Laurel Highlands one of 10 ‘special places’

Date: 
Tue, 10/21/2014
Oct. 21, 2014
 
Contact:
 
Katy Dunlap, Trout Unlimited Eastern Water Project Director, 607-742-3331
Mark Taylor, Trout Unlimited Eastern Communications Director, 540-353-3556
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Laurel Highlands one of 10 ‘special places’
 
The unique region offers an abundance of fishing and hunting opportunities
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Trout Unlimited is featuring the Laurel Highlands area of southwestern Pennsylvania in a new report highlighting outstanding public fishing and hunting areas in the Central Appalachian region that are at risk from shale gas drilling and hydrofracking.
 
The organization’s 10 Special Places report focuses on areas that are rich in fish, game and natural beauty, and that have for generations provided abundant opportunities for hunters and anglers. It covers threats to the specific regions and offers recommendations for the best approaches sportsmen and women can use to protect these areas from potential risks.
 
The Laurel Highlands region is the fourth of the “10 Special Places” to be announced. Trout Unlimited will announce a new place weekly this fall, releasing the full report in December.
 
“The Laurel Highlands region is gaining a serious foothold in respect to recreational opportunities and its resultant sustainable economic enhancements all derived from its natural resources,” said Len Lichvar of the Mountain Laurel chapter of Trout Unlimited. “It is imperative that we assure that the wealth of the natural resources found in the Laurel Highlands are not compromised for unsustainable short term gain  at the expense of long term protection and productivity.”
 
The Laurel Highlands is home to eight of the state’s 10 highest summits, including the highest, Mt. Davis, at 3,200 feet above sea level. Class A Wild Trout Streams, such as Camp Run and Laurel Run and dozens of other popular fisheries, form the Laurel Highlands Trout Trail, a 70-mile region attracting anglers from nearby Pittsburgh and neighboring states to fish for trout and take in the scenery. 
 
With more than 138,000 acres of state forest and parks, and more than 25,000 acres of state game lands, the Laurel Highlands provides ample public hunting opportunities for deer, bear, turkey, ruffed grouse and small-game.
 
“The public fishing, hunting and recreation lands in the Laurel Highlands have largely remained untouched by Marcellus shale gas development, making the region a destination for sportsmen and women from Pittsburgh and beyond,” said Katy Dunlap, eastern water project director for Trout Unlimited. “However, that could all change in the near future if Pennsylvania issues new leases for state park and forest lands.”
 
Trout Unlimited promotes responsible energy development and, in collaboration with others, seeks to ensure that all reasonable efforts are made to avoid or mitigate the impacts such development may have on important coldwater resources, such as the Laurel Highlands. 
 
To protect the world-class hunting and angling opportunities available in the Laurel Highlands area, sportsmen and women are working together to urge state officials not to lease additional state forest lands where the mineral rights are owned by the state and to require stringent management practices where mineral rights are privately owned.
 
The report and related content are available online at tu.org/special-places.
 
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Trout Unlimited is the nation’s largest coldwater conservation organization, with 155,000  members dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and visit us online at tu.org.
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