Baumholder beckons people to the great outdoors
European edition, Tuesday, August 7, 2007
BAUMHOLDER, Germany — Brennan Hall, 10, is no rookie when it comes to casting a line and reeling in the fish.
“I’ve been fishing since I was 5,” Hall declared.
On Monday, she got the chance to test her skills at a man-made lake in Baumholder. The Army community can fish for trout there as part of the local outdoor recreation program.
She was the only one who caught a fish.
“It was a little one; I threw him back,” Hall said.
Hall was among the summer campers who cast corn-baited hooks at the pond, which is leased and stocked by the Army and about three miles from post.
The fishing program is just one of the fairly new offerings that have helped increase interest and participation in Baumholder Outdoor Recreation, according to program director Werner Graf.
Within the last two years, the Baumholder program has added fishing, a new paintball complex, and a new office where visitors can sit down for a meal and shop for an array of sporting equipment, Graf said. Several new staff members also have been added.
“Now we’ve got a whole operation going,” Graf said.
While outdoor recreation programs aren’t designed to be moneymakers, it’s becoming increasingly important to develop programs that are more self-sustaining, according to Installation Management Command.
Budgets are becoming tighter as more funds are used for “bullets and armor,” said John O’Sullivan, IMCOM’s recreation program manager in Europe.
“We have to rely on the business to pay for itself more. With all the splitting up and dividing of funds, by the time you get to our littler operation there’s not a whole lot left,” O’Sullivan said.
And in the case of Baumholder, that has been particularly true.
“Baumholder wasn’t getting a big piece of the pie for a long time and they are now getting more support. It’s very good for the people in Baumholder,” O’Sullivan said.
In Baumholder, the big money maker is paintball. On a given weekend — the busiest time — up to $5,000 in revenue can be generated, Graf said.
A Web site, www.baumholderpaintball.com, which is unaffiliated with the Army, has sprung up to sing the praises of the facility.
“We’ve got one of the only wooden fields in Europe. We are out in a natural environment. It’s almost like the real thing,” Graf said. “People come from all over — Kaiserslautern, Wiesbaden — to play here.”
In 2006, outdoor recreation in Europe received $1.6 million in appropriated fund support and generated $2.6 million in revenue, according to O’Sullivan. Expenses totaled $3.5 million.
In Baumholder, trout fishing is starting to catch on, according to Graf. No German fishing license is required, he said. Anglers must take a three-day course to land such a license.
Nonetheless, outdoor recreation offers a certification program to get the license for those wanting to venture beyond the man-made pond.
About every three months the pond is stocked with 50 kilograms worth of pan-sized trout, Graf said.
Permits cost $10 for a catch limit of three trout and $15 for five.
“Not a bad way to spend the day,” Graf said.