Thursday, August 8, 2013

Gold Lake Grassroots Project

Regulations sign at Gold Lake
So there has been a story telling that has been going on and on for a while now that - though not unbelievable - is one that could use some verification. Andy A [of TV chapter] and Dick H [of the now Clackamas River chapter] - among a few others according to the story - did a bit of grassroots sign planting and educating a number years ago at Gold Lake [near the summit of Hwy 58 - Willamette Pass].

To hear the story the TU group was down there fishing a number of years ago - while there they were approached by a man and presumably several of his boys who were hauling out at the boat ramp. The boys were very proud of their catch - dad was a bit sheepish and certainly hurried. You see, it just so happened the catch was primarily made up of, if not entirely, rainbow trout. [side bar: in case you've never been - Gold is a trophy rainbow factory where the brook trout almost decimated the food base; regulations for the lake require barbless fly-fishing only catch and release for rainbows. Brook trout on the other hand are not protected - they are occasionally trapped by ODFW (during high production years) and there is no limit size or otherwise].

To continue: the guys felt some education was in order but instead of reproaching the individual and his boys on the spot, they concocted a scheme to design, purchase, and install a sign outlining the special regulations! Brilliant plan gentlemen! They set about enacting said plan including gaining permissions from the appropriate jurisdictions. Everyone thought it was a good idea and approvals were received.

Upon their return, with post hole diggers and battery operated drills and drivers in hand - the fresh new sign [in the image of the USFS official brown even] waiting in the truck - the boys seemed to have chosen the hottest day of the year for installation...though they persevered and after digging through rock infested soils and assembling the bolts with holes utilizing the very last amps of the very last battery pack int he triple digit temps - the sign was raised!

So after hearing the story a few times and the ensuing discussion about whether the sign had suffered catastrophic damage through natural causes or otherwise, I took a side trip upon my return from Miller Lake a few weeks ago [that TVTU outing] and stayed a night at Gold to not only experience the lake but also confirm for the fellows who had not been back to Gold that their efforts were still in place!

And I can report - the sign is in place! And not full of holes. Only a bit faded. And fully readable - right down to the "Donated by Tualatin Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited" [which I am sure was accompanied by a brass marching band.....right Andy? Nice touch in all seriousness]. All things noted and though a bit faded the sign stands strong and is not really in need of replacement [in their infinite wisdom the chapter bought TWO signs - just in case!]:

To me this is where the rubber meets the road and things happen. Good work guys! And though enforcement is another issue at least nobody there can say they had no idea of the special regulations at Gold Lake.

A great project from the past! Oh and the fishing at Gold Lake? Might say it was "off the hook"....literally. a few too many times actually. disappointingly so....but that will come after a bit perhaps; when the shame wears off.