The Manti-La Sal National Forest is getting ready to host their 16th annual Special Needs Fishing Day on Friday, June 21. In preparation for this, Castle Country Radio sat down with biologist and USDA employee Jeff Jewkes to talk about the event.

Opening our conversation, we had Jewkes give a brief overview of the event.” This is an event we started 16 years ago, and it’s for those individuals with special needs both physical and developmental. It’s a day we as rangers always look forward to.” Jewkes said.

Next, we talked about the dedication that goes into this event, with Jewkes explaining,” We have wonderful sponsors and a great ranger turnout, they really enjoy this event. In fact, I tell new employees all the time that once they’ve done this event, they’re going to be hooked.”

After this we talked about the origins of Special Needs Fishing Day, “ A colleague of mine, Kevin Albrecht, was the Forest Service Rep for the National Wild Turkey Federation. He attended the national convention in Tennessee, and they had started an organization called “Wheelin’ Outdoorsman” for people who loved the outdoors but were bound to wheelchairs. So he came back from that and wanted to get something like that started here, and so that’s how the event started.” Jewkes stated.

Next, we talked about the logistics, like where and when the event is being held. The event will take place at the Gigliotti Pond in Helper, Utah, and runs from 9 a.m. to noon The event is also not limited to just kids with special needs, but to adults with special needs as well.

We would like to thank Jewkes and the USDA for putting on this event and taking the time to sit down to chat about it. For more information, a news release can be viewed here.