Daily Dirt: Parkway Closed, PA Fracking Waste, Feel Good Fly Fishing

Your daily outdoor news bulletin for October 7, the day Arnold Schwarzenegger became Governator of California in 2003:

Blue Ridge Parkway Closed…

…but only a small section, and probably not for the reason you are thinking. No, the continuing government shutdown has not closed the Blue Ridge Parkway. Apparently, nature took care of it all on her own. The BRP is currently closed from Milepost 393 at Brevard Road to Milepost 389 at Hendersonville Road. This section is located outside of Asheville, North Carolina, is closed due to a road failure at the bridge that takes the BRP over I-26. Parkway officials say the road is undercut and that there was already a plan in place to do some minor repairs. The work is being done by the Federal Highway Administration – considered essential personnel – and is not shutdown related. Officials say they hope to have the repairs down in a couple of weeks. If you drive or ride the parkway on a regular basis, take note. This is another structural blow to the iconic parkway, having suffered a giant crack earlier in the year, and lingering budget cuts due to sequestration.

Click here to see a map of the closure and the available detours.

Radioactive Fracking Waste Found in PA Creek

Along with having a hilarious name, Blacklick Creek in western Pennsylvania has had a fairly long history of water quality issues. Located about an hour outside of Pittsburgh, and about an hour from some of PA’s most storied of storied trout streams, Blacklick Creek has undergone almost two decades of steady stream improvement efforts to counteract the effects of acid mine drainage. The creek was finally showing signs of life in 2011, with eight confirmed species of fish discovered. Well, we can now probably toss that out the window. A new study has found extremely high levels of radium in the creek, a naturally occurring isotope that is 3 million times more radioactive than uranium. The problem area is adjacent to and 200 yards downstream of the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility, which processes wastewater from fracking operations. The levels were so high, they exceeded the “U.S. management standards that would classify those sediments as toxic solid waste and require they be transported to a radioactive waste disposal facility.” YIKES. The facility even reduced the levels of radioactive materials in the fracking ‘liquid’ by up to 90 percent.


A Little Feel Good Fly Fishing News

With all the bad news flying around the Blue Ridge, sometimes it’s nice to highlight some of the good things that are going on. The Orvis fly fishing blog features one such story out of Atlanta, Georgia, although they toot their own horn a bit – and why not? They did partner with and hook the organization up with gear. The organization is Finding Inspiration Sharing Hope (FISH), and was founded in Atlanta in 2006 by Malik Wilder. Wilder’s father taught him to fish at a young age, and used fishing as a way to instill life lessons like patience, respect, and work ethic. Now, Wilder is trying to pass those lessons on to children from around Atlanta who may not have had access to fishing before. The program focuses on lessons that help both on the water, and in the classroom: respect, teamwork, safety, preparation, etc. It sounds like a great program.

For more information on FISH, inc., check out their website.

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