Californian of 2022


Senior Member
The Outdoors Writers Association of California has chosen Whitney Uyeda as their Outdoor Californian of the Year for 2022. Whitney has earned this honor through more than 40 years of volunteer leadership and energy.

March 13, 2023

Members of the Outdoor Writers Association of California, have voted Whitney Uyeda as its 2022 Outdoor Californian of the Year.

Share the outdoors and take a kid fishing? This has been a life’s effort for Whitney Uyeda. His volunteer efforts and outdoors leadership started by helping to restore fish habitat at Santa Barbara’s Lake Cachuma early in the 1980’s and they have progressed unabated since. Over the past half-century, he has literally provided thousands and thousands of hours in support for California's outdoors and outdoors community. His efforts have been extensive and exceptional making California outdoor friendly and a better place to raise kids.

Whitney started this journey volunteering at Lake Cachuma working on compiling, creating and placing fish habitat in the lake. Hard work didn’t deter him, it expanded his horizon. This led to more volunteer hours getting others involved, energizing local fishing clubs and countywide organizations, while always maintaining his focus on enhancing valuable habitat and getting kids out fishing.

In the most recent 14 years, Whitney has led the United Way of Santa Barbara County’s outdoors element of their “Fun in The Sun” program for disadvantaged kids. He is the volunteer manager for "FITS" that gets 350 kids out fishing at Lake Cachuma and the Goleta pier each summer. To ensure the success of the program he spends weeks setting up logistics, recruiting, then organizing local fishermen to help out. In addition to his administrative duties he leads student instruction, mentoring, tackle management and even cleanup.

Throughout his years of volunteering, Uyeda has consistently been voted into community leadership: he is the vice president of CCA’s Santa Barbara Chapter, the acting president of the Santa Barbara Sport Fishing Club and is past president of both the Carpinteria Sport Fishing Club and the Santa Barbara Bass Club. Whitney also helps us every year at the Sportfishing Conservancy’s series of tournaments benefiting marine habitat. I have known Whitney for nearly a quarter century and when it comes to getting things done, he's the man.

I’ll close with a note of personal pride for nominating Whitney for the Outdoors Californian of the Year Award. Whitney is the real deal! And it’s so heartening to have an august cadre of outdoors writers agree on such a deserving candidate.

Tight lines,

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