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OUTDOOR NEWS


February 16. 2013 5:46PM


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Fish for free

Labor Day – Monday, Sept. 3 – marks the second of two free fishing days in the Commonwealth. Fish For Free Days allow anyone – residents and non-residents – to legally fish in Pennsylvania. From 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on both days, no fishing license is needed to fish in Pennsylvania's waterways. All other fishing regulations apply. The first 2012 Fish for Free Day was Memorial Day.


"Fish-for-Free days are a convenient way to introduce friends and family to the sport of fishing," said Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission executive director John Arway. "Many families spend the day at lakes and parks throughout the state. Now they can try fishing at no cost. We know that once people try it, particularly kids, they will see that fishing is a great recreational activity and they will want to do it more."


To make it even easier to get started – or restarted – in fishing, the PFBC will host Family Fishing Programs at three locations in the northern portion of Pennsylvania on Saturday, Sept. 1.


"The Family Fishing Programs are free educational experiences designed for families with little or no fishing experience," said Carl Richardson, PFBC manager of Education and Outreach. "Participating families will learn basic fishing skills and have an opportunity to practice those skills while fishing together during the program."


The programs will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at these locations: Mauch Chunk Lake County Park, Carbon County; Bald Eagle State Park, Centre County; and Maurice K. Goddard State Park, Mercer County.


The fishing license requirement is waived for registered program participants 16 and older. The program is open to all ages. However, the program is designed for children ages 5 and older. All equipment, bait and tackle will be provided.


Space is limited at the event, so pre-registration is required. Deadline for registration is Aug. 31, and there will be no registration taken the day of the event. Visit www.takemefishingpa.com to register and learn more about these events and Labor Day's Fish-for-Free Day.


Grant for bats

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded two grants to support conservation planning in Pennsylvania and acquisition of vital habitat for threatened and endangered animals in West Virginia.


The Pennsylvania Game Commission and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will use this funding to develop a habitat conservation plan addressing forest land management activities on state lands to benefit bat species across the state.


The draft plan is a requirement for an application for a federal endangered species permit, called an incidental take permit, addressing impacts to the endangered Indiana bat.


The plan will cover impacts to the Indiana bat on the 1.4 million acres of state game lands, the 2.2 million acres of state forests, and the 295,000 acres of state parks. The total 3.8 million acres of largely forested land provides potential foraging, roosting, maternity colony and fall swarming habitat for all bat species that occur in Pennsylvania.


The conservation plan and related environmental analysis will evaluate the impacts of forest management practices on Indiana bats and use that information to develop a strategy to minimize and mitigate those impacts. The evaluation may also include other bats, such as the little brown bat, eastern small-footed bat, northern long-eared bat and the tri-colored bat, that have experienced rapid declines due to white-nose syndrome.


New trail opening

Countryside Conservancy will hold a formal groundbreaking ceremony at an entrance to the Trolley Trail at the Church of the Epiphany in Glenburn (near Clarks Summit). This event will take place at 11 a.m. and will be attended by Secretary Richard Allan of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.


From 1908 to 1932, the Northern Electric Street Railway operated trolley service from Scranton through the towns of Chinchilla, Clarks Summit, Glenburn, Dalton, LaPlume, Factoryville and the Lithia Valley to the resort community of Lake Winola. After the trolley line ceased operations when the company filed for bankruptcy, James K. Peck acquired the remaining right-of-way segments in 1945. His wife, Rosamond "Roz" Peck, one of the original founders of Countryside Conservancy, became interested in the idea of converting the former right-of-way into a non-motorized community recreational trail that would reconnect the small towns along the former trolley alignment.


On Dec. 14, 2011, DCNR announced the award of $566,000, to Countryside Conservancy through the Community Conservation Partnerships Program. The grant will fund the development of approximately 2.8 miles of trail from Clarks Summit to the Dalton Borough line. The vision of the Trolley Trail is to be a contiguous non-motorized multi-use trail that is not only used for recreation, but a route of alternative transportation that connects the local towns. The trail will also be a vehicle to inform and educate users of the history of the former trolley line and heritage of the regions and its people. The Conservancy's goal is for the Trolley Trail to become a destination point and a valued link in the regional, statewide and national trail network.


Funders and supporters of this project along with local dignitaries and Conservancy members will be on hand for this special, long awaited event. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.


Countryside Conservancy is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving lands and waters in and near the Tunkhannock Creek Watershed for public benefit now, and for the future. Please visit the Conservancy's website for more information: www.countrysideconservancy.org.




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