image  “No Felt Soles by 2011”, is the cry for policy change sponsored by Trout Unlimited.  This banning of felt soles  is met with some controversy by anglers.  Those opposed to switching to felt soles suggest  felt soles to merely be the scapegoat of poor sanitation habits, but studies provide evidence that felt soles move a significant amount of sediment, thus moving AIS (aquatic invasive species).  A Montana University study puts the amount at 22.10 grams per pair of felt soled boots.  Menh, 21 grams is hardly anything, right?  In a word, no.  Imagine 21 grams in every pair of boots for the thousands of anglers in Montana, (where the study was conducted) alone.  Here is where the amount becomes significant.  It is true that it is not only felt soles that cause the transfer of AIS, which is why many contend felt soles are a scapegoat.  Truth be told however, it makes no matter if felt soles are or are not a scapegoat, because it is evident that AIS are a dire threat to some remarkable fishing and recreation areas.  It is Trout Unlimited’s goal, by banning felt soles, to educate and promote a change in behavior regarding sanitation of angling equipment.  Currently, felt soles are banned in only Alaska.  However, earlier this year a bill was proposed to the Vermont legislature.  

Dustin and I are felt sole wearers, but in order to support the greater cause, we are purchasing lug soles within the month.  Now, we just have to find a brand that offers the sustainability of felt soles.  I know that many companies plan to discontinue their felt soles completely, with Simms doing so by the end of 2010.  With this change of product line, I hope Dustin and I can find some boots that will be with us for the long haul.  And, I hope they still keep me from falling on my butt!   

For more information on AIS and correct sanitation procedures:

http://www.protectyourwaters.net/

Helping to stop the spread of AIS,

Dustin & Stephanie

Written by Stephanie Mullins

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