PEPPERELL — It’s water, not energy, that has Charlie Shadan worried.
“What’s the alternative source to clean H2O?” he asks. “I’d like to know.”
Shadan’s Evening Sun Fly Shop is, technically, a store beneath the Spa Cafe at which you can buy anything needed to go fly fishing, but in essence, it is a hub of his ideals and passions: a sanctuary for conservation and education, an outfitter for the “Zen and gentle art of fly fishing.” In his lifetime, he has seen the water crisis come to the forefront of his conscious.
On Sunday, June 3, he is holding an inaugural public river cleanup along the Squannacook, one of the area’s best fly fishing locales.
“The event is in cooperation with Mother Nature,” said Shadan, recognizing his important co-sponsor.
Green energy is a big issue at present, but water conservation is there as well, he says, just not as prevalent. In five to 10 years, however, Shadan said he predicts it will become a “hotter topic.”
“The first time people turn on the tap and the quality and quantity isn’t what they expect, then it will become a bigger issue,” he said.
Then, it may be too late or it will really mobilize people, he adds. But what does river conservation have to do with the bathroom, doing the dishes or glasses of ice water?
“The cycle, that’s where it is coming from, it’s all drawing from aquifer,” he said. “On a river, take a look at the houses nearby.”
Urban and suburban sprawl comes with a need for water and wells, but misuse of the water supply — leaving the water running, wasting water — causes draw downs. It is a finite resource, he says.
“It can affect wildlife and habitats, and, without rain and filling up of aquifers, the natural balance is upset,” Shadan said. “Be cognizant, if you don’t need it, don’t use it.”
Call it a side effect, but 47 years as a fly fisherman has turned Shadan into an environmental steward. And he hopes to be an infectious one.
Evening Sun offers beginner schools for those interested in learning fly fishing, Shadan says women and children often take advantage of those classes and make the activity a family affair.
“Trout live in beautiful places, and it’s great to be in and around that,” he said. “It is hard to describe the benefits. It’s both mentally and physically therapeutic being out on a beautiful stream.”
Shadan also plans local full- or half-day trips to two of the best fly fishing rivers, the nearby Squannacook and Nissitissit. The environmentalism will sort of come naturally, he said.
“I think it is incumbent upon every parent to get children away from computers, TV, video games, couches and get out and enjoy the weather, like we did as kids,” he said.
As a 13-year-old, it was Shadan’s godfather Joe Farris who first introduced him to fly fishing. Obviously he took those lessons to heart, evolving a hobby into a part-time 1,200 square foot store that sells clothing, rods and a huge selection of flies, most tied by Charlie himself at a small, cluttered desk behind one display.
Farris passed away about seven years ago.
“That was before the shop opened, but I am sure his spirit is in here,” Shadan said. “I owe him an extreme debt of gratitude for showing me fly fishing.”
The river cleanup begins at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Participants will meet at the shop, which is at 55 Groton St., and will head out to the river until 5:30 p.m. Gloves and trash bags will be provided and pizza and beverages will be served at the shop afterward.
Evening Sun is open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 4 to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. For information visit www.EveningSunFlyShop.com.
Follow Luke Steere at twitter.com/lsnashobapub.