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At the Crossroads Again

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 12/16/2010 (2272 reads)
As mentioned earlier this month, Paflyfish is recognizing it's 15th year on the Internet. A look back comes up with many exciting accomplishments and activities for fly fishing in our region. A look forward shows an even greater promise to what what our fly fishing collective can become. The site has grown beyond just a stop along of the Internet with few static static maps. It is now a very diverse and dynamic fly fishing community. The conversations, events, information and sharing extend well beyond the borders of the state.

acid"With such a rewarding sport as fly fishing I am always surprised at the diversity of ideas and issues that can be discussed on the site. Conservation efforts, while not immune from the controversy, is the one topic we most often find agreement. Interestingly it is a topic not only we mostly easily agree, but has held such importance longer than all others.

As a boy I enjoyed many summers jumping around the waters below Resica Falls at the Boy Scout camp of the same name in the Pocono Mountains. A splendid stream and one I still treasure. Growing up I understood there were water pollution issues, but thought of them as being isolated to the urban waters like the Schuylkill near where I lived in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Not big fishing waters back in the day.

It was not until I moved to Indiana, Pennsylvania did I understand that the pollution issues extend well beyond the cities. I saw the devastation that the acid mine water drainage had done to so much of waterways in western coal regions in streams like Little Mahoning Creek and Bear Creek.

East or west it seems we cannot escape these issues . There is probably nothing of greater importance for the future of our sport, than the awareness and action to protect and preserve our waterways. The last couple of years the significance of this has never been more apparent.

The Marcellus Shale drilling has most of us high alert and rightfully so. I think of the many the waterways forever changed by the mine water run-off and have to ask are we going to repeat these same mistakes with this new Marcellus Shale drilling?

I am equally conflicted with the economic offering this situation presents. For example many of my immediate family members are dairy farmers or closely tied to that industry in Northeast Pennsylvania. Sadly they have been struggling to see some economic light for decades in the region. The drilling leases offer them hope of some uplift.

At what price will they and all of us pay for this opportunity? Sadly the effort to clean up coal mining efforts started hundred years ago are still facing us today.

At the crossroads again I have come across a new organization that is trying to accomplish some of the very things I am challenging us on today. The Pennsylvania Camo Coalition is one of several groups dedicated to the preservation of our outdoors, but unlike many others they are uniquely focussed on the interests of sportsmen/women in our region.

To be completely transparent the Pennsylvania Camo Coalition is a sponsor of Paflyfish. I feel they are a group we should learn more about. They are dedicated to help outdoor enthusiasts become more informed and take action on our conservation issues.

To get a better understanding of the organization I thought it only right to speak directly with them about their efforts. In the second part of this post I will share my interview with Ed Boito, Special Campaign Director at the Pennsylvania Camo Coalition. The interview with Ed is here.
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