, and is today, to work exclusively
using volunteers in a cooperative spirit with other area groups
and government to enhance recreational opportunities for all who visit
or live in the area. Sportsmen are part of a great heritage, and the Orange
County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, Inc. takes great pride in stating
that every activity we engage is in for the public benefit, using
publicly accessible lands and waters and to protect the Rights
of all men and women who participate in outdoor activities.
The Federation has a high school education program teaching fly fishing
and fly tying, with outdoor trips included as part of the curriculum,
and is introducing a hunter safety program to teach children proper safety
and respect. The program has been received so well that it is the No.
2 sought after course. Orange County children have been given scholarships,
teachers have been sent to environmental workshops, and sportsmen have
conducted stream and land cleanups throughout Orange County, with many
clubs adopting streams and highways. The Federation sponsors and participates
in an annual cleanup of the Stewart Airport buffer lands. There were many,
many, leadership roles exhibited by the OCFSC, Inc. that have set an example
for others to follow. Some firsts are:
- The Federation was the first ever to meet with the Farm Bureau, a
conservation committee of the Board of Supervisors, and visit legislators
in Albany in its official capacity, and to attend public hearings on
environmental and conservation issues.
- The Federation was instrumental in putting the Shawangunk Kill River
back on the stocking list, and established a pheasant rearing project
at Orange Farm.
- The Federation's sportsmen were asked for their input during a finance
meeting of the Board of Supervisors, and invited to attend a congressional
hearing in Washington.
- First time ever that hunting pheasants was allowed on Sunday, and
first ever to allow hen pheasant hunting.
- The first ever to use assistance from the County in the stocking of
our streams and lakes with trout and lands with pheasants.
- In, or about, 1961, the Federation instituted a program extending
the trout season in September.
- Established the first ever hunter safety program and the hunter safety
law which is now the law in 46 states and Canada.
- The Federation established the first ever archery safety program.
- The first to introduce snowshoe rabbits in Orange County.
- Recognizing a valuable resource in the Walkill River, the Federation
was instrumental in amending the Conservation Law to establish a minimum
size on black bass. The Federation authored what is now known as the
Seeley Bill which addresses and assists projects dealing with stream
- Worked to defeat the pest spray bill.
- The Federation was the first, and instrumental in, acquiring some
7 1/2 miles of fishing rights along the Ramapo River.
- The Federation worked with the Conservation Department and other groups
to establish a quail season for Orange County.
- Worked to change the hunting hours from the old nine to five, to the
current sunrise to sunset.
- When heavy snows hit a few years ago, sportsmen saw that surplus grain
reached wildlife feeding stations in the back country with the cooperation
of Department helicopters and volunteers.
- A few years ago, some current delegates saw that the DeBruce hatchery
was in danger of being sold and worked to save it. The battle to save
the fishery still wasn't over. A drought came, and sportsmen assisted
in routing a pipe from an area stream to supplement the dwindling water
- Sportsmen help the Board of Supervisors buy land in the county which
is now a county park.
- From inception, and continuing, sportsmen stock lakes and streams
with tens of thousands of trout annually in Orange County.
- Officers of the Federation worked with the park system to establish
hunting access in Minnewaska, Sterling, and with the Sullivan Federation
in gaining hunting access at Lake Superior. The Federation was the first
to be invited to attend the original meeting of the Took's Island Project,
and was responsible for the inclusion of a parks and recreation area
in the plans.
- The Federation was the author of the party permit system which is
still the best management tool to maintain a well balanced deer herd.
- The Federation was responsible for changing the law to allow one to
gain possession of the deer carcass in an automobile collision if you
choose to do so.
- The Federation was responsible for the ten mile river area being opened
through the F.W.M.B.
- The Federation worked very hard to establish hunting access on Stewart
Airport buffer lands and to preserve over 5,200 acers of land that is
now designated a Stewart Forest.
- The Orange County Federation is the first known county federation
to build a fishing access site for the physically challenged. This site
is located on the D&H
Canal at the Neversink River.
- In 2000, the Federation established and created the first Outdoor
Adventure Program with the cooperation of the Pine Bush School District.
This program exposes students to several areas of outdoor experiences
such as gun safety, fly tying and fishing.
Sportsmen are proud of their contribution to fish and wildlife; let
the record speak for itself! In Orange County alone, 43,000 hunting licenses
are sold annually. Multiply that by an average of $30 per license, and
you can see the significant contribution to fish and wildlife generated
in this county. During the past 50 years, $5 billion
have been provided for conservation through wildlife management funds,
and $150 million for fisheries research. Hunters and shooters have imposed
a tax on themselves over the last 30 years by supporting initiatives for
wildlife management, refuges, wetlands, and wintering ranges for wildlife.
Since the enactment of the Federal Duck Stamp Act in 1934, the program
has raised almost $140 million. As an example of the success, compare
the mere 500,000 deer in the United States in
the early 1900s to the herd of 15,000,000 today.
The elk herd has multiplied five times in the last 60
years, and antelope herds have grown seven times and
hunters spend an estimated $100 million each year developing habitat on
privately owned lands. Sportsmen continue to back the National Wildlife
Refuge and the Isaack Walton League. John James Audubon, patron saint
of bird lovers, was also a sportsman hunter. It was sportsmen of this
nation like him, who, when in the field enjoying outdoor recreation, were
the first to warn of the ravages of expansion, and it is the sportsmen
who continue to seek the equitable balance so vital today.
Many thanks to James Beemer for his contribution to this historical
This Historical Review of the OCFSC, Inc. originally appeared
in the program for the Federation's 40th Anniversary Dinner on October