Calendar Item: Pack your bags for Livingston and the 2017 International Fly Fishing Fair

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Earth quotes: Norman Maclean

Norman Maclean penned the classic "A River Runs Through It." (Courtesy Confluence Press)

If it’s been a while since you read “A River Runs Through It,” or if you’ve never read the engrossing tale before, this fall would be a good time to pick up this thin volume. Throughout its pages, Maclean proves his worth, and it’s a mystery to me why he remains one of our most underrated American writers. The movie is good, but not nearly the equal of the book. Here’s the opening paragraph from the book, which won a Pulitzer in 1977:

“In our family there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing. We lived at the junction of great trout rivers in western Montana, and our father was a Presbyterian minister and a fly fisherman who tied his own flies and taught others. He told us about Christ’s disciples being fisherman, and we were left to assume, as my brother and I did, that all first-class fishermen on the Sea of Galilee were fly fisherman, and that John, the favorite, was a dry-fly fisherman.”

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Quick Mends: Oil spill fouls Yellowstone River

Dirty water: An oil spill befouls Yellowstone River. (Courtesy Natural Resources Defense Council)

According to emergency officials, a break in an Exxon oil pipeline caused the spill into the Yellowstone River Friday that has so far spewed thousands of gallons into the water, endangering residents, wild life and, of course, the rainbow trout for which Montana is famous. In fact, trout fishing is a $400 million business in that state.

The spill occurred near Billings, 100 miles below Yellowstone National Park and its prized fishing waters, which draw 11 million visitors a year to a state with a population of just 980,000, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Billings Gazette features updates on the event, while CNN has video coverage.

See you on the river, Jim Burns