April 25, 2006
Raystown Ray TM
“We’ve known it’s been in there a while now,” admitted Managing Director of Raystown Lake Dwight Beall when he was asked his thoughts on this astonishing discovery. “It’s a private creature, but it comes out around this time of year. Call it Raystown’s own Punxatawny Phil.”
Call it what you will, but this is no ground hog swimming in the water. It seems that our favorite Pennsylvania lake may now have a mascot.
When asked his professional opinion, Jeff Krause, Wildlife Biologist at Raystown Lake submitted the following statement in writing: “I believe it must be a vegetarian. We have not seen any evidence of this animal taking fish, geese, otters, or ducks. So I would suggest that our swimmers and boaters are very safe. It appears this animal’s habits are similar to Manatees, which are completely herbivorous and gentle. The increase of weed beds around the lake is probably providing more food in the shallows for herbivores and that would increase sightings.” Krause concluded with, “Even if a visitor does not get a chance to see ‘Ray’ while at the lake, there is an excellent chance to see nesting Bald Eagles and recently re-introduced Osprey and River Otters, which were not present just a few years ago.”
It is a wonder how “Ray” has managed to stay submersed with nearly 2 million visitors frequenting the lake each year to fulfill their boating and other recreational activity needs. According to Raystown Lake staff, the lake spans about 30 miles and contains 8,300 acres of water. With depths of the lake being over 185 feet deep, the lake remains over 100 feet deep at Seven Points, which is 10 miles upstream from the dam. With numerous coves, submerged timber, and other structures there is plenty of room for “Ray” to hide.
Should there be reason for caution though? Beall notes that “Ray has been known to scare off 50 pound striped bass.” Hopefully this is not true for the anglers participating in this year’s fifth annual Stu Tinney Reunion Striper Tournament hosted by the Raystown Striper Club. Dates are May 13 and 14 with Mr. Tinney scheduled to be present this year for the event. For more information on the event, “Ray,” or the Wildlife at Raystown Lake visit the Raystown Lake Region’s Visitor Center.
About Raystown Lake Region
The Raystown Lake Region of The Alleghenies’ tourism services are provided by the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau located in the Raystown Lake Visitor Center. The Center is in the Seven Points Recreation area of Raystown Lake just 8 miles south of Huntingdon.
The mission of the bureau is to develop and implement strategic marketing initiatives, which will result in increased visitation to the region. Visitor Services specialists can be contacted at 1-888-Raystown or visit www.raystown.org