FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS
Our Mission: To Inspire Stewardship of Pennsylvania’s State Parks and Forests
Pup – Moraine State Park
Photo by April Chervick
Skunked again. Casting our gaze skyward yesterday morning in hopes of catching a glimpse of the annular solar eclipse produced nothing more than a fog bank. But our usual “skunking” when it comes to astronomical phenomena meant I had a theme for this week’s issue!
April Chervick’s little fox pup leads the way – the linked post includes some other “family photos” of the foxes, some great blue herons, and a few groundhogs. Everyone gets in on the act!
Those with access to a calendar might note that Saturday is National Get Outdoors Day and we’ll join the chorus encouraging everyone to take at LEAST a few moments to do just that – find some healthy, active outdoor fun. If you missed the presentation by Dr. Michael Suk at our salute to the COVID-19 Champions you can stay inside long enough to get caught up – I take special note of the fact that time outdoors boosts our natural immunity. It helps the “natural killer” cells that help us ward off viruses and bacteria AND they remain more active even 30 days after the outdoor time.
In this aftermath of a global pandemic and all that has meant to our health on every level, isn’t THAT reason enough to spend some time in the trees and the sun and the water?
There are also lots of “special days” coming up next week you can put to use with the family as the kids are now out of school and looking for things to do. Tuesday is Nature Photography Day, Wednesday International Waterfall Day, and Friday Go Fishing Day. Sounds like a ready-made agenda. Don’t worry – next Saturday is International Picnic Day. No agenda required!
As you know (especially if you have sought a reservation), the state park campgrounds are jam-packed. One of the things that makes camping so much fun is the evening campfire. Quite a few of our campground firewood “concessions” are operated by friends groups who, in turn, rely on volunteers to keep the sheds and bins stocked. The Friends of Pinchot have put out a call (and we suspect they are NOT alone in this need) for volunteers to help stack firewood. They have a log splitter but need to get the wood from Point A to Point B. They’re out every Monday through Thursday from 8:00 AM until noon and would take any hands any time. Contact Friends group Chair Terry Christopher at [email protected] if you can get involved.
Visit our News blog to read Marci’s comments submitted to the PA State System of Higher Education to a stated plan to eliminate the existing Recreation Management curriculum.
Thanks to the efforts of Olivia Fulton from Upper St. Clair High School (in raising the money and bringing the muscle), Olivia’s mom Corinna, family friend Jen, and Pat and Krystal from the park three redbuds and three dogwoods got into the ground at Raccoon Creek State Park before the heat wave took all their strength (and ours)!
Meanwhile at the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, THREE crews did trail work including stair repairs, tent pad construction, and alleviation of drainage issues. I daresay this was the largest crowd of Ridge Runners since the project began.
Facebook managed to lure me in this week with the work of two VERY different artists.
First up, Subpar Parks in which graphic designer Amber Share takes actual one-star Yelp reviews of national parks and turns them into art and hilariousness. You’ll be amazed at the things people say. Or not!
And on a completely (thankfully) different note, the Sanguine Shutter of Brittany Kershner and a loving and lovely combination of beautiful photography and literature, music, and poetry. Here, the downy woodpecker who, as observed by the Cheshire Cat, is among the few who can pull off the look of red eyes.
Pictures of the Week
I almost have to include a picture of the Brood X cicada, don’t I? Here’s Frank Skokoski’s specimen at Kings Gap Environmental Education Center.
This shot comes to us from Nockamixon State Park. It was taken last June but appears in a recent repost. And why not? Feel free to provide a DIY caption.
As Jeremiah Gadsby points out in his post, “with those eyes and those talons it’s no wonder the Osprey is the master of fishing.” This one is on the look-out for fish at M.K. Goddard State Park.
I know, I know. The visceral reaction that some of us have to the mere idea of a snake is duly noted. However. Take a moment. Breathe. Click to the original and I think you will agree that Jarren Uplinger not only captured a remarkable image but that the smooth green snake is, in fact, quite remarkably beautiful itself. Yep. My choice for the week’s jigsaw, too!
A Word from Our Partners
We got a news release from the Oil Region National Heritage Area of big doings there – all on April 24th. As Emily, their Communications Manager noted, there is “so much going on, it is literally taking place all at once!”
A ribbon-cutting for Oil Creek Memorial Landing just north of Oil City on Route 8 kicked off the morning. The park provides access to Oil Creek for fishing, launching kayaks, or just allowing folks of all ages to enjoy the water. Hikers and cyclists can get on the McClintock Trail, part of the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail, and travel north to Oil Creek State Park or south into Oil City (and the Allegheny River Trail beyond).
At the same time, down south in Foxburg, a groundbreaking was held for the Foxburg to Emlenton bike trail at the north side of the Foxburg Bridge. The Allegheny River Trail in Clarion County (ARTinCC) plans to develop both the bike trail connection of Foxburg to Emlenton and a small public park along the Allegheny River to be called the Fox-Hunt Park in honor of the Fox family who founded the area and the Hunt family who sold the property to ARTinCC.
Check out ARTinCC.org, the new Facebook Friends Group, and the ARTinCC Facebook page for all the latest developments and join the effort. This is a truly lovely stretch of trail and the possibility that Foxburg will at last be connected to Emlenton and the rest of the Allegheny River Trail makes the dream of an Erie to Pittsburgh Trail that little bit closer to reality.
Just a couple of hours later, a mile away in Emlenton, Borough officials announced adoption of a proclamation to create an Eco Corridor on the Allegheny River, the first of its kind along DCNR’s 2017 River of the Year. The Eco Corridor will focus on ecological issues, including biodiversity, habitat preservation, and the movement of species, and highlight the river environment’s importance to the community. This Eco Corridor designation will also help define the area as a focus of study for students and staff members of numerous universities.
Calendar of Events
Events are definitely in full swing and it was hard to pick just one thing to highlight from each region for next weekend. So be sure to peruse the calendar in full.
Volunteer Day (Route 915/Mountain House Road)
Saturday, 6/19 – 9:00 AM
Friends of Buchanan State Forest.
After a day of volunteering in the Buchanan SF, head on up to Whipple Dam State Park and celebrate the return of the Whipple Dam Summer Concert series sponsored by the Friends of Greenwood Furnace (Penn’s Roosevelt and Whipple Dam).
I caught a few people out with last week’s question seeking old growth in Pennsylvania state FORESTS. I got a number of answers for wonderful places in state PARKS but fewer in the Forests. So. Bald Eagle State Forest has several areas; Clear Creek State Forest has the Pine Run area; check out Anders Run at Cornplanter State Forest; several areas in Elk State Forest; visit the white birch at Marion Brooks Natural Area in the Moshannon State Forest; Rothrock State Forest boasts the Alan Seeger Natural Area’ though the site of the first state forest land purchase and extensively logged, the Sproul State Forest still boasts places where old growth can be found; the Forrest Dutlinger Natural Area of the Susquehannock State Forest is home to old growth; hug lots of old trees in the Tiadaghton State Forest; if a 1,300 year old huckleberry can be considered “old growth” then it’s time to head to Tuscarora State Forest where you can also see first hand the fight against devastation wrought by the woolly adelgid in the Hemlocks Natural Area; and check out Jakey Hollow in the Weiser State Forest.
Easier question this week: which is bigger – a rough green snake (yes, there is one) or our friend above, the smooth green snake?
Enter each week to increase your chances of a fabulous prize at the end of the month when I’ll draw one entry from all correct answers received during the month.
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.