With only 99 inducted members of the California Outdoors Hall of Fame, Cal Poly Humboldt was the spawning ground for two individuals recognized for their influence on California’s outdoors.
J.D. Richey (‘91, Journalism) joins Dave Hurley (‘78, Geography) as Humboldt alumni inducted into the California Outdoors Hall of Fame. They are considered two of the most influential outdoor writers in Northern California, and their journey toward advocacy for the outdoors began during their time at Cal Poly Humboldt.
The California Outdoors Hall of Fame was established in 2002 to recognize California’s greatest outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen. Inductees must demonstrate an exceptional breadth of skills and commitment to the outdoors and have touched many thousands, if not millions, through their passion for the outdoors and outdoor recreation.
Richey of South Lake Tahoe was inducted into this select group during the 2024 International Sportsmen’s Exposition in Sacramento. While at Humboldt, Richey was an active saltwater and freshwater angler, spending many hours outside class on the North Coast rivers. Richey is as comfortable on a driftboat as he is behind a keyboard. After graduating with a degree in journalism, Richey received his first position at Western Outdoor News in the early 1990s before embarking on a full-blown outdoors-based career. He became a senior editor at Western Outdoor News before moving on to other ventures in 1994, as his freelance articles regularly appeared in Salmon Trout Steelheader, Field & Stream, Western Angler, Western Outdoors, and California Game & Fish, among others. Richey started a guiding business primarily focused on Central Valley salmon in 1998. He added newspaper columnist to his resume when he signed on to write the weekly outdoor column for the Auburn Journal—a post he held for the next 18 years. Richey became a sought-after seminar speaker, frequent TV show guest, and regular radio show contributor. Various state agencies also began to hire him for river restoration work and to catch fish for tagging studies. Richey has written several fishing-themed books, created an online Catch More Steelhead class, and wrote regular columns and features for Salmon Trout Steelheader, GuideFitter Journal, and Salmon Steelhead Journal. He continues to guide full-time in California, Alaska, and Nevada. His website, a how-to and where-to online magazine, still receives 20,000 to 50,000 monthly visits.
Hurley was inducted into the California Outdoors Hall of Fame in 2021, primarily due to his advocacy of fisheries and dedication to youth fishing opportunities. As a Humboldt student, he was inspired by the teachings of the late John Harper and Joseph Leeper, both Geography Professor Emeriti. A native of Stockton, Hurley was a four-year starter on the men’s soccer team at Humboldt and remains a strong supporter of the program. His roots are based in the California Delta, where his maternal grandfather’s family were commercial salmon and striped bass fishermen. Toward the end of his 40-year career as a public school teacher and administrator in his hometown, Hurley’s interest in California’s water issues, sparked by Harper, was rekindled, and he began writing for various publications on California’s fishery and water-use issues. As a California Sportfishing Protection Alliance board member, Hurley has been a voice for the catch-and-release of striped bass and white sturgeon. His articles and advocacy were a catalyst for the current emergency regulations for white sturgeon based upon their plummeting population. He is currently the Northern California editor of Western Outdoor News and compiles the weekly fishing report for the Fresno Bee, a position he has held for 19 years.
Photo: JACKS IN THE CALIFORNIA OUTDOORS HALL OF FAME – J.D. Richey and Dave Hurley, Humboldt alumni, at Richey’s induction in the California Outdoors Hall of Fame at the Sacramento International Sportsmen’s Exposition. Photo by Fred Contaoi.