Our Mission: Inspire Stewardship of
Pennsylvania's State Parks and Forests

It's a quiet week we report on today. Marci is off on a well-deserved vacation and Andreja's been wrangling truly off the wall demands and quandaries. Amanda's been pulling together the latest press from the legislative tours Marci did before she left, and Bookkeeper Debbie is keeping the books.

I got to spend some time earlier in the week with the hard-working and fun-loving folks of REI - first on Saturday with a contingent from the Pittsburgh stores building two tent platforms at the Route 653 shelter area of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail and then on Monday planting trees at Gallitzin State Forest with folks from the Bedford Distribution Center. They worked their butts off!

As you are reading this I'll be making my way back from meetings with the Friends of Canoe and Yellow Creeks and the photo contest has closed. I'll tally up the winners this weekend and will report on THAT next week. (You'll get the word sooner on the Facebook page).

The masthead is another of our Critics' Choice winners from this year. Entitled "Slipstream," this shot by Carol Giamario was taken at Nockamixon State Park and was the "Other Wildlife Sightings" selection. Delightful!

Pam Metzger
Membership Coordinator

News of Note

We've been hosting the annual photo contest, in one form or another, for four or five years and each year the process and philosophy evolves a bit. Last year we realized that in addition to gathering (and rewarding) beautiful photography, we bear a responsibility to make sure that the pictures in the contest show the values represented by our organization and an established "outdoor ethos." Those values are probably most easily expressed by the "Leave No Trace" principles which, boiled down to their very essence, advise us all to "take only memories and leave only footprints."

For that reason, this year we had to disqualify two photo entries which, especially when explained by the photographers who snapped the shots, appeared to be quite harmless. Fortunately, both Paula and Rose understood why we had to remove their photographs. It was Rose, in fact, who suggested my using her picture to illustrate "what not to do in the woods."

Rose Michels' photograph, entitled "Alien adventure?," shows a series of in-stream rock cairns. Rose was quick to point out that she and her hiking companions did NOT build the cairns and, in fact, when they returned a few weeks later they had been dismantled. She just thought they were cool-looking. I certainly can't blame her for finding them beautiful. Plenty of people have - and do! Any Google search on the subject will serve to confuse you utterly, and we have no wish to add to the debate of whether they are historically significant, art, metaphysical, vandalism, littering, or completely unimportant. In our microcosm of the outdoor world, they are simply not allowed - especially in a stream they have the potential to disrupt habitat and contribute to streambank erosion. So please don't do it.

Take only memories. Leave only footprints.

A photo by Paula Livingston is somewhat more problematic. Entered in the Dogs in the Outdoors category, her "Rocko visits the park" is pretty whimsical - even more so when you realize that Rocko IS Paula's pet! As she explains, her landlord won't let her have a dog so she has Rocko, whom she brings in, constructs and dismantles, and takes away whenever she pays a park visit, photographing him in various locations. Banning him was difficult for me as I did find him utterly adorable (especially with his required leash). But Paula understood the ultimate ruling that allowing him to compete in the contest might encourage others to take rocks from within the parks and build their own litter of puppies.

I thank both of these generous ladies for seeing the bigger picture and helping us to continually improve and refine the photo contest and spread our message of care and concern for the public lands that belong to all of us!

There are only a few more days to snap up your tickets for the Sam Lewis environmental education center fundraiser at Burning Bridge Tavern! If we do not sell a minimum of 30 tickets before the 23rd we will have no choice but to cancel the event and that would be a sad day indeed.

At Work and Play in the State Parks and Forests

If the rest of the fall could be as beautiful as this past week, I think we'd all be smiling. Smile a little more and get out there for some outdoor fun! (Please note as you glance through the DCNR Calendar of Events that a few parks are hosting National Public Lands Day events this weekend. NPLD is officially next Saturday but who can argue with getting a jump on the volunteering!)


Saturday and Sunday is the annual Fall Festival at KINZUA BRIDGE STATE PARK. There's nothing like a fall festival and this is one heck of a setting for one.

Saturday afternoon paddle on Shawnee Lake? Where do I sign? See below!

Woods Walk on a Paved Path at FRANCES SLOCUM STATE PARK is perfect for the strollers, wheelchairs, and briar-averse among us. Join in tomorrow morning. Join the Friends of Keystone at KEYSTONE STATE PARK for a Paddle Against Pollution clean up tomorrow beginning at 10:00. Clean-ups are always more fun from a boat!

The Second Annual Rothrock Trail Fest takes place on Sunday. If you didn't get a chance to register to participate in this great day of mountain biking and trail running, you can still BE THERE at Tussey Mountain as a volunteer. Get to know the Friends of Rothrock and find out how much fun you can have just getting dirty.

These and other fun events and fulfilling volunteer opportunities can be found on the PPFF events calendar and DCNR Calendar of Events. Bookmark them and you'll never miss the boat (or hike or festival).

Picture of the Week


Friendly photographer Larry Laird jumped right into the invitation of the new Friends of Trough Creek & Warriors Path to spell the word "Friends" in a creative way - with butterfly wings! You're invited to join in the photographic fun (and volunteer with this great new group).

A second Picture of the Week is also a testament to the power of Friends. Bill got to experience the joys of kayaking courtesy of the ADA kayak launch at Laurel Hill State Park and the more than able assistance of Educator Kim and Ranger Ashley. The smiling faces here tell the story of a beautiful morning - we cannot emphasize enough that you should not hesitate to set the wheelchair aside and give one of these launches a try. And park educators like Kim and Ashley are anxious to help you make it happen!

And remember, we are in the process of seeing a launch installed at Little Buffalo State Park. Help us make it happen with your donation to

Take Five for Trivia


Last week we went off-topic with a question about the RAMAC 305. Imagine it, the first computer with magnetic disk storage was shipped by IBM on September 13, 1956. And a mere 63 years later we use the darned things for everything from waking us up in the morning to telling us where to go and, if you're like me, there are days when you'd like to tell THEM where to go!

Let's get back outside with trivia this week. Resulting from several too-close encounters with the little buggers on the Great Allegheny Passage this week, we'll take a peek inside a chipmunk's den. How many species of chipmunk are there in the world, and how many of these are North American?

Send in your answer and we'll enter your correct response into our monthly prize drawing. All correct answers each week will go into the hat and at the end of the month we'll draw one lucky winner. The more correct answers you submit in a month (up to four or the occasional five depending on the month), the more chances you'll have to win.

In Closing


Happy First Day of Fall - September 22nd

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.

Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation (PPFF) is a proud member of Earth Share and 1% for the Planet and is a Gold GuideStar participant.

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