Caddis, Crayfish, 59, and 62

The federal government has designated the stretch of Allegheny River between the Kinzua Dam and Tionesta, PA as one of the nations “Wild and Scenic Rivers”. This designation places it on a par with the Colorado in the Grand Canyon or the Columbia River wherever it has not been eviscerated, tamed, through a series of dams.

Much has been said of the world class fishing on this stretch of river, as a sign or the rivers vitality. But the true measure of health is in smaller signs. Over the pas few days, as I paddle at twilight, I have been struck by the size and quantity of crayfish, as well as the size of the caddis and mayfly hatches. Both are critical pieces of the food pyramid necessary to keep record trout and walleye sustained.

“Wild and Scenic” is an interesting designation. For most of the designated length, there is little other than a few cottages or houses, such as mine. That does not imply true wilderness. For along the entire length lie routes 59 or 62, which are major thoroughfares for oil tank trucks, or lumber trucks, or now Shale drilling support vehicles.

We cleaned up the river, save for the noise. On that count, the pollution grows daily.


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