The Daily Item
MILTON — Paul Yost and the Friends of the Milton State Park won the Park Improvement Award at the seventh annual award banquet hosted by the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation in Camp Hill on May 7.
The award was one of nine major awards given to Friends groups throughout the state, which included recognition of the Tiadaghton State Forest as State Forest of the Year. This is the first statewide honor to be received by the Friends of the Milton State Park and their vice president, Paul Yost.
Yost was recognized for leading the effort to create an extended trail system on the island between Milton and West Milton and for helping to control Japanese Knotweed, an invasive species that had almost obliterated the original paths on the south and north sections of the Park.
The award citation noted that the Milton Friends “have developed approximately three miles of an extensive trail network in the southern portion of the island that they plan to connect to a northern trail.” The Friends were also cited for creating a playground for younger children, constructing a stone and gravel walking path in the center of the island and helping to keep the Park free of debris following flood events.
Former manager of the Shikellamy and Milton state parks, Frank Nanna, who attended the banquet, complimented the Friends for their work on improving the 82 acre Milton Park, opening up many new areas of the park for hiking, fishing, and bird watching. “The natural areas cleared by the Milton Friends encourages people to exercise through “daily walking while enjoying the natural resources offered by an award winning state park system,” Nanna said in the award nomination.
Citations from both the State House of Representatives, signed by Rep. Lynda Schlegel-Culver, and the State Senate, signed by Senator John Gordner, were presented individually to Yost and the Milton Friends.
Four members of the Friends who attended the awards ceremony in addition to Yost were Tom Deans, president of the Milton Friends, Treasurer Brian Auman, and members Myron Messinger and Kathy McKibben.
Yost noted in his remarks that the Friends are seeking to create a true park and recreational opportunity close to home, with the same amenities and features that more distant parks are noted for.
It’s a work in progress, he noted after the ceremony and hopefully, he added, “others will recognize the value of this unique resource and help the Friends further develop the park for local and area residents and visitors beginning to appreciate the natural beauty of our region.” Anyone interested in working with the Friends to help improve the park are encouraged to email Yost at firstname.lastname@example.org.