More than 100 attend Brunner Island 'warm waters' meeting
More than 100 fishermen, bird-watchers and community members who enjoyed spending time at the now-closed fishing area on Brunner Island packed into a room at the Conewago Inn on Saturday afternoon for a public meeting about the closure.
Organized by Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Ted Evgeniadis, the meeting's attendance showed the community's love for what is known locally as the "warm waters." Talen Energy closed access to Brunner Island in early November, posting "no trespass" signs at areas previously accessed by the public.
Local fishing guide David Neuman expressed his frustration with the closing of the boat launch that he's used for nearly 40 years but understands why Talen Energy closed the area.
"The is so much illegal activity that was going on there," Neuman said, that he can see why the company wouldn't want the liability.
State Rep. Keith Gillespie, R-Hellam Township, also was in attendance. He said that he, too, was told by Talen that liability concerns were the reason they shut down access.
But that concern isn't valid, according to Gillespie, because of a law passed in the general assembly a few years ago.
"If a fee is not charged and people can recreate on the land, they lose the ability to sue the property owner," he said.
For some in attendance, the warm waters area is one of the few places they can access as handicapped fishermen.
"It's the only place that is accessible for some of us to get into. It is so accessible for me, I can do it by myself," said Doug Anderson of East Manchester Township who added even though he's had brain surgery, he "lives to hunt and fish."
Bill Cornell of Wormleysburg, founder of the Susquehanna River School, wrapped things up by saying, "They (Talen) want the people of Pennsylvania to be good neighbors to them and allow them to utilize the river. We would like Talen to be good neighbors to those who own the river, the people of Pennsylvania, and to allow them to share in the use and enjoyment of that river."