Frye: Less mowing and more grass this summer
By Bob Frye
Published: Sunday, June 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Coming this summer to an open space near you: weeds.
Get ready for it. If you like to fish or picnic, you might be doing it in or adjacent to higher-than-usual grass this summer.
In an effort to save money, a number of state agencies, including the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, are going to be cutting less grass on their properties in the future.
“My understanding is that where we've provided shoreline fishing, we're going to continue to maintain those areas. It's not going to impact fishing or access areas or parking lots,” Fish and Boat Commission spokesman Rick Levis said. “But we're going to be cutting less in places where we've maintained grassy areas as lawns.”
That's not all bad. High grass has benefits when it comes to lakes, said Patty Miller, director of the Jacobs Creek Watershed Association, which secured $64,000 in state grant money over the last few years to do bank stabilization work at Green Lick Lake in Fayette County.
“When we do stabilization work, we don't want to see much mowing right on the bank because that can undo much of your work,” Miller said. “Higher grass can actually help reduce erosion.”
Spending time and money maintaining a lawn where more natural woods and shrubs could grow is a waste of resources, added Tom Qualters, supervisor of the commission's southwest region office.
Let too much grass grow too tall and people notice, though.
Exhibit A is Green Lick. The 101-acre lake is owned by the commission. Fayette County, through an agreement, maintains the grounds around it as Jacobs Creek Park.
The county or its contractor has mowed the grass around the park's boat launch this year as always. The grass in the picnic area on the southeastern corner of the lake — where the watershed did its work — hadn't been cut all season until a week or so ago.
That area is popular with fishermen. The commission invested more than $50,000 — combining “staff time, equipment rentals and materials,” spokesman Tim Schaeffer said — in creating habitat structures to support fish populations in that section of the lake. Those structures also served to create near-shore fishing opportunities.
Yet until recently, reaching those areas meant wading through knee-high grass, from the edge of the parking lot and past two overgrown pavilions to the lake shore.
Anglers made it clear they weren't happy with that.
“Oh yeah, we've been getting some calls from people,” Qualters said. “Everyone's well aware of the doggone situation.”
The commission's Harrisburg headquarters office has fielded complaints, too, Levis said. The watershed association has as well.
Why it took so long for that grass to get cut, or what plans the county has moving forward, are unclear. Calls to the county maintenance office were not returned.
But it's clear anglers can expect more grass growing higher in places than in the past.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Outdoors notices: March 8
- Big trout key to Yough River stocking effort
- Frye: Many challenges for deer hunting
- Kids turning attention to archery in record numbers
- Outdoors notices: March 9