Members of the Mountaineer Chapter of Trout Unlimited held a meeting at the Upper Inn Club in Durbin on Monday evening. Chapter President Buck Edwards, pictured fourth from the left, described plans to hold local “sub-chapters” to plan and conduct local activities. Chapter Vice President and Upper Inn manager Laura Dent is pictured second from the right.
Members of the Mountaineer Chapter of Trout Unlimited held a meeting at the Upper Inn Club in Durbin on Monday evening. Chapter President Buck Edwards, pictured fourth from the left, described plans to hold local “sub-chapters” to plan and conduct local activities. Chapter Vice President and Upper Inn manager Laura Dent is pictured second from the right.

“Cold clean fishable water. You’re welcome.”
– Mountaineer Chapter Trout Unlimited website.

The Mountaineer Chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU) is one of nine TU chapters in West Virginia. The chapter has more than 300 members from Pocahontas, Pendleton, Randolph, Upshur, Preston and Grant counties. With such a large area, it’s difficult to get members together for meetings on a regular basis. So, Chapter President Buck Edwards took the initiative to get meetings started in local areas, including Pocahontas County.

Edwards chose Durbin, in the heart of prime West Virginia trout fishing, to hold the first informal sub-chapter meeting. About 15 TU members from the surrounding area attended the meeting at Al’s Upper Inn Club on Monday evening.

“Our area is just so big, you can’t expect people to drive an hour-and-a-half or two hours to attend a monthly meeting,” said Edwards. “People just don’t have that much time to commit. Organizations lose people because people are so busy. So we came up with this concept of having these sub-chapter meetings in the local areas. It is something completely new. We’re just trying to make it easier and simpler for folks to be able to participate.”

In addition to Durbin, Edwards plans to start local TU meetings in the Davis and Clarksburg areas.

The goal is to get increased participation at the local level.

“We don’t really care what the guys do,” he said. “Get together and come up with ideas what to do in their local community. Then the chapter organization will support them with finances and help. We think it’s just a win-win.”

Sub-chapter organization will be informal and members can choose which local sub-chapter meeting they wish to attend.

Following Edward’s discussion on the sub-chapter initiative, Forest Service fish biologist Chad Landress gave a talk on the agency’s efforts to restore fish habitat in the Upper Greenbrier River watershed.

Landress described intensive efforts being carried out as part of the Upper Greenbrier North Watershed/Aquatics restoration project, which was described in the March 5 edition of The Pocahontas Times. The biologist said TU has been an important partner in the Upper Greenbrier River project and several other projects across West Virginia in recent years.

TU staffer Ben Matthews provided an overview of planned TU/Forest Service activities for the 2015 field season:
– Place fallen trees, including root balls, in 15 miles of East Fork tributaries to increase trout habitat and reduce stream erosion.
– Continue efforts to control Hemlock Wooly Adelgid along streams.
– Decommission 14 miles of forest roads and re-planting to reduce sedimentation.
– Plant 15 acres of denuded riparian zones with native tree and shrub stock.
– Assist the Forest Service to replace four road crossings that fragment habitat for fish and other aquatic species.

Edwards was pleased with Monday evening’s first-ever sub-chapter meeting.

“I thought we had a really nice turnout,” he said. “We had some local folks here, which is a good start. People who are connected with the area. We think that can only grow. We intend to continue to advertise it in the area. Hopefully get into the schools and encourage some of the younger kids to become active. We’ll do some events here and hopefully get some younger people involved.”

Sixteen trout fisherman founded Trout Unlimited on the banks of the Au Sable River in Michigan in 1959. Since then, the organization has compiled an impressive track record of conservation achievements.

The Mountaineer Chapter operates a website at https://mountaineertu.wordpress.com. Future sub-chapter meeting dates will be announced on the site and in The Pocahontas Times.