The town of Lansing recently earned a historic distinction from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
This past February, the Lansing Board of Aldermen sent a proposal to the Wildlife Resources Commission, requesting it be designated a “Mountain Heritage Trout Water City.” According to an email from board member Dylan Lightfoot, the town won approval from the Wildlife Resources Commission at the commission’s meeting on July 9.
The Mountain Heritage Trout Waters program is a cooperative effort between the Wildlife Resources Commission and local governments to encourage trout fishing as a heritage tourism activity in western North Carolina cities that are designated as “Mountain Heritage Trout Water” cities.
Lansing joins 11 other cities designated as such, including Bakersville, Burnsville, Dillsboro, Maggie Valley, Newland, Old fort, Spring Creek, Spruce Pine, Sylva, Waynesville and Sylva.
“The trout waters program was started by the state legislature in 2008,” Doug Besler, Mountain Region Fisheries Supervisor with the Wildlife Resources Commission, said. “It’s specifically designed for a community that has a trout stream in it or adjacent to it.”
In recent years, the Wildlife Resources Commission has opened up much of Big Horse Creek, which runs alongside downtown Lansing, for hatchery-supported trout fishing.
“The idea is to generate tourism to provide an inexpensive option for anglers who might not otherwise afford or necessarily need an annual license,” Besler said.’
The designation will allow tourists or locals to purchase a fishing license that is valid for three days and costs $5. The license permits the licensee to fish in hatchery-supported, delayed harvest waters only, however.
“Once they purchase it, it allows them to fish that section,” Besler said. “It’s an inexpensive license to fish at that location.”
Besler said that from an agency perspective, management of the waters won’t change because of the designation, and anyone who possesses any type of valid North Carolina fishing license can still fish those waters.
“We believe that by having this designation, it may improve tourism,” Besler said.
For more information on the Mountain Heritage Trout Waters Program, visit www.ncwildlife.org.
Alan Bulluck can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @albulluck.