Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League is one of the nation's oldest and most respected conservation organizations. With a powerful grassroots network of 40,000 members and nearly 300 local chapters nationwide, the League takes a common-sense approach toward protecting our country's natural heritage and improving outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans.
The Izaak Walton League was formed to save outdoor America for future generations. The League's founders, who were avid anglers, chose to name the organization after Izaak Walton, the 17th century author of The Complete Angler, one of the most famous books on fishing. We are one of the earliest conservation organizations to set an aggressive course to defend wild America by changing public policy. Almost every major, successful conservation program that America has in place today can be traced directly to a League activity or initiative.
Who Is Izaak Walton?
When the men who founded the Izaak Walton League met for the first time in 1922, they could have called their new organization almost anything. They were Midwestern sportsmen, journalists, salesmen, and even one preacher. For many of them, the lands and waters they loved were along the upper Mississippi River in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and Iowa. Yet they did not choose a regional name or pick a name focused on a specific fish or water resource.
Instead, they named their new organization for the author of The Complete Angler – one of the most original and influential books about the environment. In this book, Walton uses fictional characters to write about fishing as equal parts philosophy, recreation, social bonding, and conservation. Walton and The Complete Angler had profound meaning for League founders who loved to fish, who understood that clean water is essential to human health as well as healthy fish and wildlife, and who saw Walton as an inspirational voice for conservation and the art of angling.
Walton was born in 1593 in Stafford, a town about 150 miles northwest of London. His father was an alehouse keeper. In his teens, Walton moved to London and eventually became a prosperous shopkeeper who both sold cloth and made garments. In his personal life, Walton was a devoted family man as well as an active member of his local Anglican church. Walton eventually became an acclaimed biographer of notable figures including the poet John Donne.
In The Compleet Angler, he imagines how recreational sportsmen might form a “brotherhood” as stewards of the natural world. Walton’s anglers not only swap fishing tips and share fish dinners, they also develop a detailed knowledge of natural history and ecology and advocate for conservation.
Following in the steps of the character Piscator (who is a veiled version of Walton himself), we learn much about Walton, his love for angling and the outdoors, and his vision for conservation – and can see how his philosophy is embodied in the Izaak Walton League of America today.
Izaak Walton understood that a healthy environment was essential to the outdoor recreation he loved. He promoted methods of wildlife management and sustainable fishing (size limits, seasons) that are fundamental to today’s science-based resource management.
The local York Chapter #67 was founded in 1926 and is situated on about 80 acres of beautiful land at 7131 Ironstone Hill Road in Dallastown, PA. The club offers members a pond for members only to fish in, creek side picnic areas, playground, various ranges and a clubhouse. One of the club's main goals is education. Sharing knowledge of conservation programs as well as execution of conservation measures is a big thing at the York Chapter.
The chapter also offers a unique Juniors program for youth 8 to 18. The Juniors are always helping the different club committees while learning important conservation lessons. The kids can learn to help raise pheasants and trout and release them in various locations. The learn safety in hunting situations, how to fish, habitat creation for wood ducks, bats and bees, and to be a part of the community. The club knows the importance of kids as our future.
The local York club is involved in the community more than most are aware. York IWLA is a state co-op, raising trout for stocking in streams local to southern York county, and Kawanis lake in York City. We also hold public trap, rifle pistol fun and 3 gun action shoots open to the public. We are involved in the preservation and restoration of stream habitats in various county areas, and host several marquee outdoor events aimed at introducing children to outdoor activities.
York IWLA also proudly sponsors several Eagle Scout projects and each year offers 3 ea, $1000 college scholarships.