Local Self-Taught Artist Showcases His Works at Westmoreland Museum
Rod Cross, a director for Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited, was invited to display his art work and explain his hobby at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg. The event, Sunday, November 13, included a display of many of his past and recent art pieces.
Rod is multi-talented and puts many of his skills to work during TU events, including being the chapter’s go-to instructor for fly casting. But his passion is really in “whittling” which he proudly distinguishes from “carving” where the wood is held in a vice. Whittling involves holding the raw wood in his hand and using a small knife to produce the intricately designed final product.
Like many artists, Rod prefers the quiet of his wood shop to create his masterpieces with just music playing softly in the background. Many of his pieces take a full week of work, including as many as 20 coats of tung oil. The oil gives the wood a rich, glass like finish, penetrating the wood to help preserve it. Rod’s wife Judy was on hand to greet visitors and to share the stories behind the artwork.
Forbes Trail is blessed with so many talented members willing to give of their time and talents to help promote our mission of conserving our coldwater fisheries. But what’s more interesting sometimes is their backgrounds, and what to do in their spare time.
Many of Rod’s art pieces tell a story, including the source, and importance of the wood from which it is whittled. Following is Rod’s introduction to his story for visitors at the museum.
“My name is Rod Cross, and I am a self-taught wood carver, or more accurately, a “whittler”. I was taught to respect and use a knife as a tool, and later as an instrument to create my expression of Art.
My carvings reflect a passion in other areas of my life that bring me joy and satisfaction, as art should.
Trout fishing and conservation have led me to carve the flowing lines of the brook trout, and the carvings are donated to conservation fund-raising banquets.
Over the years the carvings that give me the most satisfaction are the simple cherry nativity scenes that I carve for one person, or a family each year. This gift of giving has given back to me the real meaning of the Christmas season.
And trout pins for hats or vests are carved and given to fishing friends, and a former President and First Lady.”
Cross grew up in North Huntingdon Township. His working career was in the industrial gas business, first driving a truck, then retiring as a Regional Operations Manager for the Northeast.
Yough Defense Party 11/17/22
The Mountain Watershed Association and Yough Riverkeeper will hold a Yough Defense Party on Thursday, November 17 from 2:00 – 10:00 pm at the Falls City Pub in Ohiopyle, PA
Join us for an evening of celebrating the Youghiogheny River
Live music, silent auction with outdoor gear and goods from local artisans, potluck dinner, and great company
Indoor and Outdoor space, we’ll be ready for cold weather with fire pits and an outdoor event tent!
WIN A KAYAK, DRY SUIT, OR ANOTHER OUTDOOR GEAR ITEM VALUED AT $1,500 OR LESS
Silent auctions end at 7pm and 8pm.
Door Tickets are $20.00
The door ticket gets you entry to the event, free food, one free drink ticket, and an entry for the door prize. There will be a Will Call list at the event with your name.
Tickets are available through the Mountain Watershed Association.
Raffle Ticket Sales Update
With less than a week to go until the drawing on November 17th, ticket sales have fallen short of last year. We will still make a nice profit of unrestricted funds for the chapters’ use and draw for at least 5 gift certificate prizes.
As of the deadline 11/12/22 we have sold 567 tickets.
Although the deadline for sales has passed, any stragglers still out in the mail will be collected and included in the raffle.
We will award one $250 gift certificate prize for every 100 tickets sold and donate 10% of our profits to the Westmoreland Food Bank.
Thank you and good luck to all who have purchased and/or sold tickets!
The drawing is November 17, 2022 at 6:00 pm, live on the FTTU Facebook page.
Rock Run Water Tests for November
Water quality tests for November:
Air Temperature: 42° F
Water Temperature: 47.5° F
Linn Run Gauge: 1.46
Linn Run Flow: 1.9 ft³/sec
A splash of rain brought water levels up a bit but alkalinity also went up. Maybe recent addition of limestone has helped.
TU Ladies Hook Into Fall Trout
Lady anglers from Penn’s Woods West and Forbes Trail Chapters of Trout Unlimited took advantage of the beautiful weather this past Saturday to do some fall trout fishing. The leaf colors were almost as magnificent as those on the hefty brook trout landed by Tara Easter. What made it extra special was Tara spent the day fishing with her mother, Bonnie Robinson who happens to be chair of the Membership Committee for Forbes Trail. The two TU chapters regularly partner on activities and events involving our lady members since sometimes neither chapter can round up a critical mass on its own. Through its Diversity Committees, TU works to create programs for entire families and community members who may not get many opportunities to try their hand at fly fishing. Penn’s Woods West organized this event and reach out to surrounding chapters. For once both the weather and trout cooperated!
FTTU Volunteers Help Treat Linn Run Hemlocks for Woolly Adelgid
Forbes Trail Trout Unlimited volunteers assisted DCNR staff treat trees in Linn Run State Park for the invasive and destructive insect, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA). The treatment was conducted on October 20 on trees near the stream. This is the second year DCNR has called on Ron Miller and his crew from Forbes Trail for assistance. Trees were treated with an insecticide, mixed by DCNR staff, and injected around the base of the tree by volunteers Denny Hess, Ron Miller, Larry Myers and Bill Somogyi. The systemic treatment is absorbed by the roots and travels through the tree to the needles being attacked by the bugs. Another option used by DCNR in other areas is a predator beetle called Laricobius nigrinus (Ln). The chemical treatment works short term and is effective for up to 5 years or more. The beetles take longer to develop an effective population and is more of a long term solution. HWA is a major concern to TU because it threatens the canopy that keeps the headwaters cool where wild trout reproduce.
Members! Check Your Mailboxes!
The 2022 “Autumn Special” Raffle mailing recently went out to FTTU members.
Inside you will find a letter from President Larry Myers, 10 raffle tickets and a return envelope for your convenience.
Thanks to your past help, FTTU has remained in good financial standing and we have been able to fund all of our activities.
Again this year, we are asking members to buy or sell tickets to raise unrestricted funds for the chapter.
Tickets are also available at Werry’s Provisions – 360 W. Overton Road, Scottdale, PA and PA Fly Co, 166 Three Mile Hill, Acme, PA.
The more tickets sold, the more prizes awarded. One $250 gift certificate for each 100 tickets sold!
Dozens of veterans spent Saturday relaxing, reminiscing and catching trout as part of the fourth annual Forbes Trail Trout Unlimited fishing event. This was the first time many of the veterans participated in this program. For others, it was time for reacquaintances. The purpose of the program is primarily to introduce veterans to fly fishing as a means to help heal the body and soul. But if using a fly rod is not comfortable, mentors assist the veterans using whatever fishing tackle they prefer. Some veterans have actually built their own fly rods and tied their own flies.
Navy veteran Ed Niehenke, attending his third annual event, explained “The real joy is the camaraderie of spending the day chatting with fellow vets, more so than catching fish.” But, that was offered as Ed was landing maybe his tenth fish of the day.
For retired Army First Sergeant, Cynthia Butlerperry, this was her first event and would like to see more lady veterans get involved with fishing. Cynthia enjoyed the day catching trout with her nephew, Navy veteran, Jeff Perry Jr. and friends. It had been many years since many of them had fished and they were savoring the experience.
Kingston Veterans Sportsmen Club, just east of Latrobe, was the event host and partner again this year. Keith Riffle, Club VP and President of the Veterans Committee recruited many of the veterans by visiting numerous VA medical centers, VFWs and American Legions. And he acquired food and drink donations from area merchants. A veteran himself, Keith explained, “We’re doing everything we can to make this a memorable day for the veterans! We’re going to do this up right!”
Other partners include Ken Sink Chapter Trout Unlimited, Project Healing Waters and Scout Troops 465 and 305. The Scouts, as in past events, prepared and served lunch for the crowd of over 100 veterans and volunteers. They also opened the event by posting colors and later had a flag pole dedication and flag retiring ceremony which the veterans appreciated. The new flag pole at the lake was an Eagle Scout project by Austin Painter, a Life Scout with Troop 305, and a senior at Derry Area High School.
The partner volunteers look forward to the annual event and enjoy the opportunity to, if even for just one day a year, be able to serve those who served their country. It was another successful and rewarding day on the water for all involved. Trout Unlimited salutes our veterans and thanks all of our partners and sponsors who made this all happen.
Young Ecologist Graduates Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp
Luke Sanner from New Stanton was one of 24 candidates selected for a one-week program, June 19-24, to learn coldwater conservation and fly fishing at Messiah University in Grantham, PA. Course studies included hydrology, geology, stream entomology and collection and identification of macroinvertebrates, aka…trout bugs. The in-classroom studies were completed on campus in Clark Hall. The fly fishing, stream ecology classes and stream remediation project were accomplished on the nearby famous Yellow Breeches Creek.
Luke, a member of Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited, is also an active 4-H member. Luke has volunteered his services to assist the Chapter in their development of a Coldwater Conservation Plan for Linn Run and with other TU activities and events. Luke made a PowerPoint presentation about his camp experience at the Chapter’s Annual Membership meeting on October 5. The Chapter has sponsored several campers over the years. This is one way that Trout Unlimited can help recruit and groom future coldwater conservationists to protect our streams and fisheries. We congratulate Luke on his completion of the program!
FTTU Recognizes Outstanding Volunteers at Annual Meeting
Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited held its annual membership meeting last evening at the Nimick Education Center in west Ligonier. The meeting included the election of Officers and Directors. Forbes Trail also used the event to recognize several outstanding members for their service. The Chapter has a selection of formal awards they present to TU members and other individuals and businesses from the community.
The Chapter recognizes businesses in the area that have worked closely with TU to support our mission. This year’s winner of the Ed Bordas Memorial Business Support Award is the new PA Fly Co tackle shop, owned and operated by TU Director, Doug Yocabet. The shop is located on top of three-mile hill east of Mt. Pleasant on Rt. 31. Doug has opened his shop for monthly Chapter meetings in the classroom portion of the facility. We have partnered with PA Fly Co on fly tying classes for ladies and youth, community events and special TU activities. It’s a great symbiotic relationship being able to support each other while we meet the needs of our members and the community.
Our Russ Mowry Memorial Silver Trout Award is reserved for individuals who have gone above and beyond in volunteering their time and talents. This year’s award goes to Ron Miller of Latrobe. Ron has volunteered an incredible amount of time working on the Chapter’s Coldwater Conservation Plan for Linn Run, assisting with stream conservation programs as well as fly tying and fly-fishing activities with area schools. He helps with our annual fishing event for military veterans and leads a group of volunteers to help Linn Run State Park and State Forest staff treat hemlock trees for the invasive Woolly Adelgid that is threatening our forest. Ron has raised the bar for all of us who volunteer our time pursuing TU’s mission in our communities.
We also saluted one of our members who has served the Chapter as a volunteer and officer for over two decades. Scott Minster from Latrobe has managed our web site, our newsletters, fundraisers and designed promotional materials for Chapter events. Our newsletters recently won an award and special recognition from PA TU Council thanks to Scott’s efforts. Scott’s pro bono services saves the Chapter thousands of dollars each year. And while Scott records the minutes of every meeting, he still finds time to volunteer his services on our Linn Run studies, annual military fishing event and other community activities. To recognize his special service, Scott was presented with a Life Membership in Trout Unlimited which includes his choice of a high-quality fly rod.
It is our chapter’s pleasure to recognize exceptional performances!