Our mission: To inspire stewardship of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests.

Pretty much sure that we don't know which end is up at this point, so we're just not even going to talk about the weather today. 

We had excitement in our household this week, with two black-crowned night herons on the neighbor's dock, a very healthy little brown bat hanging on the sunporch, and an honest-to-goodness pearl in Bill's oyster po' boy sandwich all in one day. He was convinced we should buy lottery tickets. But I figured it just kind of made up for the fact that last week's supposed full moon/lunar eclipse/comet extravaganza was a big nothing!

You win some and others you don't.

Pam Metzger
Membership Coordinator

News of note


Have you been up to the state capitol yet to see the 2016 Parks & Forests Through the Seasons photo gallery showcase? It's there through the end of the month but you know how that goes - about the time you think you have a minute to do it, the month's over! So don't procrastinate - the photos are, of course, wonderful and there's the added bonus of the winning posters from our middle school anti-graffiti campaign. The kids were deservedly proud of their achievements!

Speaking of photo contests, the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership has just launched the 6th year for their competition. With Treasured Towns, Treasured Landscapes, Susquehanna Adventures, and Youth Under 18 for your entries, you have a completely different set of circumstances from our contest under which to submit photographs. Think of all the outdoor fun you can have with your camera!

The Spring issue of our print newsletter, Penn's Stewards, is at the printer and features the first of our themed lead articles for the year - all about the bridges of Pennsylvania's state parks and forests. The masthead photo was one of several nice shots by Barry Pounder of the Friends of Nolde Forest of the Boulevard Trail at Nolde. They arrived a little too late for the printing press so I'm happy to snag one for our masthead. Thank you, Barry!

Don't forget - registration is underway for the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community and your chance to snag our first (the first of several) incentive prizes is on the clock now. Register to walk before 2/24 and we'll enter your name into a drawing for an autographed copy of Michael Gadomski's Reserves of Strength, a really lovely book focusing on Pennsylvania's wild and natural areas. If you've been reading a while, you will have seen some of Michael's great photographs in Take Five. It's just another great reason to sign up and join us for this fun 5k!

At work and play in the parks and forests


The fun is there. Get at it!

Pennsylvania Wilds

How about a Snowman in the Forest? Cook Forest, that is. Tomorrow!


Will there be a better chance for cold and snow at Presque Isle than elsewhere in Pennsylvania? Find out tomorrow with Presque Isle Snow Day.


The best time to find out about skunk cabbage is when it's not blooming - so Sunday at Kings Gap Environmental Education Center take a short hike from the Pine Plantation Parking Area and find out more.


It's a birthday party for George Washington! He's 285 years young and you are invited to our newest state park to celebrate. Washington Crossing State Historic Park - on Sunday.


Hmmm. So the Laurel Highlands Winter Weekend at Penn Scenic View at Laurel Hill is now reduced to the Laurel Highlands Winter Day tomorrow. Because someone is not doing their snow dance! It will still be fun, because the setting is still very special indeed.

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


Part of the fun of doing this weekly missive is casting about for good photographs since readers do really seem to enjoy them. And every once in a while the "picture of the week" just has to be one from some week other than the one we're in. Such is the case with this lovely shot from Gifford Pinchot State Park from last September. Missed it then; can't miss it now! Click to the original, please!

The inside track


Thanks to Ted Massa, a dear friend - of mine, of PPFF's, and of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail (the LHHT) - the Inside Track makes a comeback this week. He shared a great story and two great photographs a couple of weeks ago and I let them languish far too long. And, well, I'll let him tell you the story!

As you are probably aware, in addition to "adopting" a section of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, our running group - we call ourselves the BOI's Club "Bordering On Insanity" - is on the trail most Saturday mornings and sometimes on weekdays as well. We always take the time to clear brush and limbs, carry a hand saw to remove larger obstacles, and report to Mike Mumau [Laurel Hill State Park Complex manager] anything that requires a chain saw or other maintenance issues.

I have been running on the trail since 1980 and some other members of the group have been running there for over 20 years. Being an engineer, I have kept track of my running mileage and, on the trail, can tell you the distance and the location for each run. Last Wednesday, January 25, I completed my 7,000th mile on the LHHT - the equivalent of 100 end-to-end runs. (My three 70 mile races are of course part of that total.) I wonder if there is anyone else out there who has hiked 7,000 miles on their favorite trail?

Yesterday, February 1, I passed another running milestone when I ran my 75,000th recorded lifetime mile (since 1978). I ran an additional three or four thousand miles before I started keeping records.

I managed to pass both of these milestones at the same location on the LHHT - at milepost 43 under the snow covered Hemlocks at the headwaters of Spruce Run. I have attached photos of both occasions.

I think a pretty spectacular gauntlet just hit the ground! What about it? Can you match Ted's 7,000 miles on YOUR favorite trail? 75,000 lifetime? ONE race on the LHHT? Bordering on insanity? Naw, that boundary's far in the rear view!

Take five for trivia


So as it turns out, St. Valentine is the patron saint of a whole lot of things a little less romantic than love - like fainting and plague. But also beekeeping, which is a good thing!

Speaking of bridges (as we will be in our newsletter), should you find yourself paddling among the islands of the Weiser State Forest you might find yourself traveling under quite a lovely and famous span. At 3,280 feet in length, it's pretty hard to miss! What bridge is it?

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


I am picturing this infographic gal in fleece and hiking boots. Breathe. Take it outside! (And if you can't read the small picture, visit the original on our Book of Faces.)

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 is a proud member of EarthShare and is a Gold GuideStar Participant.


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