Donegal Trout Unlimited: The future looks bright, one stream at a time
For more than 50 years the Donegal Chapter of Trout Unlimited (DTU) has held steadfast to its coldwater conservation heritage in Lancaster County. Anglers started the chapter, attracted by the social aspects of everything from learning how to tie flies to fishing local streams to guided trips abroad. For the past three decades, chapter conservationists like Bob Kutz and the late Greg Wilson worked side by side with hundreds of volunteers and numerous partners focused on improving wild trout habitat and restoring degraded stream channels. Restoring one stream at a time takes time, energy, money and patience. It is no easy task to lead an all-volunteer 800-member chapter. DTU volunteers managing efforts behind the scenes work just as hard as the frontline conservation volunteers rolling up their sleeves to plant and maintain thousands of native trees along streamside buffers or manage our tree nursery at Millport Conservancy.
With the increase in challenges presented by population growth, pressure on natural resources, and impaired waterways, DTU has expanded its local actions by actively engaging more volunteer support. Whether knocking on landowners’ or farmers’ doors, calling up elected officials or raising the alarm with conservation partners across the Chesapeake Bay, DTU keeps up the momentum for positive change.
For many early supporters of DTU’s efforts, the hook was a desire to fish in clean, coldwater streams teaming with wild trout, bonding with other anglers while casting a line. As new conservationists have stepped forward to join the efforts, many are also driven by a desire to inspire anglers and other community members to climate actions and coldwater conservation by strengthening personal ties to nature through experiences steeped in coldwater conservation. DTU values connecting people to angling opportunities, healthy streams and entire watersheds. Partners like the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, PA Department of Environmental Protection, Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, The Keith Campbell Foundation, Lancaster Clean Water Partners, and many others support our mission. Chapter leaders, members and volunteers serve to expand the Trout Unlimited community that has grown across the U.S. DTU looks forward to prioritizing work that will strengthen our chapter by inviting more women and people of color and mentoring future generations of conservationists. Members stand committed to exploring new strategies to empower the diverse Lancaster community we serve.
As we build on our success DTU’s future looks bright.