On March 30, Resource Institute’s chair, Squeak Smith was inducted into the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians Hall of Fame. Squeak was recognized for his contribution to conservation.
Michael R. “Squeak” Smith was born on November 1, 1948 in Alma, Michigan and grew up in Michigan around fly fishing as his grandfather was a fishing guide. Squeak caught his first fish on a flyrod at age 3 and learned to tie flies at age 8. Squeak earned his B.S. in Industrial Psychology from Michigan State University in 1970 and did masters work at Troy State University for 1974-77 in Counselling and Guidance. He is an “addicted” life-long fly fisher, averaging 150 days a year on the water chasing salmon and steelhead on Great Lakes tributaries, and trout in the local mountain streams and tailraces. He has lived in Southeast since 1985 in Glen Alpine-Morganton, North Carolina with his wife Connie. He has four children Heather, Aaron, Doug and John and four grandchildren Lilly, Dylan, Annabelle and Parker. He has been a “full time volunteer” giving programs and presentations throughout the Southeast and nationally on nonprofit fundraising, stream restoration project opportunities, fly-tying, and salmon and steelhead fishing. Squeak has held eleven nonprofit positions, accepted seven professional awards and six non-profit awards including NCWF Sportsman of the Year since retiring from the military where he served as a USAF Retired Captain Flight Commander F-4 Phantom Senior Weapons Systems Officer. He has traveled and lived all over the world while in the Air Force from 1971-83. Squeak was medically retired in 1983 due to Multiple Sclerosis. Squeak became active in environmental issues and organizations in 1986 after moving to the area for the fishing opportunities (he is proud to have 30 trout streams within 45 miles of his home). Squeak has held/holds leadership positions in numerous organizations at local, state and national levels for over 30 years. As Foothills Conservancy Chairman for 6 years, he received the Ruby Award for Conservation Leadership, protected over 50,000 acres and turned it over to state or federal agencies for public access and permanent protection status. He has served as the Resource Institute Inc. Board Chairman since 2010, implementing over 130 individual projects totaling 1,400,000+ feet of stream restoration and enhancement, over 100 miles of greenways and blue ways established, 10,000 acres protected, and wetlands restored with total funding raised for projects to date at over $130 million.