The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance and the conservation community lost one of its best when Jim Klatt, a lifelong conservationist and the USA’s first Boots on the Ground Program Manager, passed away on July 16, 2013 after a 2-year battle with complications resulting from an aneurysm.
Klatt was born and raised in Iowa. “He spent every day, out working on the farm, or hunting or fishing or doing something outdoors,” said his son Justin. “That’s where his love of outdoors came from, and why he wanted to preserve that space for people to enjoy.”
He later moved to Minnesota, where his contributions to sportsmen and the outdoors were felt both on a local and national scale. In 1994, he helped found the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance in 1994 and served as its president for eight years. He pushed for years to pass an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution guaranteeing that hunting and fishing would be forever preserved, and his goal was achieved in 1998 when the amendment was approved by voters 77 percent to 23 percent.
“It was one of his proudest accomplishments,” said Justin.
Jim also supported the 2008 Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, which increased the sales tax to fund outdoor-related conservation projects, and was a member of many conservation organizations including Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever. Recognizing his tireless efforts, Outdoor News named him their 2008 Person of the Year in Minnesota.In 2004, Jim became a grassroots organizer for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) and helped launch the cooperative efforts between TRCP and Labor Unions that eventually lead to the formation of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA).
Once the USA was launched, Jim served as its Midwest Regional Coordinator and later took on the role of Boots on the Ground Program Manager to develop and manage the USA’s hands-on conservation program. Jim coordinated the USA’s very first Boots on the Ground project in 2010, though which Wisconsin union volunteers built 100 live-catch deer cages to support the Wisconsin DNRs long term whitetail deer study. He managed and initiated several others before suffering an aneurysm while doing what he loved best – enjoying the outdoors.
Jim will be greatly missed by many friends and family, including his USA family. We are honored to have worked with him been part of his conservation efforts.