Site offers catch-and-release fishing for handicapped anglers and youth
Fishing enthusiasts, conservationists and government organizations recently combined efforts to complete a major renovation project on Baxter County’s Dry Run Creek.
Improvements included stabilizing the creek’s banks, stabilizing large step rocks on the upper creek, clearing away trees and brush and maintenance work on the creek’s handicap walkway, decks and railing.
Dry Run Creek sits adjacent to the Norfork National Fish Hatchery and is a catch-and-release stream open to mobility-impaired anglers and children under the age of 16. The creek starts at the hatchery and runs about three-quarters of a mile until it empties into the North Fork River.
A construction project completed in 2010 added specially designed walkways, ramps and fishing platforms to offer easier creek access for handicapped anglers.
Tom Emerick, a Trout Unlimited life member active with Arkansas Trout Unlimited White River Chapter 698 and a volunteer with the North Arkansas Fly Fishers, Friends of the North Fork and White Rivers, Friends of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Norfork National Fish Hatchery and the Arkansas Game & Fish, first began planning the most recent Dry Run Creek improvements in 2018.
“Dry Run Creek is a world-class fishery for youth and handicapped adults, and we are all thankful and proud to have contributed to these improvements,” said Steve Blumreich, president of the Friends of the North Fork and White Rivers and a member of the Trout Unlimited White River Chapter and the North Arkansas Fly Fishers.
The most recent improvements were funded by $5,000 in donations from the North Arkansas Fly Fishers, Arkansas Trout Unlimited White River Chapter 698, Friends of the North Fork and White Rivers and Friends of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. In-kind contributions for the project came from the Arkansas Game & Fish, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Hatchery employees and volunteers.
“Please visit Dry Run Creek to see the wonderful work and thank the volunteers and organizations that contributed money, in-kind services and the physical work needed to complete the project,” Blumreich said.
As part of the project, workers stabilized the bank above where the hatchery’s water enters the creek. That bank stabilization will reduce the sediment runoff from heavy rains, which create turbidity and reduces the amount of dissolved oxygen found in Dry Run Creek and the North Fork.
Tim Burnley and Eli Powers with AGFC managed the project, which stabilized about 80 feet of the bank where most of the erosion occurs. About 100 tons of rock was used to shore up the creek bank.
Brush clearing was done by inmates from the North Central Unit of the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Large tree cutting was handled by an area tree service with oversight by Emerick, Blumreich and Norfork National Fish Hatchery manager Jon Casey.
Roger Cannady, a volunteer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Emerick replaced rotten boards on the creek’s wooden decks and installed Trex composite railing on the upper walkway.
Power washing and painting the creek’s deck and railings was done by a group of volunteers that included Emerick, Blumreich, Mike Jirka, Gary Flippin, Danny Sabo, Mike Enger and Ron Hulstein.
“A special thanks is owed to Ron Hulstein for coordinating help from the men of Care Center Ministries to complete a significant amount of the painting,” Blumreich said.
Read or Share this story: https://www.baxterbulletin.com/story/news/local/2019/11/24/improvements-made-dry-run-creek/4284130002/