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Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council Members Sworn In

  • 19 April 2016
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Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council Members Sworn In
Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council. From left to right: William “Larry” Stone, Arthur Dick, Travis Stephenson, George Wrenn Ragsdale, Cameron Boltes, Dell Murphy, Owen Andrews, Rep. Jimmy Dixon, Sue Gray, Harry Shaw, David Hoyle, WRC Chairman John Clark, Kevin Howell, and WRC Executive Director Gordon Myers.

RALEIGH, N.C. (April 19, 2016) – An effort to expand outdoor opportunities for youth and preserve North Carolina’s outdoor heritage got underway Thursday as 11 members of the Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council were sworn in during a meeting held at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s headquarters in Raleigh.

The council, which was created as part of the Outdoor Heritage Act, advises state agencies and the General Assembly on promoting outdoor recreational activities, including, but not limited to, fishing, horseback riding, camping, hiking, bird watching, swimming and hunting. It was established within the Wildlife Commission for organizational and budgetary purposes but makes statutory decisions independent of the agency.

Gov. Pat McCrory, Speaker of the House Tim Moore, Senate President Pro-Tempore Phil Berger, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and Wildlife Commission Chairman John Litton Clark appointed members to terms of varying lengths. Council members were appointed based on their knowledge of and experience in outdoor recreational activities, as well as their demonstrated interest in promoting outdoor heritage.

The Honorable W. Douglas Parsons, a superior court judge and former wildlife commissioner, administered the oath of office. Council members are:

  • Dell Murphy, council chairman, of Wallace, who was appointed by Troxler and will serve a 4-year term;
  • Sue Gray of Durham, who was appointed by McCrory and will serve a 3-year term;
  • Travis Stephenson of Washington, who was appointed by McCrory to serve a 2-year term;
  • Kevin Howell of Pisgah Forest, who was appointed by Berger and will serve a 2-year term;
  • Arthur Dick of Greensboro, who was appointed by Berger and will serve a 3-year term;
  • Cameron Boltes of Washington, who was appointed by Moore to serve a 3-year term;
  • Owen Andrews of New Bern, who was appointed by Berger and will serve a 1-year term;
  • William “Larry” Stone of Kings Mountain, who was appointed by Moore and will serve a 1-year term;
  • George Wrenn Ragsdale of Jamesville, who was appointed by McCrory and will serve a 1-year term;
  • Harry Shaw of Wilmington, who was appointed by Moore to serve a 2-year term; and
  • David Hoyle, of Dallas, who was appointed to a 4-year term by Wildlife Commission Chairman John Litton Clark.

McCrory, who was one of several guest speakers at the inaugural meeting, charged council members with creating a vision for the state that provides North Carolina citizens, particularly those 16 and under, with more outdoor opportunities as well as expanded access to public lands, despite the rapid growth of the state.

“These kids now and in the next generation are going to have to find a way to escape the urbanization and get to see the beautiful nature and beauty of North Carolina — from the mountains to the coast, and maybe even right down the block from where they live,” McCrory said. “This committee will help preserve North Carolina’s great quality of life, natural areas and outdoor recreation for future generations of North Carolina citizens and visitors.”

The Outdoor Heritage Act is the most comprehensive legislation ever passed in the state that promotes outdoor activities for the next generation, according to Representative Jimmy Dixon. Dixon sponsored the Outdoor Heritage Act, which was signed into law by McCrory July 8, 2015, and went into effect Oct. 1, 2015.

“This Outdoor Heritage Act can help us balance our growth without losing the benefit of our great outdoor activities,” Dixon said. “We must preserve the opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, boating, sports shooting, archery, bird watching, wildlife watching, camping, swimming, hunting, trapping, and fishing for future generations.”

Along with creating an advisory council and promoting outdoor recreational opportunities for youth, the Outdoor Heritage Act implemented the Outdoor Heritage Trust Fund, which council members will administer. Contributions to the fund will support projects that promote outdoor recreational activities for youth 16 and under and will come from donations made during transactions with the Wildlife Commission, such as hunting and fishing license purchases. Donations, which are tax deductible, also can be made directly to the fund for any amount.

“The establishment of the Outdoor Heritage trust fund, which is wonderful, is the first of its kind in the nation to deal with youth 16 and under,” Rep. Dixon said. “What a great concept — something for the youth, something for the future, a great investment. This youth trust fund can be the crown jewel of the Outdoor Heritage Act.”

For more information about the Outdoor Heritage Act, the trust fund and the council, including biographies of each member, visit the Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council page on the Commission’s website.

About the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

Since 1947, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has been dedicated to the conservation and sustainability of the state’s fish and wildlife resources through research, scientific management, wise use, and public input. The Commission is the state regulatory agency responsible for the enforcement of fishing, hunting, trapping and boating laws and provides programs and opportunities for wildlife-related educational, recreational and sporting activities. To learn more, visit

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