Summer is just about here and it is Great Outdoors Month. What better way to move on from a stressful week than with some outdoor programs at our local state parks. There is something for everyone this weekend including the perfect way to spend the day with dad for Father’s Day. So get out and enjoy some of our local Pennsylvania State Parks.
The weather this weekend should be much improved from today’s day-long threat of storms. The forecast for Johnstown is calling for mostly cloudy skies on Friday with showers possible before 8:00 a.m. and a 20% chance of thunderstorms after 2:00 p.m. Highs on Friday should be around 70 with overnight lows around 50. Saturday will be a sunny day with no chance of rain and a high in the lower 70’s. Overnight lows on Saturday night should be in the mid-50’s. Sunday will see the return of possible showers and thunderstorms after 10:00 a.m. with a 50% chance throughout the day. Highs on Sunday should be in the mid-70’s.
Several parks are offering programs for Nature Photography Day on Saturday. Prince Gallitzin State Park is celebrating early with two programs on Friday. Bring the kids out for a Nature Photography Scavenger Hunt beginning at the campground amphitheater from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Stick around and come to the Photos at Sunset Program at the park office from 7:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. On Saturday, Cowans Gap State Park will be offering the Nature’s Photography – Scavenger Hunt beginning at the amphitheater from 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. Both parks will have cameras for loan during the program for those that need one and they are all free.
Perhaps you would like to treat dad to a fishing program this weekend. The fishing programs begin on Friday night with Night Fishing with the Naturalist at Bald Eagle State Park. The program which is geared to kids starts at the campground amphitheater at 8:00 p.m. Fishing licenses are not required during the program, but anyone 16 and older that wishes to continue to fish after the program will need one. On Saturday, Keystone State Park is the place to be for the Bassmaster’s Fishing/Casting Derby. The derby takes place from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. There is a casting contest for kids 7 to 14 and a fishing derby for all ages. The program takes place at Pavilion 1 in the park. Both of these programs are free and no pre-registration is required. On Sunday, perhaps you could take dad on the Father’s Day Fishing Trip at Black Moshannon State Park. The trip costs $5 per person and goes from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. To register for this program go to the park webpage or call the park at (814)342-5960. Fishing equipment and bait are available for all of these programs for those that need it.
There are also several paddling programs this weekend throughout our area. Laurel Hill State Park is presenting an Evening Eco Paddle on Friday night from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Laurel Hill is also offering a Learn to Kayak program on Saturday afternoon from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. Both of these programs are free but registration is required. Call (814)352-8649 to register for either program. There is also a Father’s Day Weekend Float at Bald Eagle State Park on Saturday. This program from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. costs $5. Pre-registration is required for this program and can be done by calling the park’s environmental education center. Also on Saturday, you can Kayak Keystone at Keystone State Park. The program lasts from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. This program is free, but does require pre-registration. Call 724-668-2566 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register for this program. Kayaks, PFD’s and all equipment is provided for each of these programs along with some basic paddling instruction.
There are three hikes of note this weekend. Two of the hikes focus of native plants and their uses. During the Pennsylvania Plant Walk at Blue Knob State Park on Saturday, you will learn about the native plants at the park and some of their uses from Dr. Merrilee Anderson of Mount Aloysius College. The walk lasts from 7:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. and begins at the park amphitheater at the campground entrance. Also on Saturday is the Edible and Medicinal Plant Walk at Canoe Creek State Park. The program starts at the Wentz Education Center and lasts from 10:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. On Sunday, head to Ohiopyle State Park for the scenic Cascade Hike. The hike will take you along the park trails to the Cascade Falls. The hike meets at the Meadow Run Parking Lot at 1:00 p.m. and lasts until 3:00 p.m. All of these hikes are free of charge and no pre-registration is required.
If you are more into just enjoying the wildlife, there are programs for you too this weekend in the area. On Saturday, you can take the kids on The Great Bird Trek for Kids at Bald Eagle State Park. The program will take participants on a one mile walk looking for birds. The program begins at the campground amphitheater from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Also on Saturday is the Salamander Safari at Yellow Creek State Park. The program begins at the park office from 4:00 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. Pre-registration is required for this program and can be done by calling (724)357-7913. There are two parks holding bat counts and programs on Saturday. Yellow Creek will hold the Bats: Up Close and Personal at the North Shore Amphitheater from 8:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. or head to Prince Gallitzin for their Bat Count at the old barn off of Long Road from 8:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. On Sunday night, you can head to Ohiopyle for their Frog Hunt. The program starts at the Kentuck Campground Amphitheater and lasts from 9:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m.
Here is some park information for this week:
- Bald Eagle State Park is located in Centre County northwest of Bellfonte about an hour and forty-five minutes from Johnstown. Office phone: (814)625-2775
- Black Moshannon State Park is located in Centre County near Phillipsburg about an hour and a half from Johnstown. Office phone: (814)342-5960
- Blue Knob State Park is located in Bedford County near Pavia about 40 minutes from Johnstown. Office phone: (814)276-3576
- Canoe Creek State Park is located in Blair County near Holidaysburg about an hour from Johnstown. Information: (814)695-6807
- Cowans Gap State Park is located in Fulton County about an hour and 45 minutes from Johnstown. Office phone: (717)485-3948
- Keystone State Park is located in Westmoreland County east of Latrobe about an hour and fifteen minutes from Johnstown. Office phone: (724)668-2939
- Laurel Hill State Park is located in Somerset County west of Somerset about fifty minutes from Johnstown. Information: (814)352-8649
- Ohiopyle State Park is located in Fayette County west of Confluence about an hour and a half from Johnstown. Office phone: (724)329-8591
- Prince Gallitzin State Park is located in Cambria County near Patton about an hour from Johnstown. Information: (814)674-1000 ext. 105
- Shawnee State Park is located in Bedford County near Schellsburg about an hour from Johnstown. Information: (814)733-2203
- Yellow Creek State Park is located in Indiana County near Penn Run about fifty minutes from Johnstown. Park Office: (724)357-7913
So get out and celebrate the Great Outdoors at one of our local state parks this weekend. It’s a great way to enjoy a fun filled family outing.