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1845 Market Street | Suite 202 | Camp Hill, PA 17011

Photo by Douglas Clifford
Blue Knob State Park

Pennsylvania In Living Color

Photographs and Memories

If you read our weekly Take Five/Fridays with Pam eblast, you will have seen the masthead for this issue already but we think it's definitely worth repeating. The photo took the Critics' Choice Best in Show honors in this year's Parks & Forests Through the Seasons photo contest. It was taken by Douglas Clifford at Blue Knob State Park. Check out the original and all the winners (both Critics' and People's Choice) in all five categories at our website. Click on Gallery at the top of any page. (Don't get Take Five? Sign up today!) 

And do visit our Facebook page and view each of the individual albums (A Bit of Whimsy, Dogs in the Outdoors, Fun in the Outdoors, Nature's Colors, Young Photographers) to see all the entries. Because a photographer can only win one prize, we pull the Critics' Choice winners' shots from popular vote competition once those selections are made. So there's an album of those photographs as well. 

We'll be taking the Showcase of Winners on the road again next year, beginning as always with the month of February in the State Capitol. If you have a suggestion for where these lovely photos should be placed for the public's enjoyment, please let us know. And visit the 2016 winners one last time at the Kinzua Bridge State Park visitors' center before October 15.

Pam Metzger
Membership Coordinator
Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation

I Spy Something Really Colorful

Leaf Peeping Season is Upon Us

Autumn in its glory.

For some, it's pumpkin spice. For others, it's football. For still others, it's that inspiring activity known as leaf-peeping. Tropical neighbors can't possibly understand the thrill of spotting a red maple in a sea of golden oaks but any Pennsylvanian - native, transplant, or visitor - knows how it feels.

The complicated science of when and why the colors appear is the topic of countless books and articles (like this one courtesy of the US Forest Service) but here in the Keystone State we're blessed with not only the results of the science but an easy way to find out where the peeping is perfect. Visit the DCNR website and get your weekly Fall Foliage Report and you'll never miss a maple.
Photo by Dallas Runser
Kinzua Bridge State Park
Entry, "Nature's Colors" Category
2017 Parks & Forests Through the Seasons

Your State Parks, Your Voice

Strategic Planning Process Begins with Public Input

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will be wrapping up the first phase of their updated strategic plan - the public survey - at the end of this month. Participate in Penn's Parks for All and let your opinion on amenities, improvements, funding, programs, and a lot more be heard.

A series of public hearings on preliminary findings will take place next year. 

Deadline to complete the survey is 10/31/17.

The Never-Ending Story

Pennsylvania's Budget Crisis

With crucial dedicated funds on the chopping block in the Pennsylvania legislature, the Foundation sends our sincere thanks to everyone who has made calls, written emails, posted to social media, and otherwise made objection to this short-sighted (and potentially illegal) proposal known.

The Keystone Fund, Environmental Stewardship Fund, and funds supporting farmland and open space preservation are not secure, not so long as any faction of either the PA House or Senate continues to insist that a bank balance is equivalent to available money. We will continue to voice loud and sustained opposition to the redirection of committed, necessary funding for your state parks and forests and community parks and open space. 

Stay tuned to the Foundation's website and social media for updates as they happen. 

Looking Ahead to November

Raising Funds and Awareness

The Foundation will once again participate in the Lancaster County Community Foundation's "ExtraGive" on November 17. This one-day festival of philanthropy provides a financial boost to dozens of nonprofits in the Lancaster foundation's service area. We are proud to be a three-year participant with all the great organizations doing a variety of great work in central Pennsylvania. Your support is truly extraordinary.

Watch for us through social media on November 17 and be ready to click and show your state parks and forests some extraordinary love.
The Pennsylvania Patch Coalition is just about to celebrate its first anniversary with the addition of four or five of the "on deck" designs ready to head to production. If you are not yet familiar with Caleb and his "a patch for every park" project, do check out the website with the available and coming soon designs. And a video that's sure to make your heart warm. 

Woodlands Landowners of Southwestern PA 

A Management Forum

Are you a forest landowner in southwestern Pennsylvania? Learn more about sustainable management of your forest lands with this day all about the woodlands around us.! Learn more about managing your woods with informative presentations and a chance to meet other landowners.

The seminar takes place at Penn State's Fayette Campus on October 14. The cost is $15 per person, which includes a catered lunch, and the deadline to register is October 4. For additional information or to register, visit the event website

Amusements Corner

Trivia - and Some Time in the Kitchen or By the Campfire

When it comes to fall, apples and pumpkins seem to duke it out for food primacy, and at the Foundation it's hard to beat President Marci's baked oatmeal whenever staff retreat time rolls around. So why not combine all of those things into one glorious dish?

Let AllRecipes.com guide you through creation of Pumpkin Apple Pecan Baked Oatmeal and as satisfying an autumn AM as you could wish.

In the trivia category, the August issue of Explore anticipated publication of the Foundation's Fall print newsletter (and its upcoming feature on the back roads of Pennsylvania's state parks) with an inquiry as to the name of the state park that IS a back road. That would be Bucktail State Park Natural Area, a 75-mile scenic drive along PA Route 120 from Emporium through Renovo to Lock Haven. Oh, my, there are good things to see and do along the way - visit the PA Wilds website and you'll discover just how much. We are happy to award this month's prize to Maxine Harrison, a member of the PPFF, Friends of Lyman Run, and Cherry Springs Dark Sky Association boards. Maxine is so valuable to each of these organizations that she needs the prize bandana just to wipe her brow.

For October, what makes those maple leaves turn red?

Send your answer to Pam Metzger at the Foundation. All correct answers go into the hiking boot for a drawing for one of our "wearable checklist" to the state parks and forests - otherwise known as our bright orange bandana

Standing Strong and Sturdy 

LHHT Shelters Will Endure

Thanks to the support of a number of truly generous individuals, the Adirondack style shelters along southwestern Pennsylvania's beautiful Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail will stand strong and sturdy for at least another 40 years. 

Individual hikers from as far away as Texas and Michigan and as close as Somerset, Latrobe, Ligonier and Jennerstown joined with the runners of the Laurel Highlands Ultra (who think nothing of spending a spring day running the trail's entire 70-mile length without stopping to sleep in the shelters at all) and a Boy Scout troop from Willow Grove (who donated $225 post-hike in lieu of their ability to travel back to the area for a stewardship project) to make sure funding is in place to shore up the shelters' chimneys and fireboxes. 

A seed grant from REI provided the impetus; the trail's generous fans pushed this fundraising effort over the mountain. Thanks to Dale Yohe (and S'Mores pictured here) for donating patches and stickers to be used as rewards for the donors and to Dane Cramer of FeatheredProp.com for devoting the proceeds of his custom tee shirt design to the cause

It is NOT too late to donate! Any funds beyond those needed to complete the chimney project will be used to build firewood storage at each of the Trail's eight shelter areas. 

What would you like to see in Explore PA in 2018? Let us know!
Copyright © 2017 | Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation | All rights reserved.

Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation
1845 Market Street | Suite 202 | Camp Hill, PA 17011 | 717.236.7644

Thank you to our friends at the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources for their assistance in the preparation of Explore.

The support of the Community Conservation Partnerships Program (C2P2) of the Department of Conservation & Natural Resources is also gratefully acknowledged.

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