Hundreds flock to Colyer Lake event to show support

mmorgan@centredaily.comSeptember 15, 2013 

— President Judge Thomas King Kistler had never seen so many people at Colyer Lake in one day.

A couple hundred people came through, many with boats, to show support for fixing the dam and saving the lake as part of a fundraiser and awareness day Sunday.

“This is really neat,” Kistler said. “It’s much busier than I’ve ever seen. It’s wonderful.”

The event was a joint effort among the Canoe Club of Centre County, the Women’s Outdoor Adventure Club of Centre County and the Nittany Mountain Biking Association. The goal wasn’t to raise the more than $6 million that is needed to fund the dam repairs but to show the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and state legislators that money needs to be found to save the lake.

And it was a good start, Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director John Arway said.

Arway has seen many lakes that are in same the conundrum as Colyer Lake. Though many get fixed at some point, it is the support of the community that determines how long it takes.

When a community strongly stands behind a lake and shows how important it is, legislators notice, he said. Arway has seen some lakes restored relatively quickly, while others have taken as long as 10 years.

If the community can continue to support the lake, Arway is hopeful that Colyer will be one of the success stories.

“It’s great to see the community come together to help support the lake,” he said.

William Tatcher, who owns property near the lake, said he has been supporting the cause for years and will continue to work to help save it. He called it a very valuable asset for Centre County.

Tatcher said he visits the lake on a daily basis, usually spending his time fishing, and will help monetarily any way he can to see the dam fixed.

And the groups will continue the effort.

Linda Marshall, a Women’s Adventure Club coordinating committee member, said they know they won’t be able to raise the $6 million needed to repair the dam, but they are trying to raise support and some money to leverage state funding.

For Marshall, enjoying the peaceful scenery at the lake and taking her kayak through the water is something she wants to be able to continue to do for years.

“It’s a recreational asset that should be preserved,” she said.

The lake is owned by the state and managed by the Fish and Boat Commission.

Matt Morgan can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @MetroMattMorgan.

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