Morgans Canoe and Outdoors Blog

2009 Fireworks at Morgan's Brookville Livery

September 26, 2009

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2009 Fireworks at Brookville Canoe Livery.

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There was no shortage of people, happiness and fun on Sat. September 19 at the Brookville Canoe Livery. Brookville played host to family, friends, the Boy Scouts and even and a company pig roast. The fireworks display was the perfect end to a beautiful fall-like day.

The Morgans would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the community, our friends and patrons. We had a great summer and look forward to the next natural adventure next summer.

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Boulders to be placed in the East Fork along Brookville Town Park

September 04, 2009

A group called Trout Unlimited is intending to place 75 1-3 ton boulders in the East Fork from approximately a willow tree near the lower picnic shelter of Brookville Town Park, south to approximately the Hermitage, or perhaps farther (they have said only to the Hermitage (approx 350 feet), but their permit is for 800 total feet). The purpose is to build a trout habitat.

They said that they had called me as a courtesy to Canoefest, and they wanted to know if I or someone could go to the river on Tuesday and help them place the boulders so as not to hinder paddling. I asked why we were hearing about this with only 3 days to go? They replied that they had no legal requirement to contact me, or anyone in the county, but was doing it as a courtesy, and that there were 4, not 3 days to go. I informed him that I neither myself or anyone else from Canoefest would have jurisdiction or authority to do such "placements". I also asked to see some plans or specs on their project so that I/we could at least know what we were talking about. I also asked why seemingly no one locally knew anything about the project. They said they had no legal requirement to do so. Later in the day, people at IDEM confirmed there was no requirement to notify the public, as well as no part of the application criteria that looked at community impact, economic impact, or other local concerns.

During the first phone call with Trout Unlimited, they said there was no stopping installation of these boulders on Tueday, August 25. I asked many times for them to delay so that we could look at this, but the first call was quite pushy in more or less demanding that we meet them now.

Now I'm in favor of fishing too. Paddling and fishing are two important aspects of bringing people and their money to this area. They claim this application process has been going on for over a year, but that only strengthens my main question: Why has no one in this community heard about this project until now? How can such a project be done to one of the most important features of our home, without community input?

During a second phone call, the President of Trout Unlimited said he would delay this project until September. I have no legal or documented proof it is indeed not going to happen on Tuesday. They are reporting on their website that the "Brookville Project" is delayed, and an email said 'see you in September," but would that hold up in a court?

This morning I received an email with the Trout Unlimited materials, including their permits, and photos of similar projects to what they are proposing. These can be found at:

I'd like to know what people think about this, and suggestions for what we should do. I asked the trout people for the name of a Franklin County resident who was a member of their organization, and they could not give me one. Do we know anyone from here who is a member?

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The meeting last night went well, in our opinion. We had about 200 people show (give or take - we stopped counting in the 170 range). It was a civil but passionate discussion. Franklin County residents made it clear that they would like to keep fishing the way it is now. One person, a child aged 12, summed it up by saying "let me say this in 5 words - let us fish in peace". This was after recalling his first fishing experience on the tail waters with his father and catching a walleye with live bait. Franklin County residents pointed out that things are obviously fine or so many people, including trout fishermen, would not be fishing there. Our town expressed it is unfair to cater to a specific fish and fisherperson when there is a wide variety of fish in the tail waters. This is compounded with the information from the hatchery that the brown trout they stock are capable of reproduction physically, but that tail waters in general are one of the worst places to expect a thriving fishery of trout because of the unpredictable water levels. Loving thanks to the Indiana Bass Federation for their support. Their members came to the meeting and paid for a half page ad in our local paper( $250.00) in support of the town of Brookville and for keeping the fishing regulations as they are. A special thanks to Eldon Crabtree for spear-heading this and for being so kind to our feelings and beliefs as a community. Eldon, we do not know how to repay you. Other heroes we would like to acknowledge are - Jim Suhre, Kate Greene, The Nobbe Family, Steve "Reno" Weber, Bob Bishoff, Jean Leising, Ken Saxon and Drew , the very articulate 12 year old boy. Way to go Brookville!!! Thanks to everyone, because it would have been never-ending. Thanks to all concerned citizens of Franklin County for their support. We apologize if we failed to mention you personally. Everyone was so very important in this decision. Trout Unlimited supporters and all fisher people, we welcome you to our community. Please be respectful to those who live here, and you will find the same. Drew, the twelve year-old said it best last night, " Let us fish in peace". Respectively, Greg and Tracy Morgan
Greg & Tracy Morgan 10:42PM 10/09/09
NRAC meeting in Brookville is Thursday Oct. 8 at 6pm at the Franklin Co. Govt. Center - 1010 Franklin Ave. Brookville, IN 47012.
Tracy Morgan 10:22AM 10/02/09
I was on Trout Unlimited's web site today and they indicate they are pulling the project. But their tone still shows that they feel their trout fishing is more important then others that use the area. I would keep an eye on them or others trying to change the area for their own needs. Actually in Indianapolis the DNR had an outdoor festival at the Ft Harrison State Park and Trout Unlimited had a booth. I was wearing my Canoefest t-shirt and I wanted to visit their booth. My 15 year old daughter was with me and was afraid of what I would say. Instead I spent time taking with the Leave No Trace person.
John from Indianapolis 5:02AM 09/27/09
We attended the meeting in Indianapolis on September 14 that the Natural Resources Advisory Council (NRAC) held regarding fishing regulation changes on the East Fork of the Whitewater River in Brookville, IN (see post below for the proposed changes). We brought along with us, a bus with 30 residents and 200 letters of opposition. One of the letters had over 200 signatures on it alone. It was nice to see the community take a stand against the regulation changes. There were DNR scientists that testifed that the trout are not showing signs of reproducing in the river. This means the trout will have to be stocked annually even if these rules are implemented. The town does not understand why we should change regulations to cater to a non-native species of fish while ignoring the native species and not allowing fishing for them. The NRAC apologized for not having their meeting in Brookville since it pertained to this area only and promised to hold another meeting in Brookville. This meeting is proposed for Oct. 8 at 6pm. Location to be announced. We have had several town meetings since the NRAC meeting and we are having a float in the homecomig parade on Friday with people carrying their fishing poles, advocating fishing for everyone. We are also contacting other fishing organizations in search of opinions and hopefully support. We had 30 people travel to Indy and 14 of them spoke to the council. It will be interesting to see how many show up to the meetng in Brookville. We expect a very large showing. Come if you can. It is a public hearing. Thanks again for your support. A special thank to "John from Indy" for taking the time to send a letter to the editor of the Brookville paper.
Tracy Morgan 8:23PM 09/23/09
September 10th, a group of us met with 3 members of Trout Unlimited. We expressed the community's opposition to both the boulder project and the fishing restrictions on the East Fork. Trout Unlimited agreed to cease the boulder project, and will be getting us documentation in the next days that they are pulling their permit applications to the DNR. We will continue to work to confirm with proof that the project is indeed dead, but we are quite hopeful that the boulder controversy is over. Not so for the fishing restrictions. We asked them to withdraw their support for the restrictions, which are to outlaw bait fishing, and to make fishing catch-and-release only on the East Fork. On this point they refused. They did say that at the September 14 meeting they would note that the local community was against these restrictions, but that they would still advocate that the DNR put these restrictions in place. So, we are still collecting letters to take to the meeting in Indianapolis on Monday the 14th, and we are still going to fight this as strongly as possible. Anyone wishing to go to the meeting is very much welcomed. Thank you to everyone for your support so far, and for your continued support on these issues.
Tracy Morgan 11:12AM 09/11/09
We had a town meeting last night and we have locals with a voice and they aren't happy. The town council has not agreed to give them access to our town park for placement of the boulders but they haven't made a motion to not give them access either. We have a DNR meeting in Indy Mon. Sept. 14 about the suggested fishing regulation change. Trout's Unlimited have about 200 letters in favor and none objecting because those who object are just fiding out. Our Chamber of Commerce is accepting letters of concern until 1pm Monday Sept.14 so we can hand deliver them to the meeting. Please mail or deliver a letter to 444 Main Street Brookville, Indiana 47012. Thanks in advance for your support.
Tracy Morgan 8:03PM 09/09/09
So I looked into this and according to the State of Indiana ( you need a permit from the IN Department of Natural Resources to "place, fill, or erect permanent structures" in a navigable waterway. The roster of navigable waterways by county shows that the East Fork of the Whitewater river is navigable throughout the county. I'm not an environmental specialist (I work with designing road projects in Alaska) but you may be able to argue that the river qualifies as navigable under federal jurisdiction and they need a Section 10 Corps of Engineers permit. I'm guessing that all of these permits require some sort of public process. All the permits that are posted on the Trout Unlimited site are about water quality, which don't have anything to do with navigability. I don't even think IDEM deals with this kind of permitting; I would check with Indiana DNR and the Corps of Engineers.
Lauren Ivanov 2:40PM 09/07/09
Of course I like the the idea of a habitat for trout, but I also like canoe fest and freshwater fishing in the area. "Trout Unlimited" does not live here and good folks with tradition do. For the locals to not be notified to vote on this is the "crime" - I know several people who regularly fish those waters. Limited it to catch-and-release fly fishing would certainly be a bummer for those who frequent the water.
Jason 10:20AM 09/07/09
Their plan would be fine assuming no else had anything to do with the area except them. The Canoefest is one of the best revivals of an old tradition. I am sure it is a financial boost to the local economy (I know my family spends their share of money every year). I spent many days in the area during my youth in the 70s and 80s, fishing, boating and canoeing. The use of the area must keep everyone in mind.
John from Indianapolis 1:12PM 09/05/09