Conservation leader Bridges will join N.C. Sports Hall of Fame

Eddie Bridges will be inducted into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame on May 3, 2019.

Founder of N,C. Wildlife Habitat Foundation will be inducted May 3

Eddie Bridges of Greensboro, one of the nation’s most-honored conservation voices, got another feather for his cap on Tuesday when it was announced that he is among 12 sports figures to be inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame on May 3 in Raleigh.

Bridges, the executive director of the N.C. Habitat Foundation and a former member of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, joins NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., pro golfer Davis Love III, former ACC commissioner Gene Corrigan, long-time football coach Rod Broadway and seven others: Ernie Barnes, Willie Bradshaw, Steve Gabriel, Dee Kantner, Paul Miller, Neill McGeachy and Thell Overman.

Former college athlete served on NCWRC

Bridges, who played football and ran track at Elon in the late 1950s, served on the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission from 1977-89, during which time he created the Wildlife Endowment Fund to control funds from the sale of lifetime hunting and fishing licenses. He was named the Budweiser Conservationist of the Year in 2004 and was named a Hero in Conservation by Field & Stream magazine in 2012.

“I feel very blessed, really,” said Bridges. “I think it’s a great compliment to the one million people in North Carolina who generate $2.3 billion a year for our economy through hunting and fishing. I’m blessed they’ve all been supporters of mine.”

Bridges’ Wildlife Endowment Fund, which started in 1981, created the lifetime hunting and fishing license, plus a designated fund for the license fees that would never be spent; only the accrued interest on the funds would be spent on programs and projects that benefit fish and wildlife. To date, the Commission has spent more than $50 million in interest.

The N.C. Wildlife Habitat Foundation was chartered in the early 1990s and has funded dozens of projects around the state to promote projects benefiting fish, wildlife and conservation.

“The achievements of this year’s class of inductees enrich North Carolina’s remarkable sports heritage, and the individuals have certainly earned the honor of joining the 351 men and women who have been previously enshrined,” said Nora Lynn Finch, president of the Hall of Fame. “This is our 56th class, and we look forward to celebrating this special time in our state’s sports history.”

Bridges is only the second member of the hall with any connection to sports related to hunting and fishing. Jack King, a champion trap and skeet shooter, was inducted in 1979.

Dan Kibler
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Dan Kibler is managing editor of Carolina Sportsman magazine. If every fish were a redfish and every big-game animal a wild turkey, he wouldn’t ever complain.