By Jennifer Jackson, Peninsula Daily News
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On Saturday, the group he organized to create a voice for fishing and crabbing enthusiasts remembered his efforts by dedicating a bench on the Port Townsend waterfront to his memory.
But the real memorial was boiling in the pot.
"Gary was really involved in the 'crab wars,'" said Dennis Broderson, referring to protests organized against decreases in limits for Dungeness crab.
"A lot of the guys also credit him with getting Area 9 open to chinook fishing."
Broderson is president of the East Jefferson Puget Sound Anglers, which Hulsey founded and led as president, remaining active until he died of cancer last year.
Wanting to create a memorial, Broderson purchased split logs from a Sequim business, and ordered a plaque, also from a Sequim business, with Hulsey's name and a leaping salmon.
Broderson welded on the brackets, and with the help of Puget Sound Anglers treasurer Jay Campbell and an obliging forklift operator from the Northwest Maritime Center construction site next door, the bench was set into place Friday.
On Saturday, the club invited Laura Hulsey, Gary's wife, to the Port Townsend Salmon Club lot for the dedication of the bench, which faces the water.
"It would have meant so much to him," Laura Hulsey said when she saw the bench.
A Port Townsend resident for eight years, Gary Hulsey was the representative for recreational fishing interests at the North of Falcon public meetings.
The North of Falcon negotiating group involves state, federal, tribal and industry representatives, who gather each year to plan the Northwest's recreational and commercial salmon fisheries.
Broderson said he and Hulsey also attended meetings in Olympia, pushing for an Area 9 recreational chinook season, now in its second summer.
Hulsey also started petitions and organized convoys of fishermen in trucks to protest cutbacks in Dungeness crab limits for recreational crabbers.
That issue was the catalyst for forming a local Puget Sound Anglers.
"Gary was the first to see the potential for getting all of the recreational fishermen organized," said Larry Kilburn, a Puget Sound Anglers board member.
"We had no voice."
Hulsey also arranged for Iraq war veterans to go out fishing, Broderson said, and suggested that the Port Townsend Salmon Club, the oldest salmon club in the state, join forces with the newly formed Puget Sound Anglers.
Annual crab feed
One result was an annual crab feed at the Port Townsend Salmon Club's waterfront lot and boat launch next to Pope Marine Park, where the bench dedication took place.
"We had a good king year," said Jim McGinnis, referring to the recent chinook season.
"If Gary were here, he'd be smiling."
The chapter is also thriving.
According to chapter secretary Jerry Johnson, East Jefferson Puget Sound Anglers has 76 families on its rosters, with meetings attended by people ranging from teenagers to 90-year olds.
For those who knew Hulsey, the bench is a reminder of their friend and what he stood for.
"Gary worked very, very hard to get the fishing," Kilburn said.
"Unless we are vigilant, we'll lose it."
The East Jefferson Puget Sound Anglers meet at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month in the Marina Room at Point Hudson.
Meetings are open to the public and include fishing reports, guest speakers on fishing techniques and locations, and issue-oriented presentations.
Port Townsend/Jefferson County reporter-columnist Jennifer Jackson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.