Celebrate International Women’s Day with Some of Our Amazing Partners

Since 1909, International Women’s Day has been celebrated on March 8 as a way to bring attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women. We thought there’d be no better way to celebrate than to focus on some of our accomplished partners in the field. They have forged meaningful careers and lifestyles based on time outdoors, and their favorite thing to do is share their passion with others.

Erica Nelson

Photo by Katie Mooney

Erica Nelson is based in the ancestral lands of the Ute Tribe, currently known as Crested Butte, Colorado. She is the co-founder of REAL Consulting, a guide for Orvis-Endorsed Willowfly Anglers, and the host of the Awkward Angler Podcast. She has over 10 years of outdoor guiding and instructing. She is an ambassador for Brown Folks Fishing (BFF), which cultivates community for people of color in fishing and its industry through a lens of equity, justice, and inclusion. In 2019, REAL Consulting co-created the Angling for All Pledge in partnership with BFF. Her work and the pledge have been featured in numerous podcasts and articles such as The New York Times and Field & Stream.

Karen Syron

Karen Syron grew up in Coeur d’Alene, in the Northern Idaho panhandle. Since childhood, she has always felt most at home in the outdoors. 

After finishing high school, Karen studied journalism and wildlife biology at the University of Montana. She missed her Idaho home, though, and graduated with a B.S. in Wildlife Resources from the University of Idaho. During her college years, Karen went somewhere new every summer, working in a variety of field research jobs for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, as well as the National Park Service. 

Karen’s love of the outdoors and serving others brought her to the Flying B Ranch in 2006. She began managing the lodge and guest services in 2007 and continued doing so until she started a family in 2012. Over the years she has worked in nearly every area of the ranch, including working in the backcountry and in HR and bookkeeping.  She now works from home primarily as the Marketing Manager but helps out wherever she is needed. You may see her at a convention, photographing in the field, cleaning birds, helping in the office, and mentoring women new to hunting. 

An avid hunter herself, Karen has been very actively involved with jump starting Flying B Ranch’s Annual Ladies of Upland hunts and prides herself in offering her experience and support to women getting into both big-game and bird hunting.  Over her 16 years in management at FBR, Karen has established a strong network of women who hunt both upland birds and big game, and has become a liaison of women who hunt. She is regularly making connections between hunting friends, so they may continue to expand their experiences and abilities afield. She was recently featured on the Orvis Hunting and Shooting Podcast with Reid Bryant, and in the 40th Anniversary Fall issue of Sporting Classics.   

Karen feels very blessed to call the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River her home. She spends her time with her family doing everything that being a mother entails such as helping in her children’s classrooms and with their various 4H pursuits, as well as fishing, hunting, rafting, and gardening. Karen received her Idaho EMS license in 2022 and volunteers as an EMT on her rural ambulance unit. She’s married to FBR’s GM and hunting/ fishing guide, Jeremi. Their farm is home to a kennel of working dogs including four in-home German Shorthaired Pointers and two hounds, a herd of goats, pigs, rabbits, horses and a retired Flying B Ranch mule.  

Karen feels that women should have the knowledge, experience, and tools to go hunting on their own if they wish–to not feel as though they need someone to “take them.” Of course it’s more fun to share those experiences with friends or family, but there are times when the peace of a solo trek is just what you need. Ultimately, she says that she hopes there is no need for Ladies of Upland hunts in 20 years, that women her daughters’ age will be as common as men in a hunting lodge. She hopes more women will know that passion and love for the pursuit that can only come from watching a covey flush in front of your own personally well-trained team of dogs.

Joanne Linehan

In 1989, Joanne traveled with her then-boyfriend, Tim Linehan, from New Hampshire to a remote valley in northwestern Montana called Yaak. The immediate plan was to spend the spring, summer and fall living and exploring the area then head back to New Hampshire, become an adult and get a real job.  That was thirty-four years ago, and they are still there.

Quickly, both Joanne and Tim realized that a little ambition goes a long way in a place like Yaak. Early on they lived off the grid and cut their teeth working at a local lodge, Tim guiding and Joanne working in the kitchen. Joanne has always loved cooking, and her knowledge served her well. In 1992, Joanne and Tim borrowed $1,500 dollars from college friends, decided to go into business for themselves, and started Linehan Outfitting. The first few years were lean, and they did whatever it took to stick it out and build on their dream of becoming one of the best fly-fishing and hunting operations in the Rocky Mountain West.  At one point, Joanne held four jobs and was building operations for the fledgling business, teaching at the Yaak one-room schoolhouse, pulling beer on weekends at the local saloon, and even had a real estate license.

These days, to say Joanne has had a significant measure of success in the industry is an understatement. She runs Linehan Outfitting day-to-day operations and cooks at the lodge every night throughout the season. She is an accomplished angler and hunter in her own right, and her culinary approach is authentic and elegant and relies primarily on locally sourced ingredients from her garden and from game she has harvested, butchered, and processed herself including grouse, deer, elk, and black bear. Over the years, Joanne has been profiled in many prominent media outlets both within and outside the industry for her success as a woman in business and for her culinary expertise.

3 thoughts on “Celebrate International Women’s Day with Some of Our Amazing Partners”

  1. Thanks, Orvis, for finding and featuring such great examples!
    Very interesting and enjoyable articles!

  2. Great pieces! It’s great to see so many women getting into hunting and fishing. About 15% to 20% of the participants in my fly fishing and fly tying classes are women. And, a branch location of the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point(called Treehaven) in the Northwoods of Wisconsin is doing their part in helping develop outdoor skills through a 3-day program called Becoming an Outdoors Woman. The classes offered
    include: Winter Ecology, Dutch Oven Cooking, Cross-country Skiing, Firearm Safety, Sewing with Fur, Winter Survival, Fish Cleaning and Cooking, Ice Fishing, Camp Cooking, Journal Making, Climbing Wall, Winter Camping, Beginner Rifle, Outdoor Photography, Kayaking, Archery/Bowhunting, Map and Compass, Fly Tying and Gun Cleaning.

    Although there are many other women who have done their part, along with organizations like Casting for Recovery, I’d like to give a special shout-out to Jen Ripple, founder of Dun Magazine, for the role she has played in bringing so many women into the fold and giving so many women the opportunity to be authors of articles for the magazine.

    Finally, a huge “Thank You” to Orvis for initiating the 50/50 program and other endeavors aimed at getting more women involved in the outdoors.

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