Somerset Lake Update
Inside the Outdoors, July 17,
2015

Somerset Lake may be up and over the hill, so to speak, but to some, it’s a water basin where many area residents do and have fished in the past. It’s been in the news over the years because of lack of funds for structural repair.
Well now, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat announced that it has worked out a way to save this Somerset County lake, by creating a nature park.

According to Pennsylvania Outdoors, July 3, 2015 edition, “The 468-acre site becomes the latest PFBC-owned property to be leased or licensed to another entity. The lake has been turned over to the county. A grant has been applied for through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to complete a trail around the water basin.”

As a result, there is a good possibility that one will see a handicap-accessible fishing pier, boat launch improvements and addition of a boat rental. It is hoped that by fixing up the lake and its surroundings, tourism will return which will bolster local economy. I know when I was escorted to the area, my fishing buddies and I often visited downtown Somerset to dine first at one of the restaurants and spend a little money in the economy. It goes without saying, things will turn around once the lake is renewed and “brought back to life” so to speak.

Even John Arway, executive director of the PFBC was happy about the turn of events. “The county can provide things in outdoors recreation,” he said, “we at the commission can’t because we aren’t a park’s agency. The county is willing and able and in a position to afford it.”

Somerset Lake is one of 10 Pennsylvania lakes that are drawn down for the reasons that repair work is needed for each, but funding lacks. It has been drawn down 6 feet. There is no set future date when it will be returned to its natural level. “The dam needs an $8 million replacement,” the PFBC said.

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Headlining the Pennsylvania Outdoors News July 3, 2015 edition came these words – “New Sunday hunting bill introduced. Lawmakers to make one more attempt to lift ban.”

With everything that seems to be happening in society today, it isn’t surprising that the peaceful Sabbath days will now be clouded with gun fire if everything goes according to certain lawmakers as well as sportsmen who want that extra day to spend time in the woods aiming to fall their favorite game.

Lackawanna County Democrat Frank Farina and prime sponsor of the soon-to-be-introduced legislation stated, “Times have changed and now it’s time that the outdated laws of Pennsylvania change as well.”

It wouldn’t be all 52 Sundays. The Pennsylvania Game Commission would regulate the certain days according to seasons. “Most likely, you’re looking at eight to twelve Sundays probably,” Farina said.
According to Pennsylvania Outdoor News’ staff report, “Farina’s bill has yet to be assigned a bill number. That’s expected, however.”
Chris Cox, national rifle executive director, concluded, “America has an important hunting heritage, and Pennsylvania’s sportsmen and women deserve to have the same opportunities as hunters in other states.”

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One thing’s for certain for all outdoor adventurers. We are striving to get “ticked off” rather than “ticked on.’ And it’s true, some may boo me for using a play on words, but the fact remains, none of us want to discover ticks on our person anytime, that’s a certainty.

There used to be a number of reports out of state. Lyme Disease originated in Lyme, Connecticut. When I shared a report with an associate recently that the presence of ticks is getting worse throughout the Commonwealth, he raised his eyebrows and stood still momentarily and then commented, “Really?”

But I was uneducated about this occurrence as well until reading the report in Pennsylvania Outdoor News. In an article written by Deborah Weisberg, under the heading, Lyme disease, ticks keep getting worse across state, she stated, “A recent study shows debilitating disease, which is transmitted through bacteria from the black-legged, or deer tick, is now in all 67 counties and incidents are steadily on the rise, according to Dr. Rachel Levine, physician-general of Pennsylvania.”

She noted, “The number of cases stated-wide rose from 5,900 to 7,400 last year. The Pennsylvania Department of Health has identified certain “hot-spots” in the state including Allegheny County, where cases have multiplied six-fold, and Butler, Armstrong, Westmoreland, Montgomery, Bucks, Luzerne and York,” she said.

Black-legged ticks live two years, and once hatched must have a blood meal at every stage to survive.
Have someone check the skin of others upon their return from the outdoors. These examinations may prevent long-time sufferings. Not always easily diagnosed, it can be treated with antibiotics.


- Paul J. Volkmann
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