When Trout Unlimited was founded on the banks of the Au Sable River in 1959, Art Neumann was the first national vice president and then, after taking a two year leave of absence from Eaton, became the full time national executive director. He traveled throughout the United States promoting the TU mission to conserve, protect and restore North America’s cold water fisheries and their watersheds.
To quote Dr. Bryan Burroughs, current executive director of Michigan’s Trout Unlimited, “it was Art Neumann’s singular vision and evangelical zeal that provided the spark necessary to galvanize the membership and overcome obstacles as they popped up. During Art’s two plus years as TU’s executive director, he propelled the organization to national prominence by doubling the size of the organization through the addition of 30 chapters.” Today, there are over 300,000 members in 400 chapters from Maine to California and Alaska. Associated staff of lawyers, policy experts and scientists work out of 30 offices nationwide. It is the world’s largest cold water conservation organization.
What Art did was to build an institution that began with him and a handful of people along the banks of the Au Sable River who were tired of the state’s masking habitat degradation through stocking fish. TU blossomed from a “Michigan Idea’ to a national leader in aquatic conservation. He was a gift to clean water, fish and fishermen far beyond Michigan. Art was inducted into the National Fly Fishing Hall of Fame at the New York Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum in 2008. A monument honoring him near the Lovells Museum of Trout Fishing in Lovells, Michigan was dedicated in 2017.
Art Neumann was a life-long Saginaw native. He graduated from Michigan Lutheran Seminary in 1934. He served in the Navy aboard the light cruiser, USS Montpelier in WWII. Following his service he was employed by Eaton Mfg. Co. where he was a toolmaker for 32 years. He also owned and operated the Wanigas Rod Co. for 50 years making high quality bamboo and fiberglass fishing rods. Art passed away at the age of 99 on March 21, 2016.
Inducted into the Saginaw County Hall of Fame in 2019.
Copyright © 2018 Saginaw County Hall of Fame - All Rights Reserved.