I spent a day in the field late last week with Malcolm Crittendon of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection looking over stream restoration work at an undisclosed location in the central PA highlands. It was a pleasure and a privilege. I’d only expected a brief meeting with Malcolm at DEP headquarters but Malcolm had other ideas and the next thing I knew, he was unlocking a steel gate and we were headed up to the top of the Allegheny Front in my tiny car. Coming from Pittsburgh, I was also taking a step back in time here; vegetation was a few weeks behind Pittsburgh here.
We talked native trout – a lot. It’s always a pleasure for me to interact with folks who eat, sleep and breathe stream ecology and Malcolm was a fine example of this. I could write another book, or at least a bulky pamphlet from the contents of the day’s discussions. It’s always good to not only find convergence with thinkers in one’s own field but to also be set straight at times. I guess if you’re always agreeing on everything, no-one’s being exploratory in their thinking. That being said, Malcolm and I were of like mind on about 90 percent of the stream and trout dynamics we explored. And on the little sliver of differing opinions, I should probably just defer to Malcolm when it comes to the waters of Central PA – no one spends more time on the streams.
It was a fine day to be on top of the Allegheny Front, a good friend to spend the day with and a good day to be alive, overall.