A Solon Springs native involved in local forestry has been awarded the 2019 Brule River Sportsmen’s Club scholarship. The $5,000 check was handed to Brent Blaylock during the club’s Monday, July 22, meeting in Brule.
“Thanks a lot,” he told the members. “It takes the pressure off for sure.”
Blaylock, a 2016 graduate of Solon Springs High School, is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point majoring in forest management. His connection with the Brule area runs deep.
“I grew up by the Brule headwaters; I hunted and fished there,” Blaylock said. “My grandpa always fished the Brule. I’ve always fished the Brule.”
As a junior in high school, Blaylock was tapped to work for Bell Pole, thinning red pine and hardwood stands and marking utility poles.
“I’ve been doing that for over four years now,” Blaylock said. “I’ve gone all over the place, in the U P, northern Minnesota, and mainly northwest Wisconsin. I’ve done a few jobs in the Brule valley, actually.”
He plans to work for Bell Pole full time after graduation in the region encompassing northwest Wisconsin and northern Minnesota.
“That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it,” Blaylock said.
He also promised to write an article for the club’s newsletter on how forestry affects trout fishing on the Brule.
The nonprofit club has been awarding an annual scholarship since 1999. Originally $1,000, the scholarship was bumped up to $5,000 in 2012 thanks to a matching donation by a longtime member.
“The Brule River Sportsmen’s Club is extremely dedicated to provide an education in the environmental sciences, and we do that through our scholarships,” Helbach said.
Past recipients have earned degrees in botany, forest recreation, fisheries science, integrated bioscience, environmental law and civil engineering. Many have focused their efforts in the Northland working with the Wisconsin or Minnesota departments of natural resources.
This year, the Brule River Sportsman’s Club scholarship drew a record 13 applicants. Seven of them, including Blaylock, had applied for the scholarship in past years.
“When Brent sent in his application, I knew he was a serious young man because he sent along with the application a picture of him holding a nice trophy German brown,” Helbach said.
The club is dedicated to preserving the Brule River. On Saturday, July 27, a group of members will be out on the river adding donated gravel to dam sites as part of a trout habitat improvement project. They will take part in the Brule Hatchery Family Fun Day on Aug. 24 as well.
For more information about the club and its activities, visit bruleriversportsmensclub.com or the group’s Facebook page.