One of Jesse King’s dreams, when he started the LMFRF in 2002, was to have the Beavers Bend State Park Nature Center have an exhibit that talked about and explained the river. The LMF Trout Fishery has been integral to the State Park since the fishery’s inception in 1988. It is a major reason why the county sees over $25 million in yearly revenue and the Park had over 1.1 million visitors last year.
What Jesse wanted was a trout fish tank and some kind of video that would educate people about trout, the river, and all the work that goes into making a “natural” resource like this possible.
The old nature center was tiny and cramped and Jesse’s idea was all talk until it was announced that a new nature center was going to be built. By this time we had grown to a sizable group and our coffers were larger than we ever thought they would be. This is partly due to the ODWC’s apathy towards any type of aggressive improvements that need to be made. But that’s another story for another day.
The new nature center was completed mid-2014 and they were very excited and willing to have us get them a fish tank exhibit. What ended up happening is that the LMFRF purchased a 900-gallon 10′ X 4′ X 3′ aquarium that is now the highlight of the nature center. It was constructed and installed by Aquatic Design located in Plano, TX. The aquarium has two filters and two chillers to keep the water cold and clean. One chiller is a backup in case of a summer heat problem. It was also designed to have a current flow across the tank to mimic stream flows. The people at Aquatic Design were fantastic and have worked closely with Frank when he has had problems or questions.
We also have a hour of educational video that will be shown on a 40″ monitor next to the tank and Ranger Frank Griffith will be holding educational classes to teach children all about the trout stream and trout. The complete $27,000.00 exhibit should be up and running in time for the 2015 high season.