Our mission: To inspire stewardship of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests.
I am choosing to flatter myself that a few readers out there might have missed me over the last two weeks. Timing was an issue. Being on the road for various reasons left me without sufficient time to be either witty or informative. Let's try to make up for it this week - at least we'll strive for informative!
The good news was that Bill and I got to spend a couple of nights in a Canoe Creek State Park cabin. We worked while we were there but it was a different kind of work than usual. With no internet access, we needed to plan a little bit ahead on projects that could be accomplished off-line and we did treat ourselves to lunch outside in the sunshine (you remember sunshine, right?) and, before we left, a walk on the beautiful Marsh Trail. This wheelchair accessible boardwalk was constructed with the help of the Friends of Canoe Creek and students from Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School (Cheers to the Golden Tigers). In fact, the students were to be out on the trail the following week to finish up an additional section of trail. It was definitely wet and I do hope they were able to get their work project completed. Absolutely lovely!
This week's masthead photo is a celebration of National Bike Month with a classic shot of the Youghiogheny River overlook along the Great Allegheny Passage in Ohiopyle State Park. Everyone who comes to this spot along the trail has to take this shot, and thanks to Thomas Sneddon who shared his version to the GAP (unofficial) Facebook page.
We hope you were able to take advantage of Bike to Work Day today - and that your commute was at least this pretty!
News of note
One of the reasons for being on the road last week was, of course, our annual awards banquet. Walking into the new venue at the Susquehanna Club and seeing the river through big picture windows sold us on the wisdom of choosing the location right away. The view was almost matched by the food and was surpassed only by the pride we felt in being able to salute the work of so many deserving people. DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn accepted the Cliff Jones Keystone Legacy Award with a tribute to Mr. Jones, her mentor. Those who knew Cliff nodded in agreement as she related the impact he had on her life and career and those of us who did not know him were left sad that we did not have that experience. The full text of her remarks can be found on the PA Environment Digest blog and perhaps you will find a little bit of magic in the reminiscence.
Photos of the winners can be found on our website with a click to the Gallery at the top right hand corner of the site.
DCNR's new Youth Ambassador program is now accepting applications for interested young folks to form a deep attachment to Chapman, Little Buffalo, Neshaminy, Point, or Tobyhanna state parks or Clear Creek, Forbes, Tiadaghton, or Weiser state forests. Ambassadors will have a unique opportunity through this pilot program to see just how these wonderful places operate and to, perhaps, find their way to a new career in public service. If you are (or know) a 14-year-old outdoor enthusiast, encourage him or her to visit the website and apply.
Speaking of Ohiopyle, check out the secret strategy for success of one of the park's whitewater rafting outfitters - the outdoors! Never let it be said that parks and forests are "just" for recreation. They are boons to business as well.
It's a big day for us tomorrow. Join us at 9:00 AM at Harrisburg Area Community College for the 5k Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community. Donate or raise $125 and you'll get a cool new PPFF bottle opener created by the students at St. Marys Area High School. (Cheers to the Flying Dutch.) Day-of registration available!
Unfortunately for her, Marci's still on the road (how did the May calendar get to be so very full?). Fortunately for her, this was her home away from home last night - a cozy little cabin at Worlds End State Park where the new Friends of Worlds End signed the paperwork to become officially official. There are a few board/officer slots open for this new chapter so please be in touch with us so we can hook you up with the group and see if there's a good fit. We can't guarantee you a night in this little bit of paradise but you'll be doing good work.
At work and play in the parks and forests
It might be, once again, a bit damp out there this weekend. But let's get out the raingear and the boots and just go for it!
With the George B. Stevenson Reservoir once again filled with water following a lengthy renovation project, the Sinnemahoning State Park pontoon boat tours are once again on the schedule and, like the reservoir, filling up. Check the calendar for Sundays in May through September for thrice-daily one-hour guided tours.
Volunteer opportunities are available: the Friends of Oil Creek will also be out on Sunday afternoon doing a little tidying up on the ski/hike trail; the Friends of Cook Forest are tackling garlic mustard.
The demise of the American Chestnut is a sad story that may yet have a happy ending. Find out more at Codorus State Park tomorrow morning with a Chestnut Walk program.
For volunteers, it's a Woodsy Owl Weekend at Pine Grove Furnace; hopefully you are already registered for lunch and camping. But if not, I am sure that your willing hands would be welcome at tomorrow morning's work.
Two of my favorite things team up tomorrow morning at Promised Land State Park for a Bike and Bird event. Volunteer on Sunday for the Great Lackawanna State Park Clean-up - I suspect that our new affiliate group (the Lackawanna State Park Trail Care Crew) will be on hand so go on out and say hello!
North and west is where you'll find the annual Presque Isle Festival of the Birds all weekend. For volunteers, Sunday sees the Foltz Schoolhouse Clean-Up with 3MJC (the Moraine/McConnells Mill/Jennings Commission friends group) at Jennings Environmental Education Center.
No matter what region of the commonwealth you want to visit, our website Events and the DCNR Calendar of Events are great sources for things to see and do. Bookmark them!
Picture of the week
Another surefire sign of warm weather to come. The docks at public launches at Moraine State Park are now in place and ready for your boating pleasure.
Take five for trivia
It was so long ago that it might be hard to remember not only a trivia answer but even our last trivia question. But I did once ask about Cook Forest State Park and its distinction of being a first in the history of our state parks and forests. What "first" is it? The first to be founded to protect a natural landmark - the park's old-growth forest.
But now comes the horrible news. The Longfellow Pine - the tallest white pine in the northeast at 183.74 feet - was brought down on May 4 by high winds. As I write this, Marci is heading to Cook Forest for the Friends' meeting on Thursday evening and I suspect we will have more photos. For now, there are no words.
Congratulations nevertheless to JBitz, friend of trees everywhere, our randomly selected trivia winner for truncated April.
We kick off May very late with one of the questions from the cards we've assembled and posted online for the 125th anniversary. I'll use one of them this week but I am not going to let you visit the webpage and find all my trivia secrets, am I. What famous poem supposedly had its inspiration at Trough Creek State Park?
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.
Come to the Capitol and help celebrate your state parks and forests.
But, oh. Big trees...
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.
Parks & Forests Foundation is a proud member of EarthShare and 1% for the Planet and is a Gold GuideStar Participant.
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