Over the past several years, there has been a push by the Harry Enstrom Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA), Greene County, to clean our waters and develop recreation in the county.
The trout stocking in the South Branch of Ten Mile is a good example of the ongoing attempt to develop our local recreation. Another example is the kayak and canoe ramps developed by the council of government and established by the local townships.
When the launch ramps were being developed, I heard comments that it was a waste of money to build these access points and that no one would use them. Well, I have seen more kayaks on the stream than ever. To the naysayers, look on the stream and see for yourself, you may be surprised. The ramps are a good thing. In the following, I will explain what is in the planning for the future.
In East Bethlehem Township, around the old swinging bridge by Clarksville, a plan is being developed to improve and rebuild the site of the existing launch area. As soon as the paperwork comes through and the deed is secured, grants will be obtained to move forward. The township commissioners deserve a lot of credit for their efforts on this venture. Included in this, is the possibility of rebuilding the swinging bridge as a part of a walking trail with room for a bike way.
The county has taken the lead in the development of the Waynesburg Water Dam (Weiscarver). The development of this area will provide an excellent opportunity for recreational development. The lake has been stocked several times with bass, crappy, bluegill and catfish. The IWLA has offered to help with removing some of the brush along the impound and with opening pathways to reach the lake. A launch area is being planned to give access to kayak use. There has even been talk of stocking the lake with trout. The county commissioners and the Fish and Boat Commission deserve a thank you for their ongoing efforts. The area provides an excellent opportunity for recreational development.
The next adventure I find the most exciting. It involves the Dunkard Creek area near Mt. Morris. The Soil Conservation District and the IWLA have joined together in the early planning to develop the recreational area. The Soil Conservation District has been working on shoring up stream banks to prevent soil erosion. They also have been working on a mitigation project on Dunkard Creek. MEPCO is planning on capturing two acid mine drainages from the old Madison Mine. These two seeps (A 1 and A 2) will be collected and pumped to the Steele treatment facility. The two seeps produce a large percentage of the AMD going into Dunkard Creek. The treatment of these two seeps will greatly enhance the water quality. Along with this MEPCO is considering leasing the area for a launch site for kayaks and canoes. The Soil Conservation District and the IWLA will be looking for other sources for funding for more clean-up projects. AMD has been entering the stream for close to 100 years. Any amount of AMD removal is a step in the right direction.
This clean-up project and recreational development are in the early stages, but hopefully with good planning and co-operation from several other sources, it will come to fruition. There is early planning for several other launch areas. The townships and other interested parties will be contacted for input and assistances. This development would also add economic development to the area.
As always, co-operation, good planning and trusting in guidance from above can and will change the water quality of the area, which is a very good thing.