To the Editor:
I read with interest your Aug. 22 article about the Hocking River relocation project. Of particular concern to me was the part about the OU grad student working ecological experiments on sections of the river. This stretch of the river was never designed or intended to be a Riparian Zone, such as exists for many miles above the White’s Mill dam. So, why is OU working with the Conservancy District on trying to create one?
One of the benefits of such zones is shading the water, lowering temperatures in the summer so fish can flourish. So, is there data to suggest the bio-diversity of fish life is a problem here? I’ve personally encountered a half-dozen species between the dam and the Richland Avenue bridge. In fact, the pool below White’s Mill dam used to be a well-used fishing spot for decades, producing huge catfish and striped bass.
But the then owners of White’s Mill decided to restrict parking access along Ohio Rt. 682 because of some theft they had at their business.
There were other parking spaces, about a dozen, available across from the Legion post, until the Little Red Outhouse was moved in. Fishers must now compete with bikers for the few parking spots. The Millview building also prohibits parking and trespassing around the dam.
Still, there was access to the river, until lately. The shrubby trees that are now covering the rip-rap from the dam to the Habitat house have overgrown the pathways to the water. Anglers who once lined these shores in numbers are now few. These shrubs will never likely benefit the aquatic environment, and I wonder if they do more harm than good to the rip-rap.
So, what of the rights of us fishers to access one of the best fishing holes in the area? The more the banks of the river overgrow, the less access is provided for people to enjoy one of nature’s purest sports.
Think of the attraction this area could be again. The area below the dam is a natural resource that should not be restricted with overgrowth as it is now, and our access to this part of the river needs to be restored and even expanded..