If you’re looking to expand your wintertime pursuits, Pennsylvania’s state forest and park systems are extending an invitation to enjoy their public offerings.
There’s sledding, tobogganing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, snow shoeing, ATVing, camping and ice fishing, all enjoyable outdoor activities - provided we get some appreciable snow and colder temperatures.
Snowmobilers have access to almost 3,000 miles of marked joint-use state forest roads, closed roads and trails in 18 of the state’s 20 forest districts and in 32 state parks. There are also more than 170 miles of winter ATV trails in seven state forest districts. Snow condition updates are provided by calling toll free 1-877-766-6253 where recorded messages on snow depths and trail conditions are updated at noon each Tuesday and Thursday.
Snowmobiles and ATVs must ne registered with DCNRs snowmobile/ATV Unit and to get more information on registration call toll free 866-545-2476 or visit their website which is easily done these days on Smartphone’s.
To locate these open areas, check www.dcnr.state.pa.us and click on “State Forests” then “Recreation.” Snowmobile maps are updated to show storm damage and other conditions that may affect trails says DCNR’s public information officer Terry Brady.
And if the weather would stay cold enough for ponds and lakes within these parks to freeze, folks can also ice-skate and ice boat.
To check ice and snow conditions, visit the website and select “Find a Park,” then “Things to Do,” then “Enjoy the Winter.”
For cross country skiers, there are more than 330 miles of marked trails and nearly 400 miles of groomed and un-groomed cross-country ski trails in 73 state parks.
Downhill skiing is offered at Blue Knob State Park, Bedford County; Denton Hill State Park, Potter County; and Camelback (Big Pocono State Park) in Monroe County.
If you enjoy hiking, you may want to trek on over to one of 18 state parks that include: Bald Eagle, Black Moshannon, Leonard Harrison, Kinzua Bridge, Ohiopyle, Moraine, Raccoon Creek, Pymatuning, Keystone, Kings Gap Environmental Education Center, Marsh Creek, French Creek and the Delaware Canal.
Grouse Hall Fish & Game Association in Ormrod is sponsoring their second annual coyote hunt that is set for 12:01 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 9 and ending Sunday, Feb. 10 at 4 p.m.
According to Ted Razzis, coordinator of the event, hunters must pre-register for the hunt wherein a $20 entry fee is required and all participants must possess a valid PA hinting license or fur takers license.
During the hunt, coyotes or foxes may be taken with special monetary prizes for the largest fox. A total of three coyotes is allowed for qualification with the first three tagged coyotes being the ones that will be counted.
Coyotes must be shot during the days and times of the scheduled hunt. Grouse Hall F&G reserves the right to autopsy any carcasses if it was believed the animal was penned, trapped, taken illegally or road killed. All animals will be marked before leaving the club grounds.
Monetary awards are dependent upon registration with $10 of the $20 going toward the cash prizes. The largest fox will fetch an additional $5. All funds, minus administration costs, will go toward prize money.
For fox entries, first place wins 50 percent of the prize money, 2nd gets 30 percent and third takes home 20 percent. The prize for the heaviest fox is 100 percent of the total registration fees paid.
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