In an effort to make Inyo County’s recreational opportunities available for all, the Advocates for Access to Public Lands and the Bishop Lions Club recently completed an ADA accessible fishing deck at Rawson Pond No. 3.
While the deck is complete, AAPL and a handful of community volunteers are still working on rehabilitation projects at Buckley and Rawson ponds and, according to Project Coordinator and AAPL President Dick Noles, the fishery will not be in top shape for about a year.
Earlier this year, AAPL began an extensive pond rehabilitation project that included draining and removing a massive growth of tules from the ponds east of Bishop.
As those projects neared completion, Noles said he thought to himself that the ponds will never be complete until they are available to everyone.
With that in mind, Noles said he contacted Lefty Irwin of the Bishop Lions Club, who has been working to install dozens of ADA accessible ramps throughout the county.
When Irwin agreed to help build the deck, Noles said it was time to begin raising money and seeking donations for the deck’s construction.
“When we started going after funding, it was amazing,” Noles said. “I’m just really thrilled with the way people responded.”
The deck cost an estimated $7,200, but, thanks to donations of money and building materials, Noles said the cost was brought down to about $2,500.
“The credit for this really goes to Lefty (Irwin), the Lions Club and the volunteers,” Noles said.
About a dozen local businesses and just as many individuals volunteered to help out with the project in one way or another, Noles said. For a full list of volunteers and contributors, see the side bar below.
As the Lions and that group of volunteers worked on the handicap fishing deck, another group led by AAPL has been working since January to eliminate dense tule growth from the ponds to create deeper channels, more access from the bank and clear bodies of water on the ponds for anglers.
Once the ponds are cleared and refilled, AAPL will strategically place downed logs and other features to serve as spawning grounds for the fish.
Noles said that, upon completion of the project, the volunteer group will have bass, blue gill, crayfish and, later this summer, channel catfish planted in the ponds.
“We’re estimating that it will be about a year before that fishery is ready,” Noles said. While there will be fish in the ponds, Noles said that the volunteers would like to see anglers practice catch and release at the ponds for the next 12 months to ensure the new plants have an opportunity to spawn and thrive in the newly restored habitat before anglers start keeping their catches.
The team behind the Rawson Pond deck
The Advocates for Access to Public Lands recently teamed up with the Bishop Lions Club and a number of community volunteers to construct an ADA accessible fishing deck at Rawson Pond Number 3.
The project’s organizer, Dick Noles, said the community’s support for the project was beyond expectation, with dozens of volunteers coming forward to help with labor, fundraising and materials.
Those who helped support the project include:
Financial and Donated Materials Support
Boyd’s Fence, Brown’s Supply, Alpine Paint, Inyo County, Southern California Edison, California Waterfowl Association, Bishop Chapter, Advocates for Access to Public Lands, 711 Materials, Inc., Compton Hunting and Fishing Club, Inyo County Fish and Game Advisory Board and Bob Johnson
The Bishop Lions Club
Project Coordinator H.B. “Lefty” Irwin, Ray Miklaucic, Ron Lewis, Neil Vedder, Paul Bedell, Larry Cox and Bruce Kingsbury
Steve Yeager and Yeager Construction, David Noles, Kirk Nance, Jerry Gabriel, Kenny Miliei and Ryan Yeager