At the turn of the 20th century, uncontrolled discharges of industrial waste and raw sewage, unrestricted logging, and soil erosion threatened to destroy the nation’s most productive waterways. The country’s forests, wetlands, and wilderness areas were quickly disappearing. In 1922, 54 sportsmen declared that it was “time to call a halt” to this destruction. Aware that action – not just talk – would be necessary to solve these problems, the group decided to form an organization to combat water pollution and protect the country’s woods and wildlife. As a reminder of their purpose, they named the organization after Izaak Walton, the 17th-century English angler-conservationist who wrote the literary classic The Compleat Angler.
The Izaak Walton League of America soon became the nation’s preeminent organization of hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts dedicated to sustainable use of our country’s natural resources. Almost every major, successful conservation program that America has in place today can be traced directly to a League activity or initiative. Today, our more than 40,000 members and 200 community-based chapters are building on the accomplishments of those who preceded them as defenders of the nation’s soil, air, woods, waters, and wildlife.