Scenic Byways Grant Approved
Inside the Outdoors, August 19
, 2011

“A $4 million grant from the Federal highway Administration’s National Scenic Byways program has be award for the Laurel Highland Falls Area Visitors Center in Ohiopyle State Park,” so said The Laurel Highland Conservation Landscape Initiative.

The CLI is “a partnership that strives to raise the region’s quality of life while crafting a model of sustainable development tied to the natural and cultural assets of the region.”

According to the Laurel highlands CLI e-blast update Vol. 3 No. 4, “This is a key project of the regional Conservation Landscape Initiative , a strategy for natural resource stewardship and community revitalization,” so stated DCNR acting Secretary Richard Allan. He continued by stating, “The new welcome center at Ohiopyle State Park will teach people about the region’s natural, historic and recreation assets and point them to nationally significant trails, challenging whitewater, fish and other outdoor pursuits.”

Ohiopyle State Park, located along the Laurel Highland Scenic Byway and near the Historic nation Road, is the region’s portal with more than 1.5 million visitors annually.

Also from that publication it noted, “Coon Cave, in Westmoreland County near Blairsville, has been reopened for recreation by Forbes State Forest. Further assessments are planned on Lemon Hole Cave also near that town.” The article states that White nose syndrome in bats has been an issue. In addition, it is advised that inexperienced cavers should not go in alone. For additional information the article suggests interested parties contact the area caving organization at

For those who may not be aware, one can fish year around at the Catch and Release Delayed Harvest Area in Ligonier. Fishing hours are one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.

Created by the Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited, this part of Loyalhanna Creek was restored in the 1980s impacting tourism to the Laurel Highlands.

Referring to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Summary Book, fish have to be “nine inches to be kept before sunrise on June 15 to one hour after sunset on Labor Day.

It goes on to say, “The daily creel limit is three combined species caught on or in the possession on the waters under these regulations.” Take note, after Labor Day to June 15, 2012, the creel limit is zero.

Just in case one doesn’t know, fishing may be done with artificial lures only constructed of metal, plastic, rubber or wood or with flies and streamers constructed of natural or synthetic materials. All such lures may be used with spinning or fly fishing gear.

Recently I noticed one of the local supermarkets is selling Snapper Soup. So, I had to buy a can and try the product to compare it to some I was given some years ago. The original was the best.

Last week, I noticed the PFBC Summary Book this statement, “Snapping turtle meat has been found to contain only small amounts of PCB’s and is safe to eat without restrictions. Snapping turtles do retain PCBs in their fat and internal organs. If you choose to eat snapping turtles, you can reduce your exposure by carefully trimming away all fat and internal organs and discarding them before cooking the meat or making soup.

I was asked a question this week that I can’t answer, but maybe you, the reader may have the answer. “Where can one rent a boat with a horsepower motor for a lake in Westmoreland or Indiana Counties?” OK, it’s all yours. One may email me at or call me at 724-539-8850.

I was approached by one of Latrobe’s top anglers recently who told me, he and his son were fishing on the Loyalhanna Creek above Paddy’s Hole and caught a 33-inch carp. “You should have seen that thing,” he exclaimed.

And last, I am working on a long time project that requires help, particularly from the old timers. What I would like to do to find out the names and the history of the various fishing holes from where the Catch and Release Delayed Harvest Area ends to down below the Latrobe Sanitation Plant. This may take some doing, but with a little help, I think it can be done. My email address or phone number is listed above. Talk it up. Than get back to me. I would appreciate any help I can get.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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