The positive influence and impact of FTTU’s Youth Education Director Drew Banas will carry on well into the future. After his untimely passing in March 2021, memorial contributions came pouring in to FTTU’s Drew Banas Memorial Youth Education Fund. Donations have topped $4,700. The fund is restricted in use for Youth Conservation Education and will be used for the chapter’s youth group, sponsoring area youth to attend the Rivers Conservation Camp and Trout in the Classroom equipment and field trips.
More than 200 kids have gone through the FTTU Youth Fly Fishing and Conservation Group that Drew founded in 2005. He also served on the board of the Rivers Conservation Camp held annually at Messiah College along Yellow Breeches Creek.
Drew was honored at the chapter’s May meeting with with memorials by friends and fellow FTTUer’s. Milt Claney presented a slide show of Drew and their days fishing and bird hunting – two of Drew’s passions. Milt was a good friend to Drew, getting him out fishing when his bum knee hindered his wading and stream access. Rod Cross had another slide show highlighting Drew’s work with the Rivers Camp and others celebrated Drew’s life with stories and memories.
Thanks to all who made contributions to the Youth Education Fund.
FTTU Treasurer Monty Murty of Laughlintown was presented with the Don Robb Award at the chapter’s May meeting at the Bear Rocks Community Center near Acme PA. The Don Robb Award is given in recognition of long term and outstanding service to the chapter. From chapter President to litter clean-ups Monty has done it all with FTTU. He has served multiple terms as chapter Treasurer and President. He was instrumental in starting the Trout in the Classroom program in the Forbes Trail Chapter area. He has spent countless hours with our Youth Education program, the fly fishing program for women, stream improvement projects on Mill Creek, organizing banquets and fundraisers and filing grant applications and annual reports. Most recently Monty has been putting in a lot of work with chapter President Larry Myers on organizing the Linn Run Watershed Conservation Plan as well as doing boots-on-the ground work there at Linn Run State Park. Monty has also been a great advocate for the chapter working with the media and doing numerous presentations promoting FTTU and cold water conservation.
In addition, he has served as Regional Vice President with The Pennsylvania Council of TU and on the National Leadership Council where he attended national meetings all over the country.
FTTU owes a great deal of gratitude to Monty Murty. Our chapter is thriving today due in large part to his dedication and hard work.
Don Robb (for whom the award is named) owned and operated a fly fishing shop in Ligonier for decades beginning in the 1920’s. Many local residents learned fly tying, rod building and how to fly fish from Don. He was one of the founders of Forbes Trail Trout Unlimited and is credited with naming the chapter. The Don Robb Award is the Chapter’s highest honor.
In conjunction with the Loyalhanna Watershed Association, FTTU celebrated Earth Day on Thursday, April 22, by holding a litter clean-up day on two sections of Loyalhanna Creek. The Latrobe crew worked from the 982 bridge to about 100 yards downstream of the Mission Road Bridge (Murphy’s Bridge) and collected 15 bags of trash and some large junk items. This area had not been done in quite some time. We had 4 (and a half!) volunteers work this area including Angela Schultheis, Everett Schultheis, Ron Miller, Ed Barger and Scott Minster.
The Ligonier volunteers worked from the 711 bridge to the Two Mile Run bridge and filled 9 trash bags along with some large junk items. This area was last done in 2019 since we had to cancel last year’s clean-up. The Ligonier crew consisted of Joe Billota, Milt Claney, Rod Cross, Monty Murty, Larry Myers and Bonnie Robinson.
The L.W.A. provided gloves and trash bags and Penn Dot will pick up the piles of trash. Thanks to all who participated!
Water sampling was done at the mouth of Rock Run on April 5.
Air Temperature: 55° F
Water Temperature: 46° F
Linn Run Gauge Height: 1.95
This month, Denny Hess conducted a training session on how to use the pH meter and do the alkalinity titration test.
Click here Rock Run pH Chart 2021 for the rundown on monthly test results for this year.
It is with regret that I inform you that one of our fellow members and leaders, Drew Banas, passed away recently. The link to his obituary is posted below. Drew was one of the most important and influential leaders in the history of Forbes Trail TU. He served as an officer and on the board of directors for nearly two decades. He was instrumental in the planning and implementation of stream improvement projects, helped with our veterans’ events, banquets and other chapter activities.
His crowning achievement though was the conservation and fly fishing youth group he founded in 2005 and ran until COVID temporarily halted it in 2020. More than 250 local kids learned about cold water conservation through fly fishing in Drew’s program over the years. The curriculum Drew developed received state-wide recognition and influenced other TU youth programs. Drew also served on the board of the Rivers Conservation & Fly Fishing Youth Camp.
Always eager to learn and share his knowledge, Drew started a weekly luncheon and fly tying roundtable that is popular with retirees and beginner fly tiers. Many have commented about Drew’s infectious enthusiasm and can-do attitude. In addition to his contributions to the chapter, Drew will be sorely missed as a friend and fishing companion.
In memory of Drew, and in honor of his youth education efforts, Forbes Trail has established the “Drew Banas Youth Education Memorial Fund”. Anyone wishing to make a donation can do so with a check made out to Forbes Trail TU with a note for the Fund. Send the donations to, Forbes Trail TU, P.O. Box 370, Youngstown, PA 15696. The donations received will be restricted to youth education activities and managed by our chapter. Donors will receive a written thank you letter. And a confirmation letter will be sent to Drew’s family. Online condolences may be shared at www.snydergreenfh.com.
“Neither rain nor snow nor dark of night…”, you know the saying. You may question their sanity, but the FTTU citizen scientists were out in the rain and snow and mist and fog to do our monthly water quality tests at the mouth of Rock Run. We visited two other Linn Run tributaries Grove Run and Quarry Run and took samples there as well. The flow in the watershed was healthy do to snow melt and rain which also stesses the alkalinity of the streams. Rock Run has the lowest alkalinity of the three, which is what led to out limestone treatment project there. Quarry Run, which is basically a large spring, has the best water quality of the three.
Air Temperature: 37° F
Linn Run Discharge: 19
Linn Run Gauge Height: 2.16
Water Temperature: 41.5° F
Water Temperature: 39.5°
Water Temperature: 40.5°
The Forbes Trail Chapter has a presence on YouTube thanks to Doug Yocabet who has established a channel for us. Check it out HERE.
You’ll find some videos of FTTUers explaining how they keep their gear on the stream. There’s videos on the chest pack, vest, and Richardson chest fly box.
You can also listen to a radio interview on the WCNS radio outdoors show from several years ago with then FTTU president Monty Murty. Monty Discusses FTTU activities such as youth education, Trout in the Classroom and conservation issues.
There is also a short video with Monty Murty describing one of Pennsylvania’s Special Places – The Laurel Highlands. You can view that HERE.
Forbes Trail Chapter TU invited Eric Harder as a guest presenter at one of its recent meetings. The link you see will take you to that presentation which was recorded on Zoom.
Many of us enjoy the Yough River and its tributaries for fishing, rafting, kayaking and boating. And of course many of you are familiar with the Yough River Trail, part of the Great Allegheny Passage that parallel’s the river from Confluence to McKeesport. The Yough River stretches from beyond Deep Creek Lake to where it enters the Monongahela River in McKeesport. It is 134 miles long and stretches through WV, MD and PA.
Eric Harder, AKA the “Youghiogheny Riverkeeper” with Mountain Watershed Association, discusses the Association’s advocacy, conservation, and outreach initiatives within the Laurel Highlands region. Specifically, Eric covers water quality concerns within the Yough Watershed and ways residents can help “Defend the Yough”!
Trout Unlimited works closely with watershed organizations like MWA across the Commonwealth and across the US to help preserve and restore our precious coldwater fisheries.
If your organization is interested in having Eric make a similar presentation, contact Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-455-4200 2#
You can view the entire meeting on Facebook FTTU Youghriverkeeper Meeting.