It was a beautiful day Friday – clear blue sky with the bright sun shining. Perfect for the Town of Marlinton’s Earth Day celebration held at the water plant along Knapps Creek.
The day was filled with fun and education – for young and old. The stream was stocked with varieties of trout, which youngsters eagerly tried to catch using their fishing poles. Knapps Creek Trout Lodge owners Anne Mitchell and Mark Hengemihle were on hand to share their trout catching skills.
Those lucky enough to catch a fish took their prize to the Parks and Rec table to get it measured – the biggest catch of the day won a prize.
Winners of the fishing derby were: ages six and under, Lincoln Dunbrack; ages seven to nine, Cadence Sharp; ages 10 to 12, Mason Moore; and ages 13 to 14, Peyton Gragg.
Also on hand to share information were West Virginia Rivers Coalition program director Autumn Crowe and Greenbrier River Watershed Association coordinator Louanne Fatora.
The groups provided tables full of informational packets, stickers and coloring worksheets for the kids.
Crowe partnered with the Town of Marlinton and Parks and Rec to plan the day’s activities to help spread awareness about maintaining clean water in the county.
“That’s one of our main programs, our Safe Water for West Virginia program, where we work with water utilities to help educate the public about source water protection,” she said. “We started the program after the water crisis [Elk River] that happened in 2014.”
Among the pamphlets available to the community is one Crowe said was developed with Pocahontas County in mind. It’s called, “Brook Trout and Healthy Waters: A Win-Win.”
“We developed the brochure with this area in mind because if you have a trout stream, then it’s obviously a good quality stream,” she said. “We wanted to educate people – everybody loves to go trout fishing, especially in this area – so if the water is clean enough for fish, then you know you have a good drinking water source.”
Fatora shared information specifically related to the Greenbrier River Watershed and said she had a lot of interest from those attending the event.
“I’ve had some really nice conversations with people about the watershed and flooding and things to do about erosion – tree planting to prevent water runoff,” she said. “It’s been really worthwhile to set up here.”
The event also included tours of the Town of Marlinton’s water plant, which has recently gone through upgrades to ensure that the town’s water supply is clean and fresh.