Here are too many pictures of the rapids at Ohiopyle State Park, the visitor center, and the Youghiogheny River.
Moraine State Park in Butler County, which features the 3,225-acre Lake Arthur with 42 miles of shoreline, is a landscape that has endured the effects of continental glaciers and massive mineral extraction. This popular park hosts more than one million boaters, picnickers, hikers, bikers, horseback riders, cabin renters, and swimmers each year. The 16,725-acre park was restored from prior coal mining and oil and gas drilling practices. Unfortunately, it was not a very nice day when I visited in early May.
Jennings Environmental Education Center is one of several state parks specifically dedicated to providing environmental education and recreational programs to the community. This site provides a unique combination of prairie and forest environs, which offer a wide array of resource and educational opportunities. One of the park’s main features, the 20-acre prairie ecosystem, is home to distinctive prairie plants and the endangered massasauga rattlesnake. The most noteworthy and spectacular prairie flower is the blazing star. Jennings was the first reserve established in Pennsylvania to protect an individual plant species and remains the only public and protected prairie in the commonwealth.
The prairie wildflowers are best enjoyed in late July and early August. I did not get very good shots at this site, due to the weather and the time of year.
My trip through western Pennsylvania led me through two parks with some of the largest lakes in the state.
Maurice K. Goddard State Park in Mercer County contains the 1,680-acre Lake Wilhelm, which is popular with anglers and boaters. Many recreational activities, such as hiking, hunting, cycling, skating and picnicking, attract visitors in all seasons. The large lake, abundant wetlands, old fields, and mature forests provide a diversity of habitats for wildlife, especially waterfowl, eagle, and osprey.
Pymatuning State Park in Crawford County, at 16,892 acres, is one of the largest state parks. The 17,088-acre Pymatuning Reservoir (partially shared with Ohio) is the largest lake in the commonwealth. It is one of the most visited state parks in Pennsylvania. The many recreational opportunities include boating, fishing, swimming, and camping. In addition to the state park facilities, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission operates a fish hatchery and visitor center, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission has wildlife viewing areas.
My first stop was the dam at the southern end of the lake. It is the largest earthen dam that I have seen. The area around the lake is one of the few places that bald eagles nested continuously during their years of decline.
Shikellamy State Park is an unusual park in that it contains two distinctly different sections. It also affords great views of the two branches of the Susquehanna River (the West Branch and the North Branch ). The Park is in both Union and Northumberland counties. The 54-acre Shikellamy Marina is on the southern tip of Packers Island at the confluence of the West Branch and North Branch Susquehanna River, and offers hiking and biking trails, a marina, and boat launch. The 78-acre Shikellamy Overlook is on the western shore of the Susquehanna River. A 360-foot cliff overlooks the confluence of the two branches of the river.
Although the marina area seemed more popular with Labor Day party goers, I was more impressed with the views on the overlook side.
The Marina Section provides great access to the water as well as picnicking opportunities.
While in New England and Canada, I took a day trip to the popular village of Peggy’s Cove. This tourist attractions is a quaint Nova Scotia fishing village with one of the most photographed lighthouses in Canada.
Finally, here a some photos of Georges Island National Historic Site in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
This October I was fortunate to take a trip to Maine, Nova Scotia and Quebec. Much of the topography of the inland areas, and the fall color, remind me of Pennsylvania. First up is a boat trip from Bar Harbor, Maine. This part of the Maine coast from Bar Harbor to Somes Sound is dotted with the “cottages” of the rich and famous.
The trip was themed around the lighthouses of the Bay of Maine near the Mount Desert Island shore.
Here are some boats, buoys, and critters along the way, along with a few looks at Mount Desert Island from the sea.
There are some fantastic locations in Pennsylvania that have escaped my notice, even after all these years. Perhaps, in the case of our next location, it is because it’s almost all the way to the New York State line.
Tioga-Hammond Lakes are twin lakes in north central Pennsylvania with overnight and day use facilities in a scenic environment, southwest of Tioga, PA and north of Wellsboro on PA on Route 287. The recreation area has camping, a swimming beach, sand volleyball court, playground, boat launches, field sports area, a camp store, trails hunting, display gardens, archery trail, scenic overlooks and picnic facilities including grills and picnic shelters. There area is administered by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The lakes were formed by the building of two separate dams, one on the Tioga River and one on Crooked Creek. They are connected by a channel cut through the rock which has its own weir on the Tioga Reservoir side. This unusual arrangements allows acid polluted water to mix with cleaner water from the other stream, increasing overall water quality downstream.
I left Austin and proceeded south to Sizerville State Park. This park reminds me of Hyner Run or Reeds Gap. It is a quiet park with a small campground and a pool. Alas, the pool at Reeds Gap is gone, but this type of park remains one of my favorites. The 368 acre Sizerville is surrounded by Elk State Forest and near large blocks of additional state forest land. If it wasn’t so far, I’d like to come back here.
I then made the long journey to Kettle Creek State Park. In retrospect, I should have done this the day before as continuation of my trip to Ole Bull, but now I know better. The park consists of 1,793 acres along Kettle Creek in western Clinton County. The park is in a valley surrounded by mountainous terrain and wilderness. Many of the existing recreational facilities arose from a joint flood control project developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the former Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources. The park offers camping, boating, hunting, fishing, hiking, and other activities.
I thought I might be able to save some time getting to Sinnemahoning State Park by driving up to Kettle Creek Vista then cutting across the ridge and down the other side. Of course there were no roads down into the other valley, because there was another lake, with (you guessed it) another dam.
I made the trek back down the valley to highway north to Sinnemahoning State Park. The park, located near the center of the Pennsylvania Wilds’ scenic steep valleys region, encompasses 1,910 acres of beautiful scenery and outstanding wildlife habitat. Situated in Cameron and Potter counties, the park is nestled between the green-shouldered ridges of Pennsylvania’s Elk State Forest and Susquehannock State Forest. The park is long and narrow and includes lands on both sides of First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek — a major tributary to the Sinnemahoning Creek. At the southern end of the park, a 145-acre reservoir created by the George B. Stevenson dam provides fishing and boating opportunities. There is a campground and excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, including elk, bear, and large variety of birds.
I don’t make it to Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lancaster and Lebanon counties all that often during the Summer. Here are a few shots from around the property.
Our annual Poconos girls’ weekend occurred in July this year. On short notice, my friend was able to find a great weekly rental at Lake Naomi. I also take this time to do some exploring around the Poconos. I set out to view some lake communities I hadn’t visited before. I will leave the rest of the weekend to your imagination.