By Todd Burns, President, Brodhead Chapter Trout Unlimited
Originally published in the Pocono Record
It’s April — the start of a new fishing season for anglers like me. As I venture out onto the wild trout waters of the Poconos, I marvel at how lucky we are to have such clean, healthy waters flowing through a beautiful stretch of country. I’ve spent decades fishing these streams and after every winter, it’s a welcome return to the forest.
But these places are fragile, as we saw this month when a truck overturned along the headwaters of Pocono Creek, a creek in which Trout Unlimited and its partners have spent years restoring stream habitat. Thousands of pounds of tiny plastic pellets spilled onto the banks and into the water. I was proud to see 90 citizens come out on a cold, rainy Sunday to clean up the mess, bit by plastic bit. I thank all those who participated.
As a community we must continue to band together to ensure that our streams are clean, respected and protected. These streams are ours to enjoy, and it is our responsibility and our duty to protect them. As local economies naturally expand, the tendency will be to relax the protections that have ensured the current, pristine nature of our streams. We must acknowledge that there is no need to choose between the economic growth and environmental conservation. The last few decades have demonstrated that growth in the Poconos can co-exist with these protections. We must work together so that our economy, our streams, and our residents continue to live in harmony.
We all need clean water to survive and thrive, and we all benefit from a healthy — and sustainable — economy. We should continue to celebrate protection of our streams, and firmly reject threats to our clean waters.