We Had a Record Number of Kids for Free Fishing Day at Dutch Fork Lake!

Posted Jun 6, 2023, by Alex Downing

Our third annual Free Kids Fishing Day at Dutch Fork Lake on Sunday, May 28th was a huge success! We had about 120 attendees – including 70 kids – and handed out free fishing poles, bait, and lures to kids ages 3 to 17.

“It’s been so great to see this event grow from a dozen or so kids to the type of community event it is today in just three years,” said Nick Hood, CCJ’s Senior Organizer who has been involved with the event since its inception in 2021.

Attendees enjoyed free hot dogs and other snacks, won fun prizes at the Ducky Matching Game, explored the park, and talked to staff and volunteers from CCJ and Buffalo Creek Watershed Association about why Dutch Fork Lake is worth protecting.

Thanks to our many amazing volunteers who came out to help register attendees, string and bait poles, cook hot dogs, help kids fish, and everything in between! And a special thank you to Cross Creek Bait Shop for donating all of the bait that was used at the event.

The amazing turnout is yet another reminder of the importance and popularity of Dutch Fork Lake and water recreation in Washington County. That’s why CCJ and BCWA are dedicated to protecting the lake from mining company Tunnel Ridge’s efforts to expand its longwall mining operations to land near the lake and its feeder streams. Residents young and old deserve to enjoy the region’s recreational assets without the fear of industry activity damaging them. We have seen firsthand that mining under lakes in southwestern Pennsylvania can have disastrous outcomes – Duke Lake in Ryerson Station State Park was permanently lost to Consol’s longwall mining in 2005.

Join us in calling for the Department of Environmental Protection and Tunnel Ridge to take all necessary measures to ensure that Dutch Fork Lake and the headwaters are not impacted by coal mining. Sign the Protect Dutch Fork Lake petition here and learn more about our work to preserve the lake at www.protectdutchforklake.org

Also, be sure to register to attend our upcoming DRYerson Festival at Ryerson Station State Park on June 24th, where we will celebrate the park and remember the loss of its only lake. Registration is open here:

Register for DRYerson



  • Alex Downing

    Alex Downing is the Digital Communications Strategist for CCJ. He was previously our Communications Associate and an Outreach Fellow. He manages all of our social media and writes our monthly newsletter, the Coalfield Review. Alex was born and raised in Pittsburgh's north suburbs and learned about the importance of nature and conservation at a young age through his father and grandfather’s involvement with preserving parks and hiking trails in the area. He has a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Strategic Communications from American University and a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from Point Park University. Alex currently lives in Bethesda, Maryland with his partner Lindsey. Outside of work, he enjoys kayaking, watching movies, and rooting for the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates. Contact Alex at alex@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org.

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