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Tales of loons, lunatics and troubled trout

Loons must nest on the water's edge, as they cannot walk on land, which makes them vulnerable to disturbances from boat wakes and other human activities. Please observe "no wake" zones and speed limits, and keep away from shorelines to avoid flushing loons off the nest.

There's something fishy in Essex County

In other disturbing news, it appears that the future of the Essex County Fish Hatchery may be in jeopardy. Essex County supervisors have been reviewing a growing list of necessary repairs at the county-owned hatchery in Crown Point, amid an increasingly dismal financial picture.

The hatchery currently stocks thousands of trout in local streams and lakes, including 2-year-old "trophy" fish. Visiting anglers rave about the quality of these fish, which are comparable to wild "native" trout. However, the county facility is in need of a major overhaul.

Elizabethtown Supervisor Noel Merrihew recently explained, "We're looking at the waterlines and other infrastructure. The hatchery really needs a lot of work and Steve LaMere, (county fisheries director) has done a great job keeping the place up and running, with a limited staff. Right now, Dan Palmer (county manager) is looking into the costs and expenses, to help the board determine the best direction to take. We understand how important the hatchery is to the county."

Major renovations are needed for the old facility, built by the state in 1928. However, county officials should realize that for every trout the hatchery puts out, the return from tourism more than triples the expense.

Trout, especially of the high caliber that the county hatchery produces, are a major tourist attraction. Losing this invaluable resource would be comparable to the closure of Frontiertown, or Santa's Workshop in the current day.

Wilmington, which is a three-pole town, is economically driven each season by either the North Pole, ski poles or fishing poles. The removal of just a single pole, would likely threaten the financial integrity of the entire community.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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