Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash was presented with a $19,000 gift from the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited as part of their continuing efforts to support the park’s fisheries program. The donation included two checks in the amount of $15,000 and another for $4,000 raised by the Little River Chapter at the 2015 Troutfest Banquet.
The donated funds will support brook trout restoration efforts and fisheries internships with the parks fisheries management crew. Since 1987, the park has actively worked to restore native brook trout populations to their native range. Brook trout, the only trout species native to the Smokies, lost up to 75 percent of their historic range in the early 1900s due to destructive logging practices and competition from non-native rainbow and brown trout. Working with cooperators and volunteers, the park has restored over 27 miles habitat in 11 streams back to brook trout habitat.
“Trout Unlimited continues to be a champion of the Smokies fisheries program,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “We are grateful not only for this generous donation, but also for the countless hours of hands-on volunteer labor served in the park.”
The Little River Chapter raised an additional $5,000 to support a youth education program through the Steve Moore Youth Education Fund. This education fund was established in 2014 to recognize retired National Park Service Fisheries Biologist Steve Moore for his efforts in creating future conservation leaders. The funds have been used to establish Trout-in-the-Classroom programs in seven area schools and will support an additional two east Tennessee schools after Christmas. The Youth Education funds also provide tuition assistance for students to attend a Trout Camp at Tremont each summer.
“The Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited is pleased to make these donations in our continual efforts to support our national treasure – the Great Smoky Mountain National Park,” said Mike Bryant, President of the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited. “We believe these donations will make a difference protecting and preserving the park for generations to come. The Little River Chapter has had a special relationship with the Park Service for over twenty years. As a non-profit organization, our mission is to protect and restore cold water resources and watersheds in and around the GSMNP. We continue to do this through our monetary donations as well as with our volunteer efforts.”
For more information about brook trout restoration, please visit the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/dff409-focusnps1.htm or the Little River Chapter of trout Unlimited website at http://lrctu.org/
Photo: Left to Right
Front Row: TU President Mike Bryant, Fisheries Biologist Matt Kulp, Charlie Chmielewski, Steve Young and Superintendent Cassius Cash
Back Row: Resource Management and Science Division Chief Jeff Troutman, Stan Smartt, Ernie Fry, Fisheries Technician Caleb Abramson, Bill Bolinger and Sheila Bolinger