Tree recycling off to slow start

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By last Friday only a handful of live Christmas trees had been left at the recycling point near the bunker at Lake Willastein’s boat ramp. There is no attendent working there. Residents are asked to just add their tree, free of any ornaments or ornamentation to the pile. Five trees were at the site on Friday. Bill Lawson photo

By last Friday only five live Christmas trees were stacked at the recycling point at Lake Willastein. The trees will be placed in the lake to give fish a chance to have a good habitat.

That’s not unusual for just a few days after Christmas, organizers said. Many people wait until after New Year’s day to take down their tree.

The trees will be placed near fishing areas near the fishing docks and shore to benefit those who fish at the lake.

Unlike Lake Valencia which is stocked with fish about four times a year by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

This is the first time such a recycling program for live Christmas Trees has been established at Lake Willastein.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department in conjunction with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission choose a location at Lake Willastein where live trees can be brought that will later be placed in the lake to enhance fishing habitats.

The location is at Lake Willastein where the public can recycle the live Christmas trees. The drop off location is in front of the World War II bunker, adjacent to the boat ramp parking lot and just south of the Veterans Memorial.

The public can drop trees off any time after Christmas and through the month of January. This is a chance to recycle your Christmas tree, and to help improve fishing.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission recently conducted an electrofishing assessment of the lake, and found that the sportfish population was in good shape, including both good numbers and sizes of large mouth bass and sunfish.

Benjamin G. Batten, the commission’s Program Coordinator – Family and Community Fishing Program, said, “One thing that we believe could help improve the fishery is the addition of some fish habitat. The vast majority of the middle of the lake does not have a lot of structure or cover, and adding clusters of Christmas trees will help concentrate the fish, which should also help to increase angler catch rates.”

He said, “These Christmas trees help to give small fish a chance to hide from larger fish, and for larger fish to have a source of food and shelter. Wise anglers can then capitalize by focusing their fishing efforts on these heavily fish concentrated areas. We will make somewhere between 5-10 large brush piles which will be marked by orange “fish attractor” buoys.”

Batten said this project is a cooperative project between Maumelle Parks and Recreation, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and Hunter Almond, a Maumelle student who recently participated in AGFC’s Youth Conservation Institute. For more information, call 680-7272.

The only time fish are added to Lake Willastein, Batten said, is for the youth fishing tournament and then a dam is placed under the walk across bridge to keep the fish in the north end of the lake.

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