Duck and goose hunters who jump shoot White River‘s
west fork downstream from Paragon will have a new place to launch their
boats this year, thanks to the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
It is a new launch ramp on the northeast corner
of the bridge east of Paragon, and the DFW’s continuing Public Access program
that has been a program of the state organization for several years, but
that has gotten more attention in the last few years.
The Paragon launching ramp is one of seven added
to the program in the last year, says James Kershaw, supervisor of the
program. The six other new ramps are on the Ohio River at Charlestown State
Park; the Tippecanoe River at Germany Bridge County Park in Fulton County;
Missinewa River at Matthews in Grant County; Shipshewana Lake in Lagrange
County; Tippecanoe River southwest of Pulaski in the county of the same
name; and Shriner Lake in Whitley County.
The newest ramp is situated approximately 1.5
miles south of State Highway 67 on Paragon Road. The site was donated
to the division by the Burnett Family and will consist of a parking lot,
boat ramp, and a loading platform. The site will be free for public
use once construction is finished.
Although the construction of boat ramps has been
rather slow in the past, Kershaw says, changes in construction techniques
have made it possible to build ramps in substantially less time.
The site in Paragon was one of the first sites built in the South using
pre-fabricated ramps and a pre-fabricated ADA accessible vault. This
technique has been used in Northern Indiana for several years with a great
deal of success. As a result, the division was able to construct
this site in a fraction of the time.
The ramps were concrete poured at the sites previously,
but now poured elsewhere in eight-foot by 15-toot slabs, trucked to the
site, welded together, and bulldozed into the water.
“The Division of Fish & Wildlife’s public
access program was initiated in 1953 and strives to provide free access
to Indiana waters for anglers and boaters,” says Kershaw. “ The program
is part of a broader statewide access initiative. In addition to
acquiring, developing and maintaining sites, the division works with various
local, state and federal agencies to provide access to Indiana’s lakes
“To date, the program has funded portions of the
acquisition, development and maintenance of 366 public access sites; 211
sites are located in northern Indiana and 155 in southern Indiana.
The list of sites includes 115 on natural lakes; 89 on impoundments; 158
on rivers and 4 on Lake Michigan. In addition, the division operates
and maintains 21 public fishing areas. Fish and Wildlife’s public
access sites do not require a lake use permit,”
Funding for the public access program is derived
primarily from the sale of fishing and hunting licenses and from federal
aid through the Sport Fish Restoration Fund. This funding is generated
from federal excise taxes on motorboat fuel and fishing and boating equipment.
These funds are then distributed to the states according to the size of
the state and the number of fishing licenses sold. This is one of
the most effective “user-pay, user benefit” programs in the nation where
anglers and boaters provide the financial support for boating access, fisheries
management and related programs. The sale of senior fishing licenses in
future years will bring additional dollars to Indiana through this program.
The state pays for the acquisition, development and maintenance of access
sites upfront and then receives a 75 percent reimbursement from the federal
Kershaw says much work still remains. Indiana
has more than 21,000 miles of fishable rivers and streams, 452 natural
lakes and 580 impoundments. Free public access is not available or
is inadequate at many state-owned waters. Of the 452 natural lakes, less
than a third have free public access. Extensive development around the
natural lakes has sharply impacted the availability of land as well as
its cost. The goal to provide river access approximately every ten river
miles is often hampered by the lack of willing sellers as well as the lack
of public roads to the rivers in some rural areas.
dropping monickers of the “no-shows,” I hasten to report no progress in
last Thursday’s first study committee confab of the summer. Nor can I tell
you why the no-shows were that. Instead, I will tell you the names of the
four legislators who were present for the first meeting that was intended
to consider possible legislation for the upcoming session.
Legislators present were: Rep. Robert Bischoff,
Chair, Greendale, IN; Rep. Robert Cherry, Greenfield; Rep. Daniel Leonard,
Huntington, and Sen. James Lewis, Charlestown. Ther are eight legislators
on the group and five are needed for a quorum.
Later meetings of the group has been set for tentatively
for Sept. 11-2 at Falls of the Ohio State Park, and Oct. 2-3 at Brown County
The Summer Study Committee (of long standing),
you know, is a series of meetings held to give citizens (a few aliens)
the opportunity to air, and maybe have approved, measures for the full
legislature. It has worked well over the years.
anglers have called to report all kinds of little black worms, sores, skin
infestations, and other unsightly things about bluegills, but I always
say: “Forget ‘em . . . they won’t eat much.”
Randy Lang, a staff specialist for the DFW’s Fisheries
Section, confirms my thinking of many years. They are caused by parasites--or
maybe internal infections--and mild irritations will not be bad for humans
who cut away the infections and eat the rest.
Randy says there are lots of them; to pin the
disorders down might require microscopic study.
In any event, cold weather probably will take
care of it.