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Long-lost plaque honors Trout Unlimited creek project

Founder of the Spring Creek chapter of Trout Unlimited Joe Humphreys speaks with the director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission John Arway by the site of Humphreys’ Thompson Run stream improvement project during the dedication ceremony held at the intersection of Porter Road and East College Avenue on Sunday, May 15, 2016.
Founder of the Spring Creek chapter of Trout Unlimited Joe Humphreys speaks with the director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission John Arway by the site of Humphreys’ Thompson Run stream improvement project during the dedication ceremony held at the intersection of Porter Road and East College Avenue on Sunday, May 15, 2016. nthomas@centredaily.com

Better late than never.

In 1977, when the Spring Creek chapter of Trout Unlimited finished a restoration project rerouting Thompson Run around the duck pond on East College Avenue, a bronze plaque was created commemorating the work done and the contributions made by members and businesses of the community.

But the plaque was lost, having changed hands too many times to keep track of its whereabouts, and so the work stood without public recognition.

Until Sunday.

Surrounded by the surviving members of the original Trout Unlimited chapter, the recently discovered plaque was finally set in a limestone boulder at the site of the Thompson Run work, completed almost 39 years earlier.

According to a CDT article dated Jan. 3, 1978, Thompson Run “and its 4,000 or more gallons per minute of sparkling clean water were diverted around the duck pond last month, giving hope to anglers of a Spring Creek rebirth.”

Re-channeling the flow was started in October 1977, the article said, when Trout Unlimited asked Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc. to build a dike along the northeastern edge of the pond. Several other business joined the effort to redirect the water, as well as members of that original chapter.

Bob Vierck, current president of the Spring Creek chapter, said the project was important in the effort to revitalize the fisheries of the creek, keeping the heated water of the duck pond from flowing into the cold water of Thompson Run.

“It’s the premier fishing stream in Pennsylvania, and is a world-class stream without a doubt,” Vierck said. “It’s really phenomenal.”

Trout Unlimited has also undertaken additional projects to protect the waterway, including additional buffer planting along the edge of the creek. Eight projects, totaling $250,000 in grants, have been completed by the chapter in the past three years, he said, with an additional $200,000 planned for the future.

Joe Humphreys, 87, one of the original founders of the Spring Creek chapter in 1973, said most of his childhood was spent fishing along the creek.

“It was, to me, a lifesaver,” he said. “The trout fishing helped me out during some tough times during childhood.”

Humphreys said it was an honor to finally have the plaque established at the creek, even if he was 46 when the project was started.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews

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