Talking about fishing

This past Saturday my office joined with Riverfront North Partnership, fellow Rep. Mike Driscoll, and the Philadelphia 6th Councilmanic Office to help clean up Lardner’s Point Park on the Delaware River. It was a brisk, cold, early Spring day – the day the PA Fish & Boat Commission designated for the Trout Opener. We did our work in the morning, getting trash from short dumping together and cleaning the area so people can continue to enjoy it. Around about noon, we celebrated the opening of an art installation by Rebecca Shultz of Tacony LAB. The combination of the river’s natural beauty and Rebecca’s artistic grace was something that brought joy to all in attendance. We left our worries and concerns and complaints at the riverside. We simply savored the sweetness of the water, the light sting of the wind, and absorbed the river’s sights and sounds.

These are the moments that are the reason I requested appointment to the Fish & Game Committee. People deserve to have the river, the natural world, in their lives and at their fingertips.

The 177th has about four miles of the Delaware Riverfront and after re-districting we will have more than 6 miles. In my great-grandparents’ day, over a century ago, people had access to the river and its creeks and streams. They caught fish, like the prodigious sturgeon, caught in Frankford Creek near Thompson Street, pictured here.

Today, we have only a few spaces to access the water:  from Penn Treaty and Pulaski parks in the south to Frankford Boat Launch and Lardner’s Point in the north. I have advocated for, and look for to, the Riverfront Park in Bridesburg that should be coming in 2023. I have been working with PennDOT to have the planned extension of Delaware Avenue also include more miles of the Greenway Trail to give the river back to the community that lost it to industry almost 100 years ago.

The 6 miles of riverfront is an opportunity that we have not fully taken advantage of. One of my most important tasks as a representative is to be a facilitator for responsible development of the waterfront, increased public access, and remediation and protection of the natural resources of the riverfront. All of these elements need to combine to improve the quality of the lives of my neighbors. I know that industry long provided economic stability by providing jobs, but that may have come at a cost to public health. Today, as we look to expanding business at the Port of Philadelphia, we talk about making sure the cranes at Tioga Marine Terminal operate on clean electricity, rather than diesel. When that change comes it will improve economic capacity – through cheaper, more efficient operating expenses – along with environmental improvements though cleaner burning fuel. These are the kinds of projects we need, and I will work hard to make sure they happen.

The reward for this should be the enjoyment of larger and larger stretches of the Delaware River and its tributaries. I closed out my activities on Saturday, enjoying the trout opener in the furthest reaches of the 177th. After Fran Torres, my staffer who is always prepared, got me rigged up with waders and a rod, we went to the Pennypack and cast our lines as the sun went down. It was the best part of my week, and I figure for any angler, it was a good day even if (like us) they went home with nary a nibble on our lures and hooks. For me and Fran, it was successful unsuccessful day. At the end of the day I realized just how fortunate we had been to have two experiences with natural beauty in the same day.

With that, I hope everyone a good week and leave you with this fishing song from Woody Guthrie. Enjoy!