Page 56 - The Hunt - Summer 2019
P. 56

                  Tying flies is an art among fishermen (and women).
WE’RE CONSERVATIONISTS WHO LOVE TO FISH — WE’RE NOT FISHERMEN WHO LIKE TO DO CONSERVATION ON THE SIDE.
Owen Owens lives near a small Brandywine River tributary called Bennett’s Run that’s known for its vibrant population of stoneflies, mayflies and caddisflies. Avondale’s Stroud Water Research Center classifies the stream a 15 out
of 20, one of the highest such rankings in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Few people know this other than Owens, who’s a board member, founder and past president of Valley Forge Trout Unlimited.
The creek runs through
Kennett Square’s Kendal-Crosslands Communities, where Owens lives. Last summer, the continuing-care facility used portions of a donation from a deceased former resident to remove
invasive plants from its 600-plus feet. Then, this past fall, VFTU members joined residents and staff to plant 300 native trees and shrubs.
It’s the sort of thing VFTU has been quietly doing to protect the region’s cold-water resources since 1976, all in the name of conserva- tion—and fly fishing. All of its work is accomplished with an annual budget of less than $50,000. “We’re conservationists who love to fish—we’re not fishermen who like to do conservation on the side,” says VFTU president Pete Hughes, who lives in Chester Springs.
After 12 years, the local chapter’s aggressive involvement has led to a crucial settlement agreement between
the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the National Parks Conservation Association and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. The
latter will now have to alter its storm-water management plans for the road-widening project from Route 29 to the Valley Forge turnpike interchange. “We were accused of holding up plans for six years,” says Pete Goodman, VFTU’s environmental chair, who also heads the Environmental Advisory Council for Charlestown Township near Phoenixville. “There were some long, ugly talks. If they’d done it right, they wouldn’t have had us telling them about everything they did wrong.”
54 THE HUNT MAGAZINE sUMMEr 2019






















































































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