A truck arrived Monday afternoon at Fawcett Fields in Shaler bearing gifts for children younger than 12 that can't be opened until the state's trout season begins at 8 a.m. Saturday.
The delivery from Laurel Hill Trout Farm Inc. of Rockwood in Somerset County brought a variety of trout to the volunteers. They were waiting to stock Little Pine Creek, which runs along the park's soccer fields and walking trail at the bottom of a valley on McElheny Road.
Volunteers from the Penn's Woods West chapter of Trout Unlimited, Allison Park Sportsmen's Club and Shaler, which owns the park, carefully poured the trout from 5-gallon plastic buckets into the pools and eddies along the gently flowing creek.
The new children's fishing area along Little Pine Creek was prepared and stocked by the local chapter of Trout Unlimited.
Tom Walsh, conservation director for Penn's Woods West, said the plan to designate part of the creek to just children stemmed from a stream improvement project in the Pine Creek Watershed that began two years ago with $144,000 in grants from the Allegheny County Conservation District and Growing Greener.
The conservation district forms partnerships with groups like Trout Unlimited to promote and improve the county's natural resources. Growing Greener, part of the state department of environmental protection, provides grants for watershed restoration projects.
"The creek looked so beautiful after the improvement project," Mr. Walsh said. "We thought it was a shame there were no fish in it."
Penn's Woods West members approached Shaler about stocking the creek for children to learn to fish.
The commissioners unanimously approved the idea in February and provided signs for the site, marking Little Pine Creek in Fawcett Fields as a children's fishing area.
Parents and other adults who may not have fished since their own Huckleberry Finn days can dust off their gear, pack a lunch and take a kid or two to the park on Saturday, secure in the knowledge that members of the Allison Park Sportsmen's Club will be there to assist them.
Rich Simmen, president of the sportsmen's club, and Sam Bacco, secretary, were among the members placing the trout in the creek on Monday. They both said about 10 club members will be on hand throughout Saturday to help parents and adult friends tie and bait hooks for the young fishermen.
The 45-member club already joined with the local Trout Unlimited members on a stream beautification day Saturday. Altogether, 77 volunteers cleared litter and debris from the creek all the way to Burger King on Route 8 in Shaler.
The sportsmen's club has more than a decade of experience teaching kids to fish. Those who enjoy fishing on Saturday, or can't make it, can join the Allison Park club volunteers on May 11 at Rochester Grove in North Park for the Dan Wagner Memorial Kid's Fishing Day.
Named in honor of one of the club's founding members, the annual fishing event is for children ages 2 through 12 from 7 a.m. to noon.
Volunteers will help adults teach their youngsters how to fish, measure their catches until 11 a.m., award prizes to the participants and cap the morning with lunch.
"Adults don't need to have a fishing license to help their kids," Mr. Simmen said. Like opening day at Fawcett Fields, "It's all for the kids."
Rita Michel, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.