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Spring Ridge Club experience.

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At the risk of being crucified, I wanted to share a nice experience that I had on the Little J. This past Saturday, I fished from the junction of Spruce down to the top of the narrows. I was in the water shortly after daybreak and had fished my way down below the barn by 7 am. That's when an army of vehicles came down the access road and fishermen where everywhere. I spoke to a very nice young man that was fishing next to me. There was a fund raiser tournament for Cystic Fibrosis. Last year the tournament raised almost 90 thousand bucks. After figuring out what was going on, I moved between the two "beats" to stay out of the way for the tournament participants.

Around 8, a gentleman came up and asked me if I was aware of the event being held. I said 'no'. He told me to come on up and he'd give me a ride to the section just below the last group in the tournament. He introduced himself. I thought that I was about to have a 'Don Beaver' experience but it was actually Dave McMullen. He told me that he felt bad that I drove 2 hours to get there and that I could have full use of the property for the day. ?? I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. We stood by Dave's truck and talked for over an hour. From what I could gather, Mr. Beaver is done and he also addressed several other topics. I thought I'd share some of them with you. BTW, SRC has no intentions to appeal the state's judgment regarding the Little J.

* They own more land and miles of trout streams then any of us thought that they did. A majority of their water is open to public fishing and is stocked by the state. Land acquisition is to stop development on watersheds. Their stance is that the PFC will issue permits, when if it benefits them. Home Depot on banks of Letort for example. To buy the land, the money has to come from somewhere. That's where the wealthy members of SRC come in. As long as all water isn't posted, I can actually see their side of some issues. Their court case has made the PFC recognize private landowners where the public accesses cold water fisheries. The PFC will begin to compensate the landowners to keep access open so we may see a license increase in the near future.

* Don's personality became a serious problem when it came to public relations.

* Eminent demise of Spring Creek due to amount of building going on in the State College area. Increased runoff from amount of land that is now paved in combination with depleted ground water supply from well drilling has already affected the stream.

* Expansion of quarry near junction of Elk, Pine and Penns may fracture the aquifer and cripple stream flows. This underground water supply may also feed Big Fishing Creek.

* Little Juniata River Association. They have been pressing to have the river below Raystown managed as a cold water fishery. The bottom release gate is in place and they experimented with cold water releases about 10 years ago. The Corps of Engineers is fine with the idea. LJR Assoc. may be able to help speed up the PFC's decision making process. I guess they need proof that managing it as a cold water fishery will generate money.

Please don't think I'm a spokesman for SRC. I am of a very modest income and could or would never pay to join something like SRC. I am concerned about the future of Pa's legendary trout waters. I will say that right or wrong, they are making a move to preserve trout waters while the PFC has turned a blind eye. Hell, the PFC could have bought a 30' easement on each side of the Little J. They offered 35k and that's more of an insult to the Espy's then it was an offer. No wonder they sold it to someone else. A posting on here brought up an incident that happened with a chick, a dog and a canoe near the lower end of the gorge. Dave McMullen and SRC have approached the new landowner. He told me that they just bought that property a short time ago and their behavior is unacceptable. Don't beat me up too bad with your responses.

Posted on: 2007/6/24 23:27


Re: Spring Ridge Club experience.

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Boy, you are just asking for it. All I am going to say is; didn't your parents ever tell you don't believe everything you are told! I am going to leave it at that!

Posted on: 2007/6/24 23:38


Re: Spring Ridge Club experience.

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Not by any means am I calling you a boy, BTW!

Posted on: 2007/6/24 23:48


Re: Spring Ridge Club experience.

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Re: “He told me to come on up and he'd give me a ride to the section just below the last group in the tournament.”

Ummmmm. You were fishing there first. Fishing etiquette requires that they give you plenty of room on the river and not disturb your fishing.

They had no right to ask you to move. And you had no obligation to move.

The judge decided that the river is a PUBLIC river. Do you support the judge's decision?

Posted on: 2007/6/25 0:09


Re: Spring Ridge Club experience.

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troutbert,
Yes, I support the judges decision but they were also holding a tournament for a good cause so I was willing to stay out of their way. I fished that section last year on a dozen occasions and did have a run in w/ Donny. Dave is a much nicer and more reasonable guy. He did tell me that they've had 4 people arrested since the judge made a ruling. They were knuckleheads walking up and down the service road 60 yds from the stream. The stream is public but the land isn't. I've always been considerate and appreciative if someone let me park or fish on their property. Just like the 'no Sunday fishing' on Big Fishing Creek above Lamar, if enough people ignore the request of the landowner's, the cabin section could be closed to all fishing. I anticipated taking a beating by posting this. I understand that the fly section on Penn's was privately owned and given to the PFC in a trust. Violation of the trust could cause that to be closed to public access. I'd rather see the stream and surrounding preserved and closed then developed and ruined. What's closed today may be open and still pristine for the next generation. In CO, MT, WY and many other states, many streams are privately owned. I consider myself lucky to have so much water open for public use.

Posted on: 2007/6/25 1:29


Re: Spring Ridge Club experience.
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I went to the Casting for Recovery event that was held on the Spring Ridge Club's property and acted as an on stream guide for the day. I had the opportunity to speak with Donny Beaver at that time. I've also received a number of emails from him about posts on this site. That experience with him has tempered my opinion on him.

I'd agree with you about the fact that Mr. Beaver is not the antichrist. He doesn't have horms on his head or an appetite for the souls of unbaptised babies. He does have a temper. And I can see where he was probably not the best spokesman for his position. He's good one on one, but not so much in the press.

He was also dead wrong on the navigability of the Little J. I suppose he's been forced to realize that now that the court decision has been reached.

I hope the club continues to operate an be successful now that the decision has been handed down. It does have benefits to the average fisherman. Although, I doubt if the benefits are nearly as great as the club would like us to believe. And I don't feel that it's worth having someone steal from the public to give back a portion of the profit. Now that the ownership of the waterway is established, hopefully all sides will respect each others claims. And kudos to the club for prosecuting the jerks that were walking on their grounds!

The arguement that the fringe benefits of watershed protection and additional access is vaguely insulting. First, the unposted land is more of an investment than a donation. He has a financial interest in protecting the watershed, afterall. And who's to say the land wouldn't be posted at a time when it suits the club? Second, it ignores the fact that nonprofit and state entities are already working to protect the watershed. These entities need support and participation in their works. Mr. Beaver's insinuation that if he weren't doing such and such, nothing would get done is wrong. DEP & FBC may not be buying up land, but it is monitoring & protecting the water quality. Take a quick look at the LJRA website http://www.littlejuniata.org/ They are an active watershed association, doing stream cleanups and watching the development of the area. Are they as effective as they need to be? I dunno, but more support would only make them more effective. Clearly, people are taking care of the watershed, they just aren't buying it.

With the pressure of development and other factors limiting the natural resources of the state, it's vital the rights of the public be protected. This is what I feel the court decision has done for us. Any benefits from the club fail to make up for the dangerous precident it sets.

Posted on: 2007/6/25 6:59
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Padraic
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Re: Spring Ridge Club experience.

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The main points I was trying to make was that I met a person associated with SRC and it wasn't a horror story. Not only was he a pretty good guy, he brought up at least a dozen stream/watershed issues that should be addressed. If you think PFC does a good job of managing/preserving the cold water fisheries we have, look no further then Big Spring, Lehigh River and the Letort. Someone owns property bordering every creek and we should really appreciate the access we do have. Isn't to upper portion on Falling Springs now closed to the public? Why don't we read the same unflattering posts about that landowner?

Padraic, Mr. McMullen thinks that LJRA does some good work and the association may help influence getting the cold water released below Raystown. Dave brought up some issues that I didn't know existed. I was hoping that others on the site might have new information or genuine interests on some of the waters that I had listed above. I've got pretty thick skin, so go ahead and post away.

Maybe I should have posted about a less sensitive subject. Let's talk about Blue Marsh releasing 74-degree water into the Tully for 4 moths out of the year or maybe the existence of mountain lions in PA. :)

Posted on: 2007/6/25 7:54


Re: Spring Ridge Club experience.
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Quote:

sight_nymph_17109 wrote:
....Isn't to upper portion on Falling Springs now closed to the public? Why don't we read the same unflattering posts about that landowner?

....


I don't hear many unflattering posts about other private landowners who post their property. It is their privilege. Donny Beaver and SRC catches heck from me for trying to "post" property which does not belong to him, i.e., the streambed of the Little Juniata River. I am not happy, either, that we have a wealthy organization seeking out prime trout waters that are not navigable to purchase land along for the purpose of excluding all but its members, but unless I have the means to purchase property for myself or for the public to use, I don't feel I have the right to stop it. Falling Springs is in no way navigable, so it isn't a good example; however, should a landowner with property along Penns below Coburn attempt to prevent wading and floating, I will raise the same moderate heck I did about the Little J.

Posted on: 2007/6/25 9:37
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Re: Spring Ridge Club experience.

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The next time you go to the Little Juniata, would you go fish that same section? Or would you go somewhere else instead?

Posted on: 2007/6/25 10:43


Re: Spring Ridge Club experience.

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Right on sight nymph. Up till this point I ranked DB up there with Pol Pot. He may still be on the same playing field as John Wayne Gasey but I can see the other side of his argument. Spring Creek is not what it used to be. That area is growing so much that you can see the day when some of those streams are ruined for good.

I fished some good water this weekend and it was out of the way. Lets call it one of my secret spots. Along the bank next to a deep pool there were these wooden racks. They were for smoking fish... When I see stuff like that I am disgusted. You can almost justify what DB does. In reality if every angler were like us there would be far fewer access problems. Too bad we get lumped in with "them".

Posted on: 2007/6/25 11:32


Re: Spring Ridge Club experience.
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Make no mistake about it, the SRC is not a conservation organization, it is a for-profit business. The SRC may have some conservationoid policies, but any organization that stocks trout over wild trout in a Class A stream for its members is not doing the stream or trout any favors. In addition, my understanding is that the SRC is expanding their Spruce Creek building, adding rental cabins on the property, and developing a dozen or more single-family homes (all with septic systems) near the waterway. Also the SRC claim to only lease and post property already closed to the public is false.

It is an alarming trend that private clubs or individuals are buying or leasing access to prime waterways and eliminating public access, but the SRC and other similar clubs are just the tip of the iceberg. Even more pervasive and destructive are developers buying land and developing areas to the detriment of the land and waterway.

The only solution, as I see it, is for us all to donate to the CAP program to help the State, working with other organizations, buy or lease wild areas to preserve them and allow public access. Also, individually, or through an organization we must all keep an eye on, and try to limit development in sensitive areas. Public access and wild areas are shrinking fast. My suggestion is to join TU, the Nature Conservatory, and/or any other organization looking to preserve, enhance and protect wild areas and streams.

We must fight for stricter laws and rules for development, and the preservation of natural areas. If you doubt this come to Chester County, where I live. The amount of unchecked development in this once rural county has to be seen to be believed; and it’s happening or beginning to happen everywhere in PA.

Posted on: 2007/6/25 13:12


Re: Spring Ridge Club experience.

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bert,
Yes. I will fish that section again. It's nice water and holds some good fish. My buddy is coming up from DC and you're welcome to join us.


Jack,
I wasn't using Falling Springs as a comparison to the Little Juniata. Just comparing someone closing a section without getting the same venom that D. Beaver did. I think that his personality and way he handled things became such a liability to SRC that he had to go. My dad is a member of the 'knights of columbus'. If he's a prick toward you do you then assume that all 'knights of columbus' are pricks? Just a thought. To finish that thought... my dad is a prick but I still love him.


afishanado,
You are correct. They plan to sell around a dozen homesites on the back end of their property to cover legal fees. They lost and aren't appealing the decision. They could have said "f - it" and developed the whole property. I agree that stream access is shrinking due to clubs buying properties or landowners becoming fed up and posting their properties. SRC owns an additional 6 miles of the Little J but it was accessable to the public even before this legal battle insued. I totally support any program that aquires access to streams for public use. You have to admit that the PFC hasn't done nearly enough to maintain current fisheries or aquire new access agreements with private landowners. Hopefully we won't see all of our great streams go belly up or be privately owned. I can't afford to join a club like that nor would I ever if my means permitted me to. I don't want to be limited to catching stockies until June 1st and then nothing but chubbs until the stocking truck stops by again.

Posted on: 2007/6/25 14:50


Re: Spring Ridge Club experience.
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Quote:

sight_nymph_17109 wrote:

Jack,
I wasn't using Falling Springs as a comparison to the Little Juniata. Just comparing someone closing a section without getting the same venom that D. Beaver did. I think that his personality and way he handled things became such a liability to SRC that he had to go. My dad is a member of the 'knights of columbus'. If he's a prick toward you do you then assume that all 'knights of columbus' are pricks? Just a thought. To finish that thought... my dad is a prick but I still love him.


To me the comparison has no validity if you are trying to equate a landowner posting private land for his exclusive use and a landowner adjoining a stream attempting to gain exclusive use of the streambed, which does not belong to him. Regardless of Donny Beaver's lack of public relations acumen, his steering the corporation he controls into a course of conduct that included this attempt to usurp public property for his own benefit is what draws my distaste.

In addition, regarding the SRC owning other property which is not posted, I am going to go out on a limb and guess that they only own one side of the river. I am pretty confident, because if they owned both sides, they would, no doubt, be less magnanimous in allowing access, since they would then be able to significantly limit traffic and provide additional beats for their paying customers.

Posted on: 2007/6/25 15:09
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Re: Spring Ridge Club experience.

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"They plan to sell around a dozen homesites on the back end of their property to cover legal fees. "


Ok you lost me there. I was buying the tripe. They are back up there with Pol Pot. Don't make me puke. To cover legal fees!!! I don't imagine that there is a whole lot of overhead in his operation. A few members at 100k a pop goes a LOOOONG way. I don't poor mouth, and I'm poor. DB or the SRC will get no sympathy from me when it comes to money troubles.

Will these people be able to "unpost" their land. I would highly doubt it. What's an acre go for out there about 60K undeveloped? SRC is going to "take one for the team" and sell some of the land to cover costs....at about a million dollars.

Posted on: 2007/6/25 15:13


Re: Spring Ridge Club experience.

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Has there ever been a determination for the Little J prior to this? If it never had been 'navigable' prior to the trial, then he had every right to post it. If it was 'navigable' prior to the trial, then he was in the wrong the whole way. It's over. The stream is open. Forgive me for not understanding the hatred toward DB. I had a bad run in with him last year when I was fishing the Little J. I'm not sure that I'd P in his ear if his brain were on fire but I think it's better to focus energy in a positive direction rather then an angry direction. They own property that we can't make them sell. They have a rich membership that most of us couldn't afford to fight in court. So be it. What about the other issues that Mr. McMullen and SRC have brought to light? The original purpose of this post was to address development along trout streams, aquifer being depleated and the grim future for our great spring creeks. Without something changing, future generations will lose those waters. Let's focus on saving what's left. If we get something going now, mother nature will heal over time. If nothing's going to be done, I'd rather see the waters go private and be preserved.

Posted on: 2007/6/25 15:25



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