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Piers allow people with handicaps to fish popular trout stream

EL PASO--About 80 people--members of the Eau Galle-Rush River Sportsman's Club and their guests--gathered June 13 to dedicate a three-pier handicapped-accessible area along the Rush River.

The land, over 140 acres in the Town of El Paso, was donated to the sportsman's club last year by the trustees of the estate of Herbert P. Koch, formerly of Hastings, Minn.

Along with the property donation came a check for $2,500 to help develop a handicapped-accessible fishing area along the trout stream.

Development of the area cost about $9,000, said Sportsman's Club President Arby Linder. The Isaac Walton League contributed $3,000 and one of the piers was donated. Saturday, the Koch family presented the club with another check for $2,500.

Linder said much of the material was either donated or provided at a discounted price and volunteers held work days at the site.

While the property, known as "Koch Family Lands," is owned by the sportsman's club, it's often used by other fishermen, horseback riders, hikers and people walking their dogs, said Linder.

Koch Family Lands are located along the Rush River about a mile south of the community of El Paso.

Herbert P. Koch, who died four years ago, bought the land more than 30 years ago, intending to build a house there for his mother, according to his family. As time went by, plans changed and the house was never built. Koch decided to protect the land from development.

Koch, known as "Uncle Bud," never married and had no children, leaving nieces and nephews to carry on his legacy.

The handicapped fishing area is named for family member Katie Nevin of Bangor.