Honoring the Hinchliff Conservation Legacy
March 11, 2021
In 1992, ten years after Pheasants Forever came to fruition in Saint Paul, MN, Walla Walla’s Blue Mountain chapter (BMPF) held its first fundraising banquet. Among those responsible for its success were John and Bertha Hinchliff of Dayton, WA.
Upon moving to the Dayton area from Lewiston, ID, the Hinchliffs purchased property near Turner and later a farm near Dayton. Fitting with their commitment to conservation, the Hinchliffs assisted the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) by raising and releasing ringneck pheasant, bobwhite quail, chukar, and wild turkeys.
John Hinchliff served BMPF as President, while Bertha, the only woman involved in BMPF at the time, served as Vice President, Secretary, and Banquet Committee volunteer over the years.
Following John Hinchliff’s passing in 1999, Bertha established the memorial John Hinchliff scholarship fund, administered through BMPF for local high school students. Bertha’s generosity awarded as many as four scholarships per year to applicants interested in natural resources, among other fields.
“Bertha was a kind woman. She liked to help kids.” Said long-time BMPF member John Houston as he recalled his relationship with the Hinchliffs. Bertha’s compassion and judgment of character were but two of her many superior qualities.
Bertha’s passing on February 23rd completed the Hinchliff’s active commitment to conservation. Still, their legacy continues through the John Hinchliff scholarship and their various acreage offering public hunting access through WDFW’s “Hunt by Written Permission” program and the Hopkins Ridge Wind Facility. Additionally, John Houston manages permission for youth upland hunting on Hinchliff lands on Territorial Road near Starbuck.
BMPF owes its presence and success, in part to Bertha Hinchliff and her dedication for conservation and the local community. She rarely missed a BMPF fundraiser banquet and her attendance at future banquets will be dearly missed.