Our Mission: Inspire Stewardship of
Pennsylvania's State Parks and Forests

As you are reading this, I'm driving east for Banquet Week (and a family visit).

Calling all York County residents, Give Local York Day and Marci and Amanda will be out first with a hike at Samuel S. Lewis State Park (at 10:30 AM) and then a paddle at Gifford Pinchot State Park (at 2:00 PM) so drop by and say hello. As I write this, the forecast is for a cloudy but warm day. Fingers crossed!

And you needn't be a York County resident to participate in Give Local York - you just need to support the work we do!

I'll be in the office administering the thank yous and other back-end stuff, including randomly drawing donors' names at regular intervals for our day of prizes. Here's the schedule:

12 AM-6 AM: State Park Calendar

6 AM-12 PM: Purple Lizard Map of Michaux State Forest

12 PM-6 PM: PPFF bottle opener

6 PM-11:59 PM: REI insulated cup

Speaking of Michaux State Forest, the masthead this week is by Kevin Thomas of a crystal clear paddle excursion in the Michaux as submitted to last year's photo contest. Marci and Amanda should be so lucky as to have that this afternoon!

Pam Metzger
Membership Coordinator

News of Note

We have big news on the administrative front for PPFF. First, a hearty welcome to Andreja Rocknage, our new Office Assistant. This energetic mother of three is married to Fr. Christopher Rocknage, rector of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker Serbian Orthodox Church in Steelton. Andreja has been singing for as long as she can talk and sings with the women’s choir out of Pittsburgh. She enjoys cooking and spending time outdoors, especially in her garden. Her other passions are snowboarding, photography and piano.

Second, after some fits and starts we will beat the wrecking ball set to take down 1845 Market Street at the end of May and will be relocating to 704 Lisburn Road over the next few weeks. (Think of it - Give Local York, banquet, board meeting, AND office move all in May. Are we nuts or what?) Moving Week is scheduled for May 20 to 24 and if you have time or inclination to lend a hand at any point during that week please get in touch with Marci.

The tick topic last week garnered a lot of interest and discussion. It seems we are all - including the most hardcore outdoors enthusiasts - just a little weirded out by the increasingly alarming tick phenomenon. Our own Prez Marci has had Lyme disease twice and echoes all concerned when she says, "It is NO fun." And Reader Carol shared this instructional story (I have edited it a bit so I hope she can forgive me. I think I preserved the gist of it which is, as she said, "Do NOT mess with it.")

I got Lyme disease from a tick in June 2018. I came in and showered within the recommended two-hour time frame. No ticks at that point. It was the next day when we got home from camp that I noticed the tick, removed it, alcohol wiped the area and thought, “I'll be good.” NOT. One week later, a bulls-eye rash and fever. Very sick ... for many months...

I think it came in on the dog. He bounced on the bed and I chased him off but I think that is where the critter came from.

This is your best protection: long pants tucked into high boots and taped along the top; long-sleeved top tucked into pants, tape your waist if you’re comfortable; wear gloves and tape the wrists if you’re working in a wooded area. We now have a protocol:

  • Wear protective clothing outside (yes, you will sweat).

  • Brush the dog outside before entering the home.

  • Remove all clothing away from living area.

  • Wash yourself within two hours of coming inside - and check closely for ticks.

  • Check again when changing clothes. The sooner they are removed the better.

  • If you ARE bitten, see a doctor as soon as possible – and if that doctor doesn’t listen to you, see another. There are Lyme disease specialists throughout the state.

Carol and a few others mentioned that East Stroudsburg University’s Tick Research Lab will test your tick for Lyme and other co-infections (which is a major part of Lyme).

I could use Carol’s other note as this week’s trivia question but we’ll call this a supplemental “did you know.” Ticks hatch under burning bush shrubs (their favorite) and leaf matter. They get onto mice who carry them around and act as hosts so when the tick is large enough it grabs onto the grass/weeds and then onto deer or YOU! They fill up with blood and fall off starting the cycle all over again.

As a final word on the subject, a few folks also mentioned planting your yard with “tick tubes” to disrupt this "mouse as host" nesting process. Neighbor Wendy (whose lovely canine tick magnet started the discussion) had just shared her intention to plant these little time bombs in her yard.

As for my question on treating clothes with permethrin (or buying already treated clothes), the consensus is to DO IT. I have ordered Sawyer's spray from Amazon (also available at Wal-Mart, Tractor Supply, and outdoor sporting goods stores). Reader Mary Jo begs me to include this warning:

Permethrin is a neurotoxin and it kills the ticks by affecting their nervous system. Don't apply it to your clothes indoors if you have cats! Liquid permethrin is toxic to cats, so spray your clothes outside and protect your kitties.

Duly noted. My Emma is more precious to me than is strictly reasonable.

My offer to provide one of our "tick cards" by mail still stands - just drop me a line and I'll be happy to put one in the mail to you.

You have probably read of the Pennsylvania Game Commission's decision to close the very popular Glen Onoko Trail near Jim Thorpe because of the number of injuries and even deaths that have occurred along the trail. The cost to make the trail safe is said to be $1.7 million. The definition of (and need for) "safe" trails can be debated all day. I had to laugh at one comment I read about weekends on the trail being "the stampede of the ill-prepared." Perhaps, however, the most telling statement with respect to the Game Commission's decision was that of spokesman Travis Lau who said that the PGC's mission is to manage wildlife and serve hunters, not maintain hiking trails. This sentiment suggests many responses, all of which we are sure will strike a nerve. However, one that was noted by one of our chapter leaders - who is a trail maintainer of many years experience - is "#volunteer next time you see a trail maintenance opportunity at your local park." And that, good friends, is always good advice!

At Work and Play in the State Parks and Forests

Kicking off the Merry Month of May with the beginning of exciting opportunities on the calendar.
Is it just me or have the spring wildflowers been particularly amazing this year? See for yourself at SINNEMAHONING STATE PARK on Sunday morning.

A popular event (series) at PINCHOT STATE PARK for participation and observation is the sailboat races with the Pinchot Sailing Club. The season kicks off Saturday morning at 10:00 AM.

This Saturday afternoon and next you have an opportunity to tour the Bygone Town of Ricketts at RICKETTS GLEN STATE PARK. Largely undeveloped ERIE BLUFFS STATE PARK is full of surprises as the vernal pools hike on Saturday morning will demonstrate.

In the spirit of (and in remembrance for) the lost Glen Onoko, visit the Facebook page for the Lackawanna State Park Trail Care Crew, a special PPFF affiliate whose sole mission is maintenance of the trails in Lackawanna State Park. If you'd like to get involved, keep an eye on their Facebook page or click More Information to contact Joe Tierney, the group's chair. (A post on Thursday definitely made me laugh. Those darned cheap leaf blowers!)

These and other fun events and fulfilling volunteer opportunities can be found on the PPFF events calendar and DCNR Calendar of Events. Bookmark them and you'll never miss the boat (or hike or festival).

Picture of the Week

Facebook is such an odd thing. The unpredictable mining and recycling of photos is kind of mystifying BUT it often also yields incredible treasure, such as this picture of "the week" (if the week includes August 21, 2018). Dorris, age 88 at the time, flying a kite for the first time at Sam Lewis State Park. Beautiful on all counts!

Picture of the Week (Redux)

It came to my attention that for many last week's picture did NOT appear. So here are the new interpretive panels at Hammonds Rocks in Michaux State Forest.

Take Five for Trivia

I thought I would tickle your fancy last week with the fact that the native Pennsylvania firefly is called ... the Pennsylvania firefly. But you're all too smart for me and told me that it's called Photuris pensylvanica. And even "lightning bug" which was always the go-to as a kid.

Congratulations to our April winner, Katie Bell-Fawcett of Greensburg. I was tickled to pull Katie's name as one of my oldest friends is ALSO a Katie Bell, although she lives in Ireland now. I should send her a bandana, too, just because.

To kick off May, and with beautiful waterfalls along lovely trails in mind, this week's question is something of a poll. What's your favorite waterfall hike?

Send in your answer and we'll enter your correct response into our monthly prize drawing. All correct answers each week will go into the hat and at the end of the month we'll draw one lucky winner. The more correct answers you submit in a month (up to four or the occasional five depending on the month), the more chances you'll have to win.

In closing

It's the first full week of May - and that's National Wildflower Week.
(Toadshade on the Henrici Trail, Raccoon Creek State Park)

Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation (PPFF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization - contributions to which are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law. The official registration and financial information of PPFF may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling, toll-free within Pennsylvania, to 800.732.0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.

Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation (PPFF) is a proud member of Earth Share and 1% for the Planet and is a Gold GuideStar participant.

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