- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 20, 2006

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

To reinforce the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s study concerning the economic impact generated by trout fishing, Craig Findley, the president of the Friends of the Upper Delaware River, recently sent out a letter that instantly got to the heart of the matter.

Findley wrote, “The world-famous upper Delaware River, and its equally renowned West Branch, is the largest remaining wild trout river left in the Northeast. [But it is] much more than that. It is a dynamic tourism and economic engine that hasn’t yet [and may never] reach its potential.

“Let me explain. What kind of direct dollars, tax abatements, economic funding and a host of other incentives would federal or state tourism, or economic development-related agencies provide to an industry that conservatively generates $58 million a year in economic activity to this depressed region?”

Findley pointed out that this is an industry that creates new jobs that will never be outsourced, does not need the building of a physical plant, and does not pose an environmental threat.

He’s talking about the popular fly-fishing community in his region where the average participant is married (83 percent). Nearly 90 percent attended college, the average income is $140,000, 90 percent own their own home and few think twice about traveling many miles to eventually spend as much as $2,800 a fishing trip.

However, Findley is not happy about future economic prospects because from May through September, not enough constant, cold-water releases are made from three upstream Delaware River reservoirs to maintain constant angling-related economic benefits for the region. When the water is low, most of the trout fishermen stay home.

Gene Mueller

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