Story by Eli Ruiz
LIVINGSTON MANOR On Saturday, fly fishing legend Joan Wulff broke ground on the Wulff Gallery, which will be part of the new addition to the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum located on the banks of the Willowemoc Creek between Roscoe and Livingston Manor.
The Wulff Gallery which is to take up the top floor of the addition planned for the Paul Dahlie Education Building will not only include Mrs. Wulff's historical collection, but also that of her late husband, the great American sportsman, Lee Wulff.
The interior of the Wulff Gallery will be made up of a multiflex area consisting of a library, a conference area and a unique exhibit portion that can be transformed into a 90-seat meeting room, on the fly.
CFFCM Executive Director, Jim Krul, said of the planned project, "This is so exciting … I joined the Board of Directors here in 1999, and they were talking then about building this.
"Joan has waited a very very long time… this was her late husband's dream and, well, it's finally coming to fruition," Krul added.
Wulff said of the proposed Wulff Gallery, "Lee has been gone 21 years now and he and I were in as original founders [of the CFFCM], and we raised money back then to get the bridge put-up … I still remember having President Jimmy Carter here in 1984, and he helped us raise $40,000 to put up that bridge."
The proposed addition will also include the Heritage Craft Center, which will be located on the ground floor of the structure, and as Wulff put it, "It's a place where the people who make bamboo rods can come and actually do it."
Of her late husband's legacy, Wulff explained, "To me and to a lot of other people, Lee was the outdoorsman of the 20th century. He did the American Sportsman series, he is the American who sewed the first fishing vest, he tied the famous Royal Wulff and White Wulff in his fingers without a vice, he was a pilot, he explored Labrador and Newfoundland. He was just an incredible man. He was a leader who inspired everybody.
"This just means a tremendous amount to me. I've given some memorabilia to this museum already, but there's a lot more," continued Wulff. "Being 85 now, its time to get it all taken care of… this new gallery will help a tremendous amount with that because we have enough of Lee's things to keep exhibits fresh.”
After the "shovel in the ground" ceremony, Wulff turned to signing copies of her new book: "Joan Wulff's New Fly-Casting Techniques." Several fans and admirers of Wulff's work stood in line waiting to have their copies of the book signed or just for the opportunity to exchange some banter or some fishing tales with the legend.
"Did you know?" she asked, "Lee was the one who inspired young men to leave their jobs and do something they really want to do."
For more information on the Catskill Fly-Fishing Center and Museum go to www.cffcm.net or call (845)-439-4810.
For information on Joan Wulff's new book and many other Royal Wulff products go to www.royalwulff.com/ or call 439-5020.