ICYMI 1/26/22: Bill Jennings, Dave Hurley Join California Outdoors Hall of Fame

“Bill Jennings and Dave Hurley are two of the finest advocates we have worked with at Restore the Delta. They have taught us so much over the years. They are our friends, and both have served the Delta and local communities with courage and a true moral center.”

– Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director, Restore the Delta

Stockton’s Bill Jennings, Dave Hurley inducted into California Outdoors Hall of Fame – Dan Bacher, Stockton Record 1/25/22

STOCKTON — Two more Stocktonians recently joined former Stockton Record outdoor writer Peter Ottesen and the late Jay Sorensen, founder of the California Striped Bass Association, as members of the California Outdoors Hall of Fame (COHOF). Fisheries protector Bill Jennings entered the Hall of Fame this year, while outdoor writer and educator Dave Hurley joined it last year. 

Arriving in California in the early 1980s, Jennings has fought in the fishery permitting processes for nearly four decades. He founded the Delta Angler, a fly fishing store and smoke shop, and quickly became involved in protecting fisheries. 

Jennings has written numerous comment letters, protests and petitions and frequently testifies in evidentiary proceedings. He manages an aggressive enforcement campaign that has generated millions of dollars for restoration projects. 

Following a massive fish kill, Jennings co-founded the Committee to Save the Mokelumne and served as its chairman. He has chaired the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance since 1988 and has been its executive director since 2005.  

Between 1995 and 2005 he served as the Deltakeeper. He is a Board Member of the California Water Impact Network and was one of the original founders and board member emeritus of Restore the Delta.  

Jennings has received numerous acknowledgments including the International Conservation Award from the Federation of Fly Fishers, the Director’s Achievement Award from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Conservation Achievement Award from the California-Nevada Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, the Quality of Life Award from the Land Utilization Alliance, and the Delta Advocate Award from Restore the Delta.  

The Outdoor Writers Association of California recognized him as Outdoor Californian of the Year and the Delta Fly Fishers selected him as Fly Fisherman of the Year. His efforts in obtaining an historic cleanup of Penn Mine on the Banks of the Mokelumne River led to awards by California Water Policy IX Conference. 

“It’s a great honor to receive this recognition, considering those who have been inducted before me, including Pete Otteson, Jay Sorenson and Dave Hurley. Those are big tracks to follow,” Jennings said.  

In addition to Jennings, 2022 COHOF inductees include Bob Simms, host of the KFBK Outdoor Radio Show on Saturday mornings; Greg LeMond, cyclist; Heather Anderson, hiker; and Jessie Benton Fremont, Yosemite protector, posthumous.  

Dave Hurley of Stockton, inducted into COHOF in 2021, is a lifelong Northern California angler with deep roots in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River. His great grandfather, Guiseppe Busalacchi, was a commercial striped bass, salmon and sturgeon fisherman in the Delta and a partner in the P. Busalacchi and Sons Fish Market in Stockton.  

He grew up at the right hand of his grandfather, Frank Busalacchi, who instilled the love of fishing, the outdoors and the California Delta.  

“Life is full of surprises, and it is a huge surprise to be included in the same group as famous Californians such as Ansel Adams and John Muir,” Hurley said. “As I see myself, the closest I have come to individuals like this is my final three years in education was teaching at Ansel Adams Elementary School.”   

Hurley’s love of the Delta was further enhanced by his close relationship with the late Jay Sorensen. Hurley has been writing stories on outdoor adventures for the past twenty years for a variety of publications including his own Hurley Chronicles. He is a strong advocate for water issues as a board member of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Water4Fish and the California Inland Fisheries Foundation, Inc.  

Hurley covers the Delta along with many other locations as Northern California editor for Western Outdoor News. A lifelong educator, he started the Young Anglers of Morada Middle School to provide opportunities for underserved youth in the outdoors. He has testified as an expert witness before the State Water Board on Delta issues and has presented to the California Fish and Game Commission on numerous occasions.  

Hurley is a strong advocate of catch-and-release of striped bass in excess of 10 pounds, and he additionally has written articles on the peril of excessive take of white sturgeon. 

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