Angler's 'obsession' spills over to his volunteerism Sportsman works to protect fisheries CARROLL COUNTY VOLUNTEERS

Steve Barnhart of Finksburg volunteers with the Patapsco Valley chapter of Trout Unlimited, an organization with 80,000 members nationwide whose mission is to preserve and protect cold water fisheries.

Mr. Barnhart is a member of the group's board of directors and coordinator of its activities in the Morgan Run watershed.


He has been active in Project Access, an effort to develop a wheelchair-accessible fishing area at the Morgan Run Natural Environment Area. He is also spearheading efforts to convert an old barn at Morgan Run into a nature center.

Organization's comments: "He really cares about the environment, about keeping the streams clean and keeping the land clean," said Tim Feeser, secretary-treasurer of the Patapsco Valley branch of Trout Unlimited. "He's an avid hunter and fisherman."


He said Mr. Barnhart, who has a land surveying business with his wife, Debbie, did the surveying for Project Access.

Because Mr. Barnhart is familiar with building regulations, Mr. Feeser said, he has been able to help guide the site plan through a maze of government regulations.

"He's been out there several times with different state agencies reviewing the site plan," Mr. Feeser said.

Mr. Barnhart also gives fly-tying demonstrations and pitches in whenever the club sets up a public information booth.

When work needs to be done, Mr. Feeser said, "He's always there."

Volunteer's comments: "My wife and I both enjoy fly fishing," said Mr. Barnhart, adding that he has become "pretty fanatical" about it.

"It's gone from an interest, to a passion, to an obsession, to oblivion," he said.

He ties his own flies and has traveled to many of America's great trout streams, indications that his case of fishing fever is "kind of hopeless, now," he said.


Mr. Barnhart said Project Access plans include a platform that will allow anglers using wheelchairs to reach the stream and a pool.

It will also include a walkway and improvements to a parking lot.

"We're going to be constructing some stuff right in a wetland," he said, so care has been taken with the design, and the paperwork has been extensive.

For the nature center project, Mr. Barnhart said, the club is refurbishing the old Wachter barn, next to Morgan Run.

Members are installing new siding, a new roof and new windows. The club had a work day Oct. 23, and another yesterday.

Volunteer's background: Mr. Barnhart, 42, is vice president of the Friends of Greenway Gardens, a group working to preserve a 27-acre arboretum on Joe Branch, a tributary of Morgan Run.


Members of Trout Unlimited hope to use a pond at the arboretum to demonstrate fly-casting techniques. They also hope to use greenhouses at the facility to propagate plants to use to stabilize stream banks.

Mr. Barnhart is a past president of the Maryland Society of Surveyors.

His wife also serves on the board of directors of the Patapsco Valley chapter of Trout Unlimited.

To nominate someone as Volunteer of the Week, call 751-7900 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Nominations may

be faxed to the office at 751-7916.