Early in July 2011 Corinne and I had just returned from a few days in the Adirondack region. I like returning home from the Adirondack region about as much as I like returning home from a visit to a Pennsylvania state forest/park. It was Saturday morning and Corinne was up for a boondoggle so we headed off to the Pine Creek Natural Area and the state parks that overlook the valley below. She had never seen the gorge so visiting Leonard Harrison State Park was a genuine treat for us both. I was pleased to find the park much improved from my last visit in the 1980’s. Leaving the east rim, we drove to the west rim to visit Colton Point State Park which remains rustic and reminiscent of the CCC men who built it.
A public works program created in the 1930’s as a way to ease nation-wide unemployment, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a cooperative effort between the Departments of War, Agriculture, Interior and Labor. At the height of the program there were 136 CCC camps in Pennsylvania – 96 on State Forest lands. The number of camps was second only to California with 155 camps. Beyond a doubt, this was the most beneficial, most enduring public works program ever created in the US.
This was about as far as Corinne was anticipating travelling that day but I convinced her that the next park was “just a few miles away.” We eventually reached Lyman Run State Park which had its dam rebuilt just a few years earlier. Even though she kept telling me the GPS said to turn around and go home, I insisted we continue through the Susquehannock State Forest to Cherry Springs State Park, possibly one of the coolest parks in the system. This park is located in one of the darkest spots around here and is used by astronomers both amateur and professional. A few times each year visitors can join a “Star Party” with a local astronomy group. I continued driving westward, reaching Cherry Springs long before night fall and too early to truly appreciate the star gazing field. Just down the road from Cherry Springs is a small park named Patterson State Park. The sign was missing on this trip so I had to leave the park on my list so I could revisit another time in hopes the DCNR may replace the sign. Not far from Patterson is another small park that Corinne was in no way interested in visiting that day so we headed north to Route 6 then east toward Wellsboro. Fortunately Denton Hill State Park is on Route 6 so stopping at this last park of the day for a quick photo was almost effortless.
The town of Galeton was having their fireworks show this evening and getting through that area on Route 6 proved to be a bit challenging with all the folks pouring into town for this annual event. East of Galeton I was pulled over by the Galeton cop for driving over the speed limit but he was nice enough to let me off with a warning. Thank you, officer whateveryournameis.
Tour #3 ended with 12 (or 13) parks and two state forests checked off and enjoying my progress!