Audubon To Host Guided Tour Of Kinzua Dam, National Fish Hatchery

The Audubon Community Nature Center will host a second tour of the Kinzua Dam and the Allegheny National Fish Hatchery on Saturday, Oct. 6. Some of the initial group are pictured with a banner held by tour organizer Nate Welker. Submitted photo

ALLEGHENY — Last spring the Audubon Community Nature Center presented an Audubon Exclusive: a guided tour of Kinzua Dam and the Allegheny National Fish Hatchery. The response was so great that a second tour was arranged for the same day. And still there was a waiting list.

Nate Welker, Audubon Community Nature Center board member and U.S. Forest Service fisheries biologist, the tour is being offered again on Saturday, Oct. 6.

Reservations are required by Friday, Sept. 28, but spaces are likely to fill up before then.

Guests will begin the day with a guided tour inside the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Allegheny National Fish Hatchery. Located at the base of USACE’s Kinzua Dam in Warren County, Pa., the hatchery is one of 11 National Fish Hatcheries working to restore, enhance and maintain heritage fisheries throughout the Northeast Region. The Allegheny Hatchery produces lake trout for restoration in Lakes Erie and Ontario.

Following the hatchery tour, the group will take a rare, scenic drive across the top of Kinzua Dam followed by a picnic lunch at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Center. Lunch is bring-your-own or a box lunch can be ordered when registering.

The afternoon tour is inside the heart of Kinzua Dam on the Allegheny River. One of the largest dams in the United States east of the Mississippi River, its 26,541-acre Allegheny Reservoir is up to 135 feet deep and extends 25 miles to the north, nearly to Salamanca. At the 3 p.m. completion of the guided tour of the dam, the group can explore the area. It is only a short walk to the base of the dam where one can experience a cooling mist or do some fishing. Then there will be a scenic drive east on Route 59 along the reservoir to the Jakes Rocks or Rim Rock Scenic Overlooks.

Those attending should dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Children ages nine and up are welcome when accompanied by an adult.

Because Kinzua Dam is a secure federal facility, pre-registration is required in order to secure clearance from the Army Corps of Engineers for admission. Adult visitors ages 18 and older must be U.S. citizens. To obtain clearance, each adult guest will need to provide their full name, date of birth, home address and driver’s license number upon registration. Children need only provide full name and date-of-birth.

The behind-the-scenes tour of Kinzua Dam and the Allegheny National Fish Hatchery is an Audubon Exclusive: a distinctive opportunity and unusual experience created to help fund programs at Audubon Community Nature Center.

The donation to attend is $45. Space is limited. Reservations are required by Friday, Sept. 28, and can be made online through the Programs page at auduboncnc.org.

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