2018-06-09 / Outdoors

Wolf Tracks

Outdoor Columnist
Dave Wolf

A few months ago, a trio of Potter County residents who have long fought the good fight to protect the Allegheny River and other headwater streams in the region came under some criticism for not joining in the movement to stop a proposed water treatment plant in Coudersport.

Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing. Differences of opinion can be healthy. It’s when opinion is presented as fact that things can go south in a hurry.

Most of those who are leading the fight for clean water are hard-working people who seldom find praise for what they have accomplished. As an outdoor writer for more than 40 years, I know firsthand that you can expect to occasionally take some hits, whether you deserve them or not.

The fact that Wolf Tracks is a column, rather than a news story, should be obvious to anyone. I’ve never professed to be an expert.

I would like to suggest that others who speak out on environmental policies and scientific issues also acknowledge that they are offering opinions, rather than docu­mented, peer-reviewed facts.

Regardless of where you might come down on the water treatment plant or any other environmental issue, please try to respect those whose opinions differ from your own. The three Potter County sports­men and conservation leaders who took a public stand on the Coudersport issue did not deserve to be treated that way.

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Thankfully, the Primary Election is over and we are enjoying a respite from the con­tinual ads on TV and unwanted phone calls.

Last weekend, we observed Memorial Day. As we grow older, we stop and think more often than we did in our younger days. I am thankful that I have the freedom to roam here and there in pursuit of outdoor adventures.

It is those military servants who paid for our freedom with their own lives. As each Memorial Day comes and goes, my grati­tude grows.

Ours is a troubled world and we are blessed with the option of putting it out of our minds and taking a fly rod to a favorite stream or walking a forest trail to get away from it all.

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As Endeavor News reported last week, the Pa. Bureau of State Parks is holding a series of public meetings to receive input on the management of more than 2 million acres of state-owned forest land. Decisions on timber harvesting, energy development, recreation trails, habitat development and other management aspects have major implications.

First of these will be held from 6 pm to 8:30 pm Wednesday, June 13, at the DNCR office in Emporium. Date and location of the public meeting on the Susquehannock State Forest will be announced soon.

Decisions on the management of state forest land have an immeasurable ripple ef­fect on our economy, environment, wildlife populations and way of life.

Wednesday’s meeting is a rare opportu­nity to not only learn about how the state plans to manage these precious resources, but also affect it.

(Dave Wolf can be reached by email at wolfang418@msn.com.)

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