Charlie Hutler of Easton is one of the “Seen ’em All Challenge” winners (those folks who filled their Pennsylvania State Parks and State Forests Passport with adventure) having wrapped up the original 121 with Keystone State Park in September 2021. He wrote in to share some of his thoughts on the many things to be seen and done. Read along!
The model plane field at Benjamin Rush was a surprise. Now drones can be flown too, but only at Beltzville, Benjamin Rush, Hillman, Lackawanna, Prompton, and Tuscarora state parks. Rules such as registration with the FFA must be followed. I had a nice time just watching, especially the big model planes.
Many parks allow horseback riding and you can even keep your horse overnight with you at Promised Land.
Class 4 white water rafting is a big draw at Ohiopyle but there’s also the natural water slide here at Meadow Run.
All terrain vehicles are allowed on some state forest land. If you have one, you might want to find the obscure Prouty Place State Park in the Susquehannock State Forest. If an ATV is too expensive, you can still get a rush on the many mountain bike trails. A highly rated one is in Yellow Creek State Park.
Need a smoother trail to bike? The Lehigh Gorge trail is 24 miles but you can break it up in sections. And while the Delaware Canal trail is 59 miles, it too has many parking areas along the way and several great local eating places to take a break.
I don’t like to travel in the snow so I’ll just say there’s plenty of winter activities to do. Things like sledding, ice skating, ice fishing, cross country skiing and Blue Knob, Laurel Mountain, and Big Pocono offer a full skiing experience. Of course there’s seasonal hunting too in many parks and nearby state forest land.
My favorite activities involve the water and our parks are water wonderlands. Even the smallest tend to have at least a creek running through them. Most parks have some kind of a fishing opportunity. I was pleased to see so many handicapped piers being used and it made me smile to see numerous parents teaching their kids to fish.
Boating is popular at the state parks but each park has its own motor restrictions so check first. Beltzville has a beautiful lake and it has a section for water skiing. Many state parks have water craft rentals, so get out in a canoe, kayak, or paddleboat.
Two times a year the quieter Ralph Stover park comes alive when a water release turns a tranquil stream into a white water torrent.
I like a trip to the ocean, but I especially like the lakes, and there’s so many beautiful lakes at our state parks. Shot from the dam, I picked the beach at Raymond Winter as a nice example.
When there’s no beach, the larger parks have pools. At 4 o’clock on a hot July day, I was drawn to the pool at Little Buffalo.
Ready to stay the night? There’s so much great camping at the state parks. For now I’ll mention the camping spots along the Kettle Creek Lake. Imagine catching dinner right out the camper door. For convenience, some camps have stores and it’s also nice when you have a campground host.
Well that’s a broad overview of the park activities. I hope I’ve energized you so you’ll get to a park and do something fun outdoors.
Some people have asked what Pennsylvania State Park I first visited. It was only recently that I found a picture of me, just out of college, going canoeing. It was at Memorial Lake State Park.
He has also posted a complete series of reviews and pictures of the PA State Parks on Google Maps. If you should see a review or photo by Charles H., just click on the name and all the reviews come up. Charlie reports that, “In three years there’s been over one million looks at the reviews and ten million views of the pictures.”