Four decades in the wild

Outdoors writer Pete Ottesen and his wife, Alexandra, stand atop a fallen giant baobab tree during a 2007 trip to the African outback.

Record outdoors writer Pete Ottesen snuck an amazing little tidbit into yesterday’s column.

He’s been writing stories for this newspaper for 40 years.

“Perhaps I could submit this column on my old Smith Corona typewriter, just for old time’s sake,” he jokes (I think).

But seriously, 40 years fishing and hunting throughout the Delta and San Joaquin County — and sometimes, far beyond that — puts Pete in a pretty select club.

That is, the shrinking number of folks who have been carefully watching changes in our environment over an extended period of time. The decline of Delta fisheries being, perhaps, the best example.

In 1972, the Department of Fish and Wildlife population index for striped bass was 6,116. Last year it was 125.

Pete has witnessed this decline, and others, first-hand.

And I know he’s worried about the growing disconnect between sedentary Americans and the great outdoors.

Not that he’s anything but a cheerful guy. Whenever I see Pete, I’m treated to an enthusiastic story — in that booming voice of his — about his latest adventure, whether fly-fishing for trout on the upper Sacramento River, or wandering the game reserves of the African outback.

Thanks to Pete for 40 years of chronicling the world around us.

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  • Blog Author

    Alex Breitler

    A native of Benicia, he lives in Stockton with his wife, Ann, who forces him to go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada or Trinity Alps at every opportunity. He has been writing mostly about natural resources since 2003, first in Redding and now in ... Read Full
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