Conservation, A Trout Unlimited Goal
Inside the Outdoors, January 15, 2010

Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited has begun soliciting raffle prizes for its 37th Annual Banquet in March. With that said, I opted to give of my time and reach out to business owners to help this worthy organization. Upon calling one retailer, she sounded puzzled and exclaimed, “What is Trout Unlimited? I’ve never heard of it.”

Now, I’m sure many people who have read the Latrobe Bulletin are familiar with the goings on of our Forbes Trail TU chapter. Bulletin write Chris Ulicne has covered the breaking stories in addition to yours truly who has reported the news concerning the monthly meetings and its speakers, etc. But, this businessperson’s response created some concerned thinking on my part.

I first learned of TU when I moved here. I was invited to Russ Mowry’s home on Orchard Drive to join the anglers who met there weekly to perfect their fly tying skills and help others. They were part of an organization called AFLOAT who donated their time teaching kids to tie flies and their money to buy books on various subjects related to fishing to Adams Memorial Library. It was there that members told me about FTTU. I surmised at that time, it was just a fishing club where men would use these tied flies and go and fishing trips together, etc.

It wasn’t until I joined much later that I learned its goal is trout stream conservation.

According to Monty Murty, current president, “Forbes Trail Chapter was formed in 1973 to preserve, protect, and restore Westmoreland County’s natural heritage of trout streams and trout fishing. By the 80’s we had achieved major progress restoring the Loyalhanna Creek as a trout fishery and creating a popular Catch and Release Delayed Harvest Area. Both have a direct impact on recreation and tourism, and therefore on our local economy. Forbes Trail Chapter received a prestigious Nation Trout Unlimited Golden Trout award for that work.”

He went on to point out, “We are introducing the increasingly indoor, Internet generation of young people to trout fishing and coldwater conservation through both our Youth Group and our Trout in the Classroom project. In 2007, Forbes Trail’s youth programs were named Pennsylvania’s Best in the State.”

And what are members of this Latrobe-based organization doing now?

“We are also restoring the largest year-round coldwater tributary in Linn Run State Park, Rock Run,” Murty said. “Acid rain and acid drainage from abandoned gas wells had destroyed this native trout habitat. By spreading limestone sand, 250 tons to date, along the headwaters, we are reducing Rock Run’s acidity and reintroducing Pennsylvania’s state fish, the Brook Trout.”

It may be of interest to learn that in 2008, FTTU was named Pennsylvania’s Trout Unlimited of the Year.

Recently, I wrote a column concerning how resources link to the character of communities. If it weren’t for the ongoing dedication of the many members of this organization, the creeks and the waterways would not be in the fine conditions they are today. When we think of FTTU, we mustn’t think of that as a fishing club as I may have done initially, but in its place, an organization centered on conservation of the resources we have in our midst.

Here’s where you come in. The organization cannot continue without help from the various communities, especially the businesses in the area. The chapter would greatly appreciate raffle prize donations for the upcoming banquet on March 6. Monies taken in as a result of ticket sales would help contribute to the efforts of conservation in the years to come.

For more information concerning making donations, one may contact Monty Murty at 724-238-7860 or Paul J. Volkmann, 724-539-8850. One may also email me at peevee73@verizon.net

If you are interested in learning more about the Chapter and its programs, visit the FTTU website at www.forbestrailtu.org.


- Paul J. Volkmann
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