"It's time to lay aside business and go fishing."
Memorial Day means many things to people. It's a great time to remember that our freedom was in no way, free. Here in Pennsylvania, it's also our first fish-for-free day of the year. These Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission designated Fish-for-Free Days allow anyone both residents and non-residents of any age to legally fish with no fishing license required on all of Pennsylvania's waterways. So after paying your respects to our veterans, why not head to a local stream to try your luck at catching a big one? Please keep in mind that all other fishing regulations still apply.
n Halfway Dam happenings
The good folks up at the R.B. Winter State Park are encouraging everyone to get outdoors and to attend a few of the programs that are planned at the park over the Memorial Day weekend. This Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon, there will be a Fishing Skills for Kids show-and-do demonstration. Kids should bring a parent or grandparent along and meet at the Beach House to learn fishing basics. The park even has some equipment to lend. At 4 p.m. on Saturday, there will be a Wildflower Walk that heads out from the Environmental Learning Center. On Sunday morning, there will be a 90-minute Songbird Walk that also starts at the Environmental Learning Center. Sunday afternoon offers a most-interesting sounding program called "Moles in the Pool." This 3 p.m. program is geared to kids of all ages, particularly kids who love frogs and salamanders. The event begins with a short story and then a peek into a park's pond that is located at the Sheary-Linn Amphitheater. The Environmental Center will be open to everyone each afternoon throughout the three-day weekend.
By the way, on Sunday the local Sierra Club chapter will be leading a 10-mile moderate to strenuous hike at the R.B. Winter State Park and in the Bald Eagle State Forest. This will be a loop hike on various trails that will likely be rocky so please wear sturdy shoes. To go along, please meet at the parking lot at the breast of the Halfway Dam at 8:30 a.m. and bring along a lunch and water.
n Outdoor Challenge
The Fifth Annual Great Pennsylvania Outdoor Challenge that the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation hosts is underway. Challenge participants can win prizes ranging from gift cards and fitness gear to caps and T-shirts, and even outdoor store discounts. According to Marci Mowery, who is the foundation's president, "The Challenge encourages people to find new ways to get out of doors and stretch their bodies and their minds."
To participate all you need to do is to pick up a Pennsylvania State Parks and State Forests Passport. This passport is a terrific guide and information resource of our state parks and state forests. Please visit www.paparksandforests.org to purchase your passport and register for the challenge.
n I canoe, can you?
This weekend there will be two great canoe outings that are being offered by Canoe Susquehanna that are sure to whet you and your family's appetites for our valley's beautiful waterways. On Saturday the tour goes from the Milton State Park downriver for about six miles.
On Sunday, Buffalo Creek will be the venue from the Mazeppa area on downstream. This will be a delightful, mostly-shaded trip through some narrow sections of this creek. There will be nominal fees charged for these trips and all the equipment that you will need may be rented from Canoe Susquehanna. Please give these folks a call at 570-524-7692, or visit their website at www.paddlehappy.com to get your questions answered.