HARRISBURG – Thousands of guided outdoor recreation events this year – from after work hikes to family fishing programs to night-time paddles – will connect people to enriching outdoor experiences through the newly expanded Get Outdoors PA program, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti announced yesterday.
Beginning this weekend, several partners will be holding “GO” Days on weekends in May and June across the state to introduce people to a variety of outdoor activities.
“Get Outdoors PA programs are successful because they allow people to have fun outdoor experiences in a comfortable, safe setting, guided by a professional who takes the worry out of the outdoors,” Ferretti said.
Ferretti said these reasons and more prevent people from exploring the outdoors and worse, keep them indoors and inactive.
“Ten years ago DCNR began Get Outdoors PA as a way to expand recreational programming in state parks and connect people to the outdoors in a meaningful way,” Ferretti said. “Since that time, tens of thousands of people have enjoyed honing recreation skills and learning about their natural surroundings.”
Over the past two years DCNR has worked with the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society; the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association; the Fish and Boat and Game commissions; and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, to expand recreational programming into local communities, bringing outdoor experiences closer to where people live.
Today, more than 50 local partners — from land trust organizations to environmental education centers to local parks and recreation departments — are offering events based on the Get Outdoors PA model.
They are no-cost or low-cost high-quality recreation outings with experienced trip leaders that are intended to increase participants’ appreciation and active use of parks, forests and public spaces while imparting messages of environmental stewardship and healthy living.
“Get Outdoors PA is not only important for the well-being of our citizens, but also the future of our natural resources,” Ferretti said. “While we are getting people active, we are also getting them interested in trees, water, trails and open spaces. The more people enjoy these resources, the more likely they will care and support them.”
“GO” Days include:
- May 10, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Susquehanna Greenway Bicycle and River Fest at South Williamsport Sports Park — Featuring a kid’s bicycle derby will be for children 6-12 years old, and a bicycle scavenger hunt for teens and adults exploring the Susquehanna River Walk.
- May 17, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. The Venture Outdoors Festival, Point State Park in Pittsburgh – Free activities include kayaking; biking; rock climbing; fishing; outdoor yoga; and dragon boating.
- May 17, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Clearwater Conservancy at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, Centre County – Free activities include hiking; biking; geo-caching; fire-making; tree identification and mushroom walks; fly-casting; overnight campout; and more.
- June 7, 10 a.m. to June 8, 3 p.m., Appalachian Mountain Club at Delaware Canal State Park and Nockamixon State Park – No cost activities include a bike ride and picnic; intro to family camping; kayaking; and a nature hike at Mariton Nature Preserve.
- June 14, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Lancaster County Parks and Recreation at Lancaster County Environmental Center, Lancaster – Free event includes geocaching; map and compass activities; campfire cooking; fire starting and tending; beginner fishing and casting; stream studies; kite making/flying; survival skills and more.
- June 13 (evening) – June 14, Endless Mountains Heritage Region, Hornbrook Park, Bradford County and Howland Preserve,Wyoming County – Activities include paddling on the Susquehanna River; camping; nature walk; wilderness skills programs; stargazing; archery and more.
- June 14, Moraine State Park, 225 Pleasant Valley Rd, Portersville – Free activities include paddling; family fishing; youth archery; crafts; orienteering; and adaptive sports.
- June 14 & June 15, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Wildlands Conservancy Bike and Boat, canal towpath at Sand Island, Bethlehem – Bike along the canal towpath (the D&L Trail) from Sand Island in Bethlehem 4.5 miles to Canal Park in Allentown, and then canoeing the 4.5 mile stretch of the Lehigh River back to Sand Island. All equipment is provided and the cost is $30/person with a maximum of 50.
All Get Outdoor PA events are found on a clearinghouse website at www.getoutdoorspa.org.