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Our Mission: Inspire Stewardship of Pennsylvania's State Parks and Forests
Kinzua Bridge State Park
Photo by Dallas Runser
If you were out there last weekend, you know that the entire state park system was inundated with people. I hardly even know what to say. The good news is people LOVE their state parks and missed being outside terribly. The bad news? Places like Ricketts Glen State Park reached capacity quickly and were closed for (as in the case of RGSP) three hours at a time.

We sincerely hope that this was just a perfect storm of pent-up demand and the arrival of a holiday weekend. Holiday weekends are always busy, no question about it. But here we are in strange times. Many of us are working remotely and everyone is trying to feel their way through what is appropriate and sensible. So. If you have flexibility in your schedule, can you time your visits for lesser-used parks and forests and weekdays? Can you adhere to the advice to stay closer to home where possible so that you aren't in the position of driving for several hours only to reach a park that has been closed because it's just too full?

Have you been watching PPFF Sarah's Seven Wonders of Pennsylvania's State Parks & Forests on our Facebook page? Today's is "bridges" and certainly the one in the masthead is a wonder, whether it's the way it used to be or its remains since the 2003 tornado. Dallas Runser's photo was a submission to the 2017 Parks & Forests Through the Seasons photo contest. Maybe you'll enter this year's contest? I think we should add a category for "Physical Distancing on Display!" As for the Wonders, give a click to the Videos tab on our page and see them all (and our Lunch & Learn series.)

Pam Metzger
Membership Coordinator
Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation

News of Note

Today's Lunch & Learn special guests are the big cheeses! As we wrap up State Parks & Forests Week, State Parks Director John Hallas and State Forester Ellen Shultzabarger are popping into the studio to catch us up on the latest developments and give us their perspective on our wonderful parks and forests. As ever, tune in at our Facebook page or YouTube channel

As we wrap up this special week, our coordinated philanthropy campaign also concludes (although you know the need for funding never really ends, does it?)  The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an unprecedented strain on nonprofit organizations across the globe as operations cease, buildings close, and events are postponed indefinitely. However, certain measures have been taken to provide individuals a tax incentive to continue supporting the nonprofits they align with during this difficult time.

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, individuals are permitted to deduct up to $300 of cash contributions to charitable organizations or churches if they are not claiming itemized deductions. For those who are claiming itemized deductions, the limitation on deducting charitable contributions has been suspended for 2020.

On behalf of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation, we humbly ask that you please consider taking advantage of this incentive by making a donation to the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation. If you can do so, give a click to the Parks & Forests Week support page.

Your support does great stuff like the transformation of the old concession stand at Samuel Lewis State Park into an environmental education classroom.

Now that staff is back at the park the work has resumed. Thanks to all our wonderful donors for making equally wonderful projects possible!

We continue to monitor the reopening efforts in parks and forests (and the interactive map on DCNR's website is the very best resource for determining precisely what facilities will be open in your target area). Uppermost in a lot of minds, we know, are beaches and pools. According to DCNR, effective June 6, all 58 state park beaches will be open to swimming. State park pools will remain closed through at least June 12, with most in designated Yellow and Green counties reopening June 13. Capacity at beaches and pools will be limited to 50 percent of the normal facility capacity and mitigation measures will be in place, including restricting visitor parking, controlling facility access, social distancing and the wearing of face masks when not in the water. All CDC guidance remains in effect. Full information can be found The most recent information on their phased reopening can be found in yesterday's press release from the Department (and on the interactive map as they are updated and opened).

Oh, boy! It's almost that time again. Lightning bugs, fireflies, June bugs. They are about to bring a smile to every face - thanks to the Friends of White Clay Creek Preserve for sharing this article from The Conversation about how they glow and what they're saying. 

And we do love a webcam around here. Check this one out from the folks at Pale Whale Canoe Fleet along the Clarion River at Cook Forest State Park. Just watch the Clarion go flowing by and wish you were there!

As May wraps up, so does National Bike Month. We have been hearing from various sources that bike sales are through the roof these days as the Truth Becomes Known - a bike seat is The Place to be! The folks at Trek are promoting #GoByBike to encourage all of us to replace one trip with a week and play along with the hashtag game. As they say, "There's never been a better time to ride." 

While the very fact that we have to DO graffiti removal is frustrating and head-scratching, it is nice to be able to announce a volunteer day! 
  • Wednesday, June 3 (rain date: Thursday, June 4) at 9:00 AM
  • Graffiti removal at two overlook vistas near Mifflinburg
  • Trash removal from the vistas
  • Trail clean-up
Wear long pants and long sleeves, and gloves if you have them. Unfortunately, we don't have a way to safely provide lunch for everyone as we usually would but we'll have granola bars and the like for snacks. Help us plan for the day by dropping me an email if you are interested in joining us! In return, I'll share our specific meeting location.

Pictures of the Week

This terrific shot of the original office at Tobyhanna State Park was prompted by the one I shared a few weeks ago of the Laurel Hill State Park office as it was being constructed by the CCC boys. Thanks to Jerry Miller for the photo. He says the building has since been moved down by the boat launch and is used for boat rentals now. Give a click to Jerry's 1968 original.
I bet your hair would look like that, too, if you had five babies to carry around. Common merganser hen at Cook Forest State Park by Stephen Spinda as shared to the Friends of Cook Forest's Facebook page. Say, "awwwww."
Friends groups do such great things - big and small. The Friends of Pine Grove Furnace bought hanging flower baskets for the park office's wrap around front porch (which is a lovely place anyway). Good job, FOPGF!
Definitely not a picture of THIS week but a vintage postcard featuring a quiet scenic drive in Buchanan State Forest. I can certainly remember taking Sunday drives with Mom and Dad or Mammaw and Pappaw when I was a wee tyke. 

Take Five for Trivia

Last week's question was a toughie as mentioned by reader Jo. But indeed the first purchase of state forest land was 7,500 acres in Clinton County in what is now the Sproul State Forest. I really do want to get up there to see the First Purchase Monument. That is a substantial rock for a substantial moment in time!

This week we'll stick with forest history - who are considered to be the Mother and Father of Pennsylvania's forests?

Send your answer to me and I'll enter you into the month's random drawing for a goodie from the prize closet if you answer correctly. Enter each week for more chances to win.

In Closing 

Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation (PPFF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization - contributions to which are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law. The official registration and financial information of PPFF may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling, toll-free within Pennsylvania, to 800.732.0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.
Copyright © 2020 | Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation | All rights reserved.

Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation
704 Lisburn Road | Suite 102 | Camp Hill, PA 17011 | 717.236.7644

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