Last month, Trout Unlimited released a new report highlighting outstanding public fishing and hunting areas in the Central Appalachian region that are at risk from shale gas drilling-related activities.
The “10 Special Places” report takes a deeper look into 10 iconic public fishing and hunting destinations, outlining the potential risks posed by gas drilling operations and providing recommendations from sportsmen and women that promote responsible energy development.
The report’s release comes in the wake of the announcement by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that the state will prohibit the practice of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, a move that will protect three areas featured in the report: the Catskill Park, Allegany State Park and the New York portion of the Upper Delaware River watershed.
“Sportsmen are all about places. Places we learned to shoot with our fathers, or small streams where our daughter caught her first fish. The places highlighted in this report help to define the hunting and fishing heritage here on the Eastern Seaboard,” said TU president and CEO Chris Wood. “Not only does the report shine a light on some of the finest fish and wildlife habitat in the East, it gives anglers and hunters a roadmap for ensuring these places remain productive, accessible and healthy. Shale-gas drilling can be done responsibly in the East, and sportsmen and women play an important role in monitoring that development to ensure the protection of the places we love to hunt and fish.”
The places featured in the report are:
- The Savage River watershed — This watershed in Maryland’s Garrett County features more than 120 miles of interconnected streams and the state’s highest native brook trout density.
- Pine-Genesee-Allegheny headwaters — The headwaters of three famed rivers begin their descent from the same northcentral Pennsylvania mountaintop.
- Laurel Highlands — With more than 138,000 acres of state forest and parks, and hundreds of miles of trout streams, this scenic section of southwestern Pennsylvania is an outdoor recreation mecca that’s convenient to the Pittsburgh metro region.
- George Washington and Jefferson National Forest — Covering 1.6 million acres, this is one of the East’s largest tracts of national forest land, featuring extensive hunting opportunities and harboring 60 percent of Virginia’s remaining native brook trout streams.
- Monongahela National Forest — By far the largest tract of public land in West Virginia, the forest holds the headwaters for six major rivers: the Cheat, Potomac, Greenbrier, Elk, Tygart and Gauley.
- Slate Run — Nearly the entire 45 square miles of this famous Pennsylvania mountain trout stream’s watershed lies in and adjacent to the Tiadaghton State Forest, a popular outdoor recreation area.
- Lake Erie watershed — This great lake and its tributaries feature both commercial and recreational fisheries. The region’s recreational steelhead fishery is legendary.
- Catskill Park — Home to the Neversink, Beaverkill and many other iconic trout rivers, New York’s Catskill Park is known as the birthlplace of American fly-fishing. Many of the park’s streams feed into the drinking waters supply for New York City.
- The Upper Delaware River basin — The Upper Delaware River is among the top trout fishing rivers in the East, and is less than two hours from New York City and also convenient to the other population centers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
- Allegany State Park — More than 80 percent of this New York park’s 65,000 acres have been designated a Park Preservation Area to limit development and to preserve hunting and fishing.