Discover Backpacking Programs Scheduled at Parker Dam

PENFIELD – Parker Dam State Park has announced that it is now taking registrations for the program Discover Backpacking, an introductory program for park visitors who wish to learn the basics of backpacking.  Participants will have the opportunity to hike for two days, and camp one night, along parts of the celebrated Quehanna Trail; all the while learning about the proper equipment and techniques of backpacking from park staff.  This is your chance to see what backpacking is all about without the investment – the park will provide all of the equipment and food, you just need to be willing to learn, try new experiences, and to have fun.

This year’s Discover Backpacking programs at the park will be June 8-9 and Sept. 7-8.  Participants will meet at the Environmental Education Classroom, next to the Park Office, at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday.  The excursions will conclude Sunday at approximately 3 p.m. at the Park Office.  All along the hike, a knowledgeable guide will discuss, demonstrate, and assist participants with topics such as camp set-up, meal preparation, and the ‘Leave No Trace’ principles of outdoor recreation.  Participants will also have the opportunity to experience parts of the wilderness that is the Pennsylvania Wilds and its wildlife inhabitants in a way many visitors don’t realize even exists.

For inexperienced outdoors-people, backpacking may be an intimidating undertaking because of the investment in the specialized gear and the wilderness that is often traversed.  Although backpacking is still primitive camping, backpackers no longer have to ‘rough it’ the way they had in the past.  Improvements to equipment over the years have made this type of outdoor recreation more appealing to a broader range of people.  This program will allow participants a guided experience with all equipment provided by the park.  Backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, stoves, cookware, etc. will all be provided.

The park will also provide food for all meals along the trail.  Participants need only bring a minimal amount of personal belongings, such as clothing and toiletries.

Anyone who wishes to participate must register at least 10 days prior to the date of the scheduled program they wish to attend by stopping in or calling the Park Office at 814- 765-0630, or emailing  The number of participants for each trip will be limited.  There is a program fee of $75 per person to cover the costs of food and equipment maintenance.

Children under 18 may participate for a discounted fee of $40, provided they are participating with their family unit.  No children under 18 may participate without a parent or guardian; it is strongly suggested that small children not participate.

There are health history and liability forms that must be completed before departing on the trip.  Those forms, as well as a list of suggested items to bring along on the trip will be made available once a participant has registered and paid the program fee.

If you have any questions regarding the Discover Backpacking program or registration, please contact the park’s Environmental Education Specialist at the above phone number or email address.

Discover Backpacking is a “Get Outdoors Pennsylvania” program.  The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources provides Get Outdoors PA (GOPA) programming to encourage individuals and families to enjoy outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania’s state parks and state forests, and to create a connection to the natural world.  GOPA programs are offered in a safe, guided environment; and allow participants to experience new outdoor activities using equipment provided by the parks, forest districts, or cooperating local outfitters.

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