Pennsylvania’s Valley Creek, in the Valley Forge National Historic Park, is featured in a new video from Trout Unlimited and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. The short video — the fourth in a series — highlights the crucial role the Keystone Fund has played in preserving the natural areas so valued by Pennsylvania’s hunters, anglers and conservationists.
By Emily Baldauff
Less than 20 miles from Philadelphia lies the confluence of Valley Creek and the Schuylkill River in the heart of a historic area not only for our state but our nation — Valley Forge National Historical Park.
Imagine wading in this class A wild trout stream preparing to cast your first dry fly, when you find the perfect riffle or run. As you take in the scenery it is humbling to think that 243 years ago this surrounding property was home to George Washington and the Continental Army as they struggled through brutal winter. The blood and tears washed away in this creek back in 1778 cannot be forgotten, and sadly, those were not the last challenging days for this watershed.
Over the past two centuries, urbanization has taken over and increased stormwater management threats have crept into the watershed.
Decades leading up to the 1990s brought pollution impacts threatening the water quality, fish habitat and recreational value of Valley Creek nearly to the point of no return.
Restitution for human impacts were finally made through combined efforts from conservation, land protection and land planning groups such as the Valley Forge Trout Unlimited Chapter, which was able to utilize state funds such as the Keystone Fund and Environmental Stewardship Fund, among other dedicated conservation dollars, to begin to restore this historic creek and watershed.
After years of restoration efforts Valley Creek was designated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection as an Exceptional Value Stream in 1993.
Because of this designation, this class A wild trout stream has been protected for the past 28 years by guidelines that are intended to protect the stream and its surrounding wetlands from potential development activities and the stormwater runoff that comes along with it.
The newest video from Trout Unlimited and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership shows Valley Creek in all its excellence — excellence due to dedicated state conservation funds like the Keystone Fund.
In the film, we are reminded that the preservation of waters like these should not be taken lightly, and persistent funding for conservation projects is vital to the survival of natural places, especially with the threats caused by the continued urbanization of Pennsylvania.