ESPYVILLE, Pa. -- The Pymatuning Lake Association, a volunteer group devoted to the stewardship of one of the nation’s most popular outdoor attractions, needs members. President Dewey Forsythe issued a call for volunteers to fill positions as officers, board members and hands-on workers for the association, which works to improve recreational opportunities at the lake that, at more than 17,000 acres, is the largest lake in Pennsylvania and one of the most visited. Since its formation in 1945 the PLA has devoted itself to the improvement of the lake, especially the spillway area that attracts some 500,000 visitors a year. Most are there to feed the eager hordes of carp – closely shadowed by hungry ducks that often walk on their backs – waiting for the treats of bread and pellets thrown to them by the visitors. That scene has become the basis for much of the local tourist industry, the New York Times wrote in a 2008 article: “Linesville’s motto is ‘Where the Ducks Walk on Fishes.’ The volunteer fire department and the regional sewer authority use logos of a duck standing on the back of a fish. The spillway’s concession stand sells T-shirts with a similar image.” The practice of feeding the fish, the Times reported, began “almost as soon as hundreds of men with shovels turned a former swamp and onion patch into the 17,000-acre lake in 1933 and the carp began massing near the spillway.” The Pymatuning Lake Association returns its membership revenues -- $10 for individuals, $25 for business – along with other donations to the lake in the form of habitat or improvement of various locations approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the association. Recent accomplishments include the provision of materials for the construction of Pavilion 13 on the southeast side of the Causeway, triple the size of its parking area, and extend its launch ramp; provide the rip rap on the north and south sides of the causeway; the construction of benches at the launch, in concert with the Jamestown Eagle Scout Program; and the purchase of materials for construction of 100 to 150 Porcupine Cribs to improve the fish habitat at locations around the lake each year. Members and volunteers from middle schools to seniors help the Ohio and Pennsylvania wildlife departments to build the cribs. In addition, the PLA provides an annual “2 Day Free Kids Fishing Derby,” which generally serves between 400 and 500 children plus their family members. There are Crappie and Walleye Tournaments which are also fundraisers “It is imperative that our local people get involved in this organization in order that it continues to operate,” Forsythe said. “The current officers and board members have been serving a long time and need help and replacement by interested and concerned adults who have a little time to give.”
Interested persons are invited to an open house on Thursday, April 12, at 7 p.m. at the association’s meeting place at the Espyville Community Center on Rt. 285. Membership applications are also available online at http://www.pymatuninglake.com/aboutpla.html.