State: Pond in Clinton County Can Stay for Now

WAYNE TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- What was supposed to be a small meeting between state and Wayne Township officials in Clinton County soon became a forum for the community as people learned about plans for the pond in Nature Park.

Officials gathered Tuesday morning at the Wayne Township Nature Park. They looked over the dams built to create a pond along a branch of McElhattan Creek.

The state has recently raised concerns about the dams and many people in the community fear the pond could be taken away.

After the agencies met at the pond in Nature Park, they came to the township building where they were going to meet Wayne Township officials for a private meeting, but that was not the case.

Community members showed up to ask questions and demand answers. They said the fishing pond is popular with children and people with disabilities.

"We think what you have in a different format could work and there are a lot of better ways for making that habitat not only environmentally better but also for the habitat to fish," said Dan Vilello, Pennsylvania DEP.

"We can still maintain that fishing area, that viewing area, and that area of relaxation for everybody out there to enjoy," said Tom Shervinskie, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

State officials say that the pond will stay for now and fishing can continue until a plan that meets state standards can be developed.

There's no timetable for when that will happen and no estimate for how much it will cost.

"As soon as any government of any type is involved in anything at all, it takes at least 50 years to get the issues resolved so we will all be dust under the bridge and part of the sediment before they finally figure out what we can and cannot do in our township," said McElhattan resident Shirley Moore.

"I understand the issues and I think it can be worked out but we all just have to stay cool and wait," said Elizabeth Zbegner.

A biologist with the Fish and Boat Commission said that the only immediate action it will take is to take some of the stock trout out of the pond so that they don't get mixed in with any wild trout in McElhattan Creek.

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