- Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
Media Contact for Remembering George Darey
Marion Larson, MassWildlife
George L. (Gige) Darey, former Board Member and Chairman of the Fisheries and Wildlife Board of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, passed away at his home in Lenox on Friday, December 21, 2018. Gige represented the Western Wildlife District on the Fisheries and Wildlife Board for 38 years, 35 as Chairman, until December 2016. He served under eight different governors and worked with four MassWildlife Directors. During his tenure on the Fisheries and Wildlife Board, Gige was instrumental in generating public support for important wildlife issues, including the funding of the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program; establishing the Wildlands Conservation Stamp, a $5 assessment to the sale of hunting and fishing licenses dedicated exclusively to protecting wildlife habitat open to hunting, fishing, and other wildlife-related recreation; and promoting science-based management of wildlife and wildlife habitat. He was honored by the Fisheries and Wildlife Board in 2004 when the Housatonic Valley Wildlife Management Area in Lenox was renamed the George Darey Wildlife Management Area. This past October, Gige received the prestigious Francis W. Sargent Conservation Award from the Fisheries and Wildlife Board for his contributions to the sporting community and to the conservation of the Commonwealth’s natural resources.
Gige’s leadership role in environmental stewardship was recognized in 1996 when he was presented a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Award. He was a board member of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, Green Berkshires, and Sportsmen for Land Preservation. He was also a founding member of the Housatonic River Initiative and the Massachusetts Outdoor Heritage Foundation, and was instrumental in forging forestland protection and management partnerships between MassWildlife and other conservation organizations including the Nature Conservancy, the Ruffed Grouse Society, and the National Wild Turkey Federation.
"Most people have no idea of how Gige shaped wildlife conservation in Massachusetts," said Mark Tisa, Director of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. "I consider myself fortunate to have worked with such a great man for more than 30 years and to have had him as a friend during that time. I spent many wonderful nights at his place in the Berkshires and was treated to some incredible stories that only Gige could tell – we will all greatly miss him."