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UPSA Honors Richardson as 'Outstanding Conservationist'
Michigan Ag Connection - 07/30/2018

The Upper Peninsula Sportsmen's Alliance has honored J.R. Richardson of Ontonagon as the group's 2018 "Outstanding Conservationist."

The award was presented at a quarterly UPSA meeting at the William Anderson Sportsman's Club in Hermansville in Menominee County.

Richardson, a life-long resident of the U.P., is well-known for his service on the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, which began in 2007, when he was initially appointed to the post by Gov. Jennifer Granholm. He was later reappointed to two additional terms by Gov. Rick Snyder. Richardson was appointed chairman of the commission in 2013. He currently is the sole U.P. representative on the commission, with his current term set to expire in December.

Richardson has worked to improve fishing opportunities for anglers, including helping to increase the daily bag limit for brook trout over roughly 40 streams across the U.P. and backing efforts to improve walleye rearing, stocking and distribution, especially within inland waters.

This past spring, he worked with trappers and the DNR to extend the beaver trapping season, given late winter, heavy snowfall.

"J.R. Richardson is a fantastic recipient for our Outstanding Conservationist award," said Tony Demboski, UPSA president. "He always looks at all sides of a problem and any recommendations that are presented. He is a tremendous supporter of the natural resources across the entire state of Michigan."

Demboski said Richardson has provided extensive work and leadership to the U.P. Habitat Workgroup improving deer wintering habitat, formed the U.P. Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force to help generate policies best suited to the region and he has been very active with youth groups in the western Upper Peninsula.

Richardson led a 31-year career in the paper industry which ended in December 2007. He began as a union coal handler, paper machine laborer and recovery boiler operator in 1976 with Champion International Corporation.

Throughout his career, Richardson worked as a process engineer, engineering supervisor, production supervisor and quality and environmental manager. Richardson ended his paper industry career as an operations and technical manager for Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation.

Since December 2007, he has worked for the New York-based TRAXYS Corporation, which creates renewable energy alternatives for producing power in the U.P.

A graduate of Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Richardson holds a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and has completed course work toward a business engineering administration degree. He has received numerous awards and accolades and is a member of many sportsmen's groups. His community involvement includes service, from 1996 to 2004, on the Ontonagon Village Council and Economic Development Corp., and serving as a member of the volunteer fire department, the Marina Commission, and hazardous materials certified technician.

This is the second year the alliance has given the "Outstanding Conservationist" award. The 2017 inaugural recipient was Alan Ettenhofer of Escanaba, co-founder of U.P. Whitetails.

The Upper Peninsula Sportsmen's Alliance was formed in 1982 to unite sportsmen's groups in the region for a common cause. Today, the group is composed of 57 clubs and businesses, representing 49,000 members. The alliance's mission is to be the voice of U.P. sportsmen and outdoors users to promote, foster and advance the outdoor recreation experience, encouraging conservation of natural resources and the environment to perpetuate the direction of management and use, for the benefit of future generations by educating UPSA's members, youth and the general public.

The organization cooperates, when appropriate, with local, state and federal resource management agencies, encourages communication with the DNR on policy issues and respects the rights of landowners.

For more information, visit UPSA's webpage at

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