Tag Archives: Delaware

One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Rehabilitated Park

It can be difficult to be good to ourselves or the environment in a world filled with deadlines and busy shuffling to work, school and appointments. We are lucky though, when we need a break from the rush, to have parks and wildlife areas where we can escape. Parks where one might find some solace, a quiet respite, or simply hear one’s thoughts while cycling or watching campfire embers die down. Awesomely, there are parks where these realities mingle–parks that were once damaged by human negligence, but, through human work and diligence, are now places people can gather to reflect, unwind and enjoy nature. Here are a few rehabilitated parks where hard work paid off!

Fox Point State Park, Delaware

The first rehabilitated park we would like to share is Fox Point. It is a 55-acre state park more than 50 years in the making. The property that the park now occupies was once part of the Delaware River. Through the end of the 1800s and into the mid-1900s, the Pennsylvania Railroad dumped waste and sewage sludge into the river as it sought to increase industrial land along its right-of-way, essentially burying the river for its own benefit. In 1958, however, S. Marston Fox began lobbying to turn the land over to the people of Delaware, and spent the rest of his life carrying that torch.

And what light that torch has thrown! Access to the Delaware River should be for [Image: destateparks.com]

A well-hoisted torch! Access to the Delaware River is important for all. [Image: destateparks.com]

Through decades of legal battles and environmental remediation, Fox Point State Park is open to day-use activities like picnicking, rollerblading, biking, volleyball, and generally taking in the sights of the Delaware River. The hard work poured into Fox’s vision of a “window on the river” is part of the experience today, one can learn about the park’s history and how the property was rehabilitated while taking in views of Philadelphia and the Delaware Memorial Bridge, and strolling along that same river that inspired northern Delawareans to rally around Fox’s dream for shared access to nature.

Route 66 State Park, Missouri

Route 66 State Park in Missouri, much like its name suggests, showcases some of the history of the highway that captured imaginations as the “Main Street of America” in the middle of the last century. The park is outfitted with an intact 1935 roadhouse (which serves as its visitor’s center) and stuffed with exhibits that commemorate the roadway that John Steinbeck called “The Mother Road.”

But to only point out the park’s proximity to an historic road misses the heart of its complicated history.

Fish and frogs and fun!

A peaceful pond and landscape with no clear indication of there having been a town here. [Image: www.mostateparks.com]

Beyond its roadhouse and visitor’s center, the 419-acre, day-use park is primarily composed of trails that meander through flatland and swamp where there was once the town of Times Beach. Times Beach was a town established (through a newspaper promotion) in 1925.

Whoa! What a deal! [Image: www.allday.com]

Wow! What a deal! Indeed the boisterous language served to draw the attention of those who might wish to escape the summer heat along the scenic Meramec River. [Image: www.allday.com]

At the end of 1982, a devastating flood drove hundreds from their homes just as dioxin contamination (caused by tainted waste oil which had been distributed on the town’s roads to reduce dust) was confirmed. The Environmental Protection Agency recommended that no one return to inhabit the town, and the federal government and the state of Missouri bought out the land. State and federal agencies immediately set about cleaning up the contamination.

While not downplaying the hardship endured by those families, the sweetness at Route 66 State Park is undeniable—after more than a decade of rehabilitation, the park is not only healthy for human visitors, but the native swamps and attending wildlife have blossomed. Birds and frogs and deer provide a superb backdrop to outdoor recreation, where you can take a long bike ride, or learn about the ways people crossed the continent not even a hundred years ago. And all that adventure and education is just a short jot from St. Louis!

Freshkills Park, Staten Island

When its rehabilitation is complete, Freshkills Park on Staten Island will be nearly three times the size of Manhattan’s Central Park and the largest park developed in New York City in a hundred years. An impressive feat of environmental recuperation given that, from 1947 to 2001, Freshkills served New York City and its surrounding metropolitan area as a landfill.

Today, the park is characterized by a sprawl of native grasses and brush, wetlands and gentle blue kills, and sweeping sky views that are unusual in the city. Some of its completed rehabilitated segments, Schmul Park and Owl Hollow Fields, already serve the nearby residents of Staten Island and anyone else who wants to make their way to the island. On special occasions, like the recent Discovery Day, hundreds of acres that are still in development are open to visitors.

All of this within New York City! The view of a "kill," or a small stream or creek, at Freshkills Park. This photograph was taken during Discovery Day, on September 18th, 2016. [Image: Myrrah Dubey]

All of this within New York City, and not a skyscraper in sight! This shows a “kill,” or a small stream or creek, at Freshkills Park. This photograph was taken during Discovery Day, on September 18th, 2016.

Discovery Day speaks to the heart of the space, with free bicycles to borrow, and hour-long Audubon tours to teach guests about the wildlife that has thrived since the landfill was capped and the Park Plan has been implemented. Freshkills Park is a prime example of how a landscape can be brought back from the very brink of pollution, and grow into a green space we all can share and enjoy.

Keep Up the Good Work!

It’s important to reflect on how we interact with the world around us. It’s not always pleasant to think about our actions contributing to pollution, but being honest about it can empower us to make better choices. And, when it comes right down to it, the land that gets reclaimed from the clutches of pollution is just as precious as that which has always been pristine, if only because it speaks to the healing qualities embedded in the determination to make something better for ourselves and future generations.

Even with fall upon us, it’s not too late in the year to volunteer to clean up, or to just take some time for yourself in your favorite park! No better way to find out more about the parks near you than Pocket Ranger® mobile apps, that’ll get you out and on to exploration!

Crowdfunding and a Constitutional Amendment

When we talk about state parks and state parks systems, we’re discussing the interweaving natures of the hard work and bureaucracy that make up anything that is government-run. It’s sometimes tricky, that political stuff, and not as fun as taking a hike or having a picnic with your favorite people. But no matter how far they seem from watching a sunset or listening to water cascade through a gorge, funding and votes and the internet are all important aspects of the preservation and enjoyment of our natural resources. Those resources, along with volunteering, friends groups, and even crowdfunding, have a role in the future of our parks and how we are able to interact with nature. Here are a couple of current events that elaborate on that point!

The Ball is in Your Court, Alabama Voters!

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Nature!

When we think of our favorite state parks, we don’t often think of stuffy legislative chambers, but there is no state parks system without them. [Image: www.alabamapolicy.org/]

Last September, we wrote a blog post about how the Alabama State Parks Division was facing a budget crisis that would result in the closure of five state parks on October 15. When the deadline hit, several of the parks began the road to closure. But because of the influence the parks have on local economies—particularly in terms of tourism revenue, sales of gas, and groceries—Florala was adopted by the City of Florala, and Dallas County made an agreement with the state to keep Paul Grist open for business.

Lovely water view, nearly lost to mismanagement of funds.

It’d be an injustice to lose access to the soothing views at Paul M. Grist State Park. Thanks for sparing us, Dallas County! [Image: www.ruralswalabama.org/]

As a quick refresher, the crisis boiled down to the transfer of more than $30 million out of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources coffers (half of which came from the state parks) over five years. That money settled in the state’s General Fund and was then distributed to cover deficits in other government agencies.

On March 22, the Alabama House of Representatives, in response to community backlash after those five parks were defunded, set in motion an amendment to the state’s constitution that would protect the state parks system’s funding from those damning transfers. The people of Alabama will get to vote on the state parks’ futures in November, and if the amendment passes, the parks will be guaranteed the revenue they earn, which will dramatically improve the parks department’s ability to maintain and make progress.

3 pts!

That’s right, the ball’s in your court—you’ve got this, Alabama! [Image: www.gifbin.com/]

Build some Cabins, Build the Future!

Speaking of making progress: Cape Henlopen State Park is a popular and polished jewel in the crown of Delaware’s state parks system, and it is seeking your help. The park started a Kickstarter campaign succinctly named “Help Us Bring More Camping Cabins to Cape Henlopen State Park.” The park is seeking to offset some of the costs of building new cabins that will be ready to serve the public by Memorial Day. By backing the campaign, you can earn great rewards, like being the first to stay in one of the new cabins. Or if you pledge at the top tier, you can act as the park manager for a day.

Beach views for days!

Clearly Cape Henlopen State Park is a pretty special place. And you can make wonderful memories here or contribute to someone else’s by helping the park in its Kickstarter campaign! [Image: www.detsa.org/]

Thousands of visitors make their way from across the First State and farther to take in its ocean and bayside beaches, historic fort and lighthouse, dune-strewn scenery, and its many well-kept amenities. But it, as all state parks and state parks systems, is subject to budgets (and budget cuts) and grant allocations from state or federal sources, since the cost of keeping the lights on and maintaining facilities is almost always greater than what is brought in by the monies collected for park use, like day-use entry fees or the price of a campsite. These fees are generally kept to a minimum or are non-existent because these beautiful, natural spaces are meant to be accessible to everyone. Crowdfunding is a way to directly impact the park and its projects if you can’t get out and help clear a trail, remove fallen trees, paint buildings, or any of the other types of tasks one might do while volunteering. With technology, there are a million ways you can be a force for good in the state parks world.

Or if you’re more the immediate action, hands-on type, visiting a state park is always the best advocacy for their relevance and importance in our modern lives. You can, as always, download the Pocket Ranger® mobile apps and plan your trip today!

Five Bike Races in State Parks

Recently the Red Hook Crit came to Brooklyn, kicking off the bike season in an exciting way. A crit (or criterium) is a bike race where urban cyclists and messengers can compete against pros while racing on fixed gear bikes that have no brakes in a closed course. It’s an exhilarating show of street cycling skills, fitness, and endurance that makes crowds and participants alike giddy with bike-citement.

Female bicycle racer with her hands in the air as she wins the women's division of the 2015 Red Hook Crit.

Red Hook Crit Women’s Crit winner, Ainara Elbusto Arteaga. [Image: redhookcrit.com]

This year’s Red Hook Crit was on a warm, clear night and showcased impressive female and male cyclists from around the world. The 24 lady riders biked intensely for 18 laps (approximately 14 miles) while the 50 male cyclists gave it their all for 24 laps (almost 19 miles). Just like any sporting event, the energy was addictive and full of spectators cheering, jeering, and chanting. Whether you’re a beginning cyclist, seasoned pro, or haven’t ridden a bike in years, a bike race is an exciting event to take advantage of seeing. Here are five of the many that take place in state parks across the country.

Alafia Class Off-Road Mountain Bike Race

Two men on bikes in the woods.

Racers in the Alafia Class Off-Road Mountain Bike Race. [Image: www.friendsofalafia.org/park-news/item/5-alafia-classic-mtb-race]

Located in Florida’s Alafia River State Park, the Alafia Class Off-Road Mountain Bike Race is a grueling yet entertaining six-hour race. It accommodates both beginners and those trying to beat a personal record with “serious” (Red Trail) and “fun” (Corporate Course) racing categories. Teams of up to three people can join, or riders can take on the challenge by themselves. The race recently passed on April 12th, but that means you have plenty of time to prepare for next year’s event.

New River Trail Challenge Triathlon

A group of cyclists heading out of the starting line for a race.

And they’re off! Cyclists competing in the New River Trail Challenge Triathlon. [Image: www.virginiaoutdoors.com/article/more/5469]

Okay, so this isn’t just a bike race, but that makes it even cooler. The New River Trail Challenge Triathlon in Virginia is a 40-mile bike ride that becomes a 12-mile kayak race and ends with a half marathon. This ultimate test of endurance takes place in the New River Trail State Park and welcomes participants of all levels by offering different age brackets and categories for competitors to choose from. Bring your tent and camp out the weekend of September 19th for this thrilling event!

Dinoseries

A woman riding on a muddy path.

Getting down and dirty in the Dinoseries. [Image: www.facebook.com/pages/DINO-Mountain-Biking/225201330950849]

The Dinoseries in Indiana’s Versailles State Park is one of the most invigorating mountain bike races around. The bike trails are built by cyclists with fellow cyclists in mind and offer phenomenal views, challenging climbs, and gratifying downhills. The entire lap length is about ten miles long and the race takes place on July 19th.

Bring it on at Bellevue

A group of men and women in biking outfits on bikes.

A group of cyclists at Bring it on at Bellevue. [Image: www.destateparks.com/adventure-race/media/index.asp]

Delaware’s Bellevue State Park offers Bring it on at Bellevue where competitors are sure to get more than a little dirty. It’s a bike and running race on paved and unpaved trails featuring team challenges, crawls, water activities, and so much more. The 2014 race was cancelled, but stay tuned on their website for news of an upcoming event.

Bump N Grind

Riders biking up a big hill in the woods.

Tackling a hill in the Bump N Grind. [Image: www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2013/05/bump_n_grind_–_the_super_bowl.html]

One of the top mountain biking races in the country, Alabama’s Bump N Grind is a multi-day race with a whole slew of different areas of expertise to enjoy. Air downhill, cross-country, short track, and more races are available to sign up for. The competition is coming up on May 30th-May 31st at the beautiful Oak Mountain State Park.

These are just a few of the many bike races available at a state park and barely scratch the surface of the options available, more of which can be discovered by using our Pocket Ranger® mobile apps. Now is the perfect time to start biking, so head over to our Gear Store for any of your biking needs and get out on the saddle as soon as possible!

November Events Before the Snow Falls

Just because the temperatures are dropping doesn’t mean that there aren’t great outdoor November events at the state parks. From a buffalo auction to a rifle frolic, there’s plenty to do before the snow falls!

Florida

A retro, red trailer parked at a campground

Get ready to party with some Tin Can Tourists at the Vintage RV Show! [Image: www.messynessychic.com]

8th Annual Vintage RV Show
Koreshan State Historic Site
November 1, 2014

Before you winterize your RV, come out and see what RV’ing looked like years ago! At Koreshan State Historic Site’s 8th Annual Vintage RV Show, co-mingle with a thousand other RV enthusiasts and check out the wonderful and often quirky vintage RVs on display. There will also be quite a few vintage cars to check out, too. Reserve a campsite, so you can spend the weekend among fellow travelers.

Kentucky

Men dressed in period clothing carry rifles

Kentucky Riflemen [Image: parks.ky.gov]

8th Annual Tanner Station Rifle Frolic
Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park
Nov 1 & 2, 2014

We hope you’re enjoying our list of November events. Our next event takes you to Kentucky for the 8th Annual Tanner Station Rifle Frolic held at Blue Licks Battlefield State Park. This event celebrates the Kentucky flintlock rifle. In the 1780s, flintlock rifles were an essential tool used by early Kentucky settlers. This premier living history event hosts exciting, historically accurate matches that attract the best traditional flintlock shooters. High-quality prizes are awarded to winners, such as handmade knives, powder horns, and tomahawks. Many participants wear clothing that was typically worn during the Kentucky settlement period. Staff will be on hand to answer any history questions you may have. There is period camping for both vendors and participants on the grounds of Tanner’s Station. Modern camping is available at Blue Licks Battlefield State Park.

Delaware

Steamin’ Day
Auburn Heights Preserve
November 2, 2014

People ride a Stanley Steamer over a bridge

Take a ride on a Stanley Steamer [Image: northdelawhere.happeningmag.com]

Celebrating the magical age of steam, don’t miss the last Steamin’ Day of the year at Auburn Heights Preserve. Steamin’ Days features steam-powered automobiles and the world’s largest operating collection of Stanley steam cars. From the vintage popper, pick up a bag of fresh steam-popped popcorn, and watch the Firing Up Demonstration to see just how the Stanley cars are put in motion. Then, hop on for a historic ride in one of the antique automobiles. The Marshall Steam Museum offers a hands-on engine display, activities for the kids, and a working 1930s Lionel electric trains display. There are also tours of the antique-furnished Auburn Heights mansion, and rides along the Auburn Valley Railroad.

Tennessee

150th Anniversary Battle of Johnsonville
Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park and
Johnsonville State Historic Park
October 31 – November 5, 2014

Union soldier shows visitors currency

Image: press.tnvacation.com

Not just for history buffs, the Anniversary Battle of Johnsonville held at Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park  and Johnsonville State Park has something for everyone. On November 4, 1864, Confederate troops under Nathan Bedford Forrest attacked the Union supply base at Johnsonville, causing immense damage to Union artillery and transports. This Civil War battle will be commemorated with cannon fire, artillery and infantry firing demonstrations, period civilian activities, and cavalry demonstrations. The park will recreate a 19th century Halloween; near the Crockett Cemetery, experience the same storytelling and fortune-telling games the troops told and played by the campfire. Other weekend activities will include pontoon boat rides, Civil War art, and BBQ.

Georgia

Syrup Makin’ Time on the Plantation
Jarrell Plantation Historic Site
November 8, 2014

A syrup-making demonstration using an old mill

Making syrup from sugar cane [Image: jcnews.com]

In the red clay hills of Georgia, step back in time and enjoy a traditional syrup cookoff at Jarrell Plantation Historic Site. The entire process of crushing and cooking the sugar cane with a steam engine and then boiling the juice can take around six hours. Spend some of that time watching the sugaring demonstrations, and sampling the sugar juice and stalks. Stroll through the plantation, and watch as volunteers dressed in period clothing demonstrate various farm tasks, such as woodstove cooking, storytelling, crafting, and tending farm animals. Jarrell Plantation is a great example of a “middle class” Southern plantation, with many of the original buildings and artifacts of the Jarrell family still intact. Explore the historic cotton plantation houses, sawmill, gristmill, blacksmith and carpenter shops, gardens and visitor center.

South Dakota

Fall Buffalo Auction
Custer State Park
November 15, 2014

People bid on a wild buffalo in a corral--one of the greatest November events

Name your price at the Buffalo Auction [Image: gfp.sd.gov]

Looking to start your own buffalo herd? Earlier this fall, there was a rousing bison round-up at Custer State Park. Now, the park will auction off a portion of their herd, between 250 and 400 head. By auctioning off a portion of the herd to the general public, the park ensures that herd numbers are kept in balance with available rangeland forage. Funds from the auction all support the state park system. The auction includes calves, heifers, bred heifers, mature cows and bulls, and even wild burros.

Suggested Gear List:

  • Binoculars
  • Backpacks
  • Camera
  • Hats

Check out our Pocket Ranger® Gear Store for these items and much more!

Your State’s Flower

If you are a person who adores flowers, then you will be interested to know what flower belongs to your state. When you are out in your state park, try to spot one of these flowers and share your photos on our Pocket Ranger® social media channels. Here are some of our favorite state flowers. Coincidentally, we happen to have apps for these states!

Alabama

Camellia on green shrubs

Image: www.mooseyscountrygarden.com

The flower that belongs to this state is called a camellia. Camellias are evergreen shrubs and small trees that grow in slightly acidic soils with humus and good drainage. They usually grow 1 to 12 centimeters in all seasons and they range from white to pink to red.

Connecticut

Pink and white mountain laurels on green shrubs

Image: breathtaking-blog.blogspot.com

The mountain laurel is this state’s flower. These grow in large, rounded mounds and have dark green foliage that remains on the plant all year. In late spring, it bears clusters of flowers in white, pink, and red. Mountain laurels prefer moist grounds and they grow up to 10 feet in height. They also tolerate full sun in moist soil, although they do grow better in partial shade if the soil gets dry.

Delaware

Pink Peach Blossoms on tree branch

Image: shampitaaa.deviantart.com

Delaware is the state of the peach blossoms. These flowers blossom in early spring. They range in color from very light pink to red and lavender depending on the cultivar. The peach blossom is 2.5 to 3 centimeters in diameter with five petals. It’s striking against with the tree’s bark.

Florida

Orange Blossom with flower

Image: www.humanflowerproject.com

This state is known to be the sunshine state but it is also the home of the orange blossom. The orange blossom is an evergreen tree that grows to the height of 20 to 30 feet. It can be found blooming all year round in Florida, which means more oranges!

Kentucky

Yellow Goldenrod with green leaves

Image: ztona.org

Goldenrod flowers are Kentucky’s state flowers! It is a perennial plant that is known for its healing properties. It has a long wood stem with spiky tooth-like parts and have yellow flowers that grow in thick clusters and they grow up to 12 inches. The yellow parts of the plant can be used in salads and the leaves can be cooked like spinach or added to soups, stews, or even casseroles.

Missouri

Pink Hawthorn Tree

Image: theconstantharper.com

This state’s flower is the hawthorn. It is a small tree or shrub that grows 6 to 30 feet tall in spring and early summer. The flowers are grouped in broad, dense, flat-topped clusters and resemble cherry or apple blossoms. The petals are usually white or pink. Its abundant red berries attract birds and other animals. Hawthorn is one of the oldest medical plants and it has been used to treat heart problems.

Montana

Pink Bitterroot flowers between rocks

Image: www.flickr.com

Bitterroot is the name of the flower that belongs to this state. This perennial flower is a small, low plant growing only one to three centimeters in height, with pink or white petals and leafless steams. Bitterroots grow on gravelly to heavy, usually dry soil. They are best grown in full sun and where summer rains are abundant.

New York

Red Roses with green leaves

Image: www.colourbox.com

New York is the state of the rose. Roses come in many different shades and colors. They can be seen in gardens and vineyards. Some varieties are known for their prickles along the stems of the plant, which are used to deter predators. They also grow 6 to 8 inches in height. Roses should be planted between November and February and they are available all year round. Roses are considered to be a symbol of love, of course!

Texas

Blue Bonnet with leaves

Image: keeparlingtonbeautiful.com

Feast your eyes on the bluebonnet. This flower blooms in early spring and it grows in stalks about 8 to 12 centimeters long. They are resistant to cold weather and rarely freeze at night. Bluebonnets need time to flower and must be planted in late September or October to ensure that they will bloom in the spring. The cold weather makes the roots develop and the warmer weather allows the seeds to germinate.

Utah

White sego lilies in grass

Image: www.ksl.com

Utah’s state flower is the sego lily. Sego lilies prefer open grass or sage lands and do not need soil to be moist, but they do need depth to spread their roots. This flower blooms in late summer and consists of three large, white, tulip-like petals, which curve upwards and resemble a cup-like structure. They grow up to 6 to 8 inches in height.

Wisconsin

Wood Violet with green leaves

Image: www.tramperstrail.com

Wood violet is this state’s flower. They are irregular in shape and their colors range from deep blue/purple to violet. Sometimes they are white with blue markings. Wood violets have five petals in which the lower ones are longer and the two petals have fine hairs. These flowers bloom in early spring and fall. They also grow up to 4 to 8 inches.

Wyoming

Pink and purple indian paintbrush with butterfly

Image: andrewcarrell1969.deviantart.com

Wyoming is the state of the Indian paintbrush. These flowers are set in clusters and they are known for removing metal toxins from the soil. The roots intertwine with other plants like grasses or sagebrush in order to maintain nourishment. The Indian paintbrush is a perennial, but in some species, they are annuals. They range in colors from red, orange, yellow, and white and they grow 15 to 60 centimeters high.

Garden of flowers

Image: www.973thedawg.com

While you are out in your state park admiring these flowers, you may also have the chance to view wildlife that is attracted to these specific flowers. Download your state’s Pocket Ranger® app to see wildlife that exist in the state park you are visiting. Also, check out more state apps that we have!

June 2014’s Best State Park Events

Two Adirondack chairs on deck, lake, forest

Image: blog.weneedavacation.com

Looking for something to kick off your summer? Here are five rousing state park events that we think will fit the bill:

Three Rivers Arts Festival, Point State Park, Pennsylvania, crowds, music, festival, summer, river, trees, audience, park, green

Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pennsylvania [Image: www.3riversartsfest.org]

Three Rivers Arts Festival
Point State Park, Pennsylvania
June 6-15, 2014

For 10 glorious days, this large, bustling art and performing arts fair takes over Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh. Listen to top-notch touring musicians, behold the work of acclaimed visual artists, and participate in creative hands-on activities and art installations. Best part about the Three Rivers Arts Festival? It’s free! Artwork from over 1,000 artists will also be on display, and this year’s top performers include: Lucinda Williams, Jeff Tweedy, Sam Bush, Amos Lee, and Trampled by Turtles. When your ears have had enough music for the day, make sure to check out Point State Park’s iconic, 100-foot tall fountain. Better yet, use Pocket Ranger®’s Official Guide for Pennsylvania State Parks & Forests to take a photo waypoint selfie in front of it to share with all of your Facebook and Twitter friends.

 

Map of 400 Mile Yard Sale, Kentucky

Image: www.kylandsales.com

“400 Mile Sale” Yard Sale
Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park, Kentucky
June 5-8, 2014

Get your bargain-finding game face on! From June 5th – June 8th, Kentucky will burst at the seams with yard sale goodies across 400 miles of its scenic and historic Highway 68. Camp at Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park to put yourself at the heart of the thrifting. Not sure if you’re ready to pay for a treasure you’ve uncovered at one of the hundreds of yard sale tables? Mark it as a waypoint using Pocket Ranger®’s Official Guide for Kentucky State Parks, so you can find your way back to it at the end of the day! While in the area, don your leather jacket for the Elkton Bike Night or pull on the family tartan for the Highland Scottish Games in Barren River State Park. And don’t forget to pick up your 400 Mile Sale t-shirt! There’s a limited supply of them!

Utah Lake Festival, Utah, mountains, lake, lawn, summer, boat, tents, forest

Utah Lake Festival, Utah [image: www.enjoyutah.org]

Utah Lake Festival
Utah Lake State Park, Utah
Saturday June 7, 2014

Like boats? How about scenic mountain views? How about a boat tour on a lake with scenic mountain views? The 10th Annual Utah Lake Festival at Utah Lake State Park has all of that and more. With a unique boat show, sailboat regatta, lake tours, and activities for the kids, there’s something for everyone at this festival. Admission is free, and in past years, we’ve heard the park’s provided free hot dogs and popcorn!

World’s Largest Swimming Lesson, Killens Pond Water Park, Delaware, bathing suits, pool, kids, summer, lifeguards

World’s Largest Swimming Lesson, Delaware [Image: catodayblog.wordpress.com]

World’s Largest Swimming Lesson
Killens Pond Water Park, Delaware
June 20, 2014

Wanna help break a Guinness World Record? Killens Pond Water Park will host the “World’s Largest Swimming Lesson” with the hopes of breaking the Guinness World Record for largest simultaneous swimming lesson conducted. This event is part of a global effort to raise awareness and encourage education for drowning prevention. In 2011, over 20,000 people representing 15 different countries participated! The lesson lasts 30 minutes; after that, spend the day lounging poolside. Or take a spin on Killens Pond State Park‘s new twisty pool slide!

Barnegat Lighthouse, New Jersey , dusk, sunset, sky, light, bridge, ocean

Barnegat Lighthouse, New Jersey [Image: www.familyvacationcritic.com]

Lighthouse Campfire
Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, New Jersey
June 28, 2014

What better way to close the month of June than on a sandy beach making s’mores and listening to live music with friends? On June 28th, listen to the Basement Musicians Guild play some country and folk favorites and take an evening stroll down the beach. Afterwards, climb to the top of Barnegat Lighthouse for the best view of the night sky. You’ll be glad you did.

Spring Hiking at Delaware’s White Clay Creek State Park

Contributed by Katie Levy, Adventure-Inspired

One of my favorite things about spending time outdoors is the fact that there’s always something new to discover. You’d think that living in a major metropolitan area would limit my ability to find new places to play outside close to home, but after nearly eight years in Philadelphia, I’m still discovering nearby state parks.

A few weekends ago, I visited Delaware’s White Clay Creek State Park for the first time. I loved it so much that I went back the following weekend. Located just north of Newark, about an hour from Philadelphia, White Clay Creek’s 3,300 acres provide a multitude of opportunities for a variety of activities.

Things to Do

Chestnut Hill Trail

Chestnut Hill Trail

The park’s scenic trails were what drew my hiking partner and me to White Clay Creek State Park for two weekends. On our first visit, we parked at a small fee-free pullout on Creek Road near the edge of the University of Delaware’s campus. We followed the wide, flat White Clay Creek and Tri-Valley trails around the edges of the creek, which was muddy as a result of spring’s impending arrival. We found traces of snow and ice left over from cold winter days and nights. It was a perfect, leisurely afternoon walk.

Judge Morris Estate

Judge Morris Estate

For our second visit, we parked near the beautiful Judge Morris Estate off of Polly Drummond Road. The house, built in the late 1700s, is the former home of Judge Hugh M. Morris. Tours are available, but our goal was to explore the trails near the estate on a short hike. We followed the Chestnut Hill trail, a 3.3 mile loop, through the woods behind Judge Morris’s house. The trail, which ranges from a 5% grade up to 25%, was predictably muddy, but signs of spring were visible everywhere.

My hiking partner and I didn’t even see a third of what’s available in the park over two weekends, and I’m excited to go back! In addition to over 30 miles of hiking trails, White Clay Creek State Park is known among my circle of friends as an ideal mountain biking destination. The park is also home to a nature center, fishing spots in appropriate seasons, picnicking opportunities, and even allows hunting in certain cases. In addition to the trails and other features covered above, the park also has horseshoe pits, a nature store, a playground, restrooms, and a volleyball court available for visitors.

Things to Know Before You Go

White Clay Creek State Park and White Clay Creek Preserve are day-use areas and are open from 8:00 am to sunset daily. If you’re planning to visit the Judge Morris Estate, or park in any of the large parking lots, be aware that some parking lots require a small fee.

Download the Delaware State Parks Pocket Ranger® App before you leave with you. Maps are also also available at the park office at 750 Thompson Station Road, Newark, DE. You can keep up with all park happenings via their Facebook page.

If you’re biking, be sure that the trail you choose is a multi-use trail. The trails are also pretty muddy in the spring. In an effort to prevent erosion and to keep the trails in good condition, wait until things dry up a bit before you head out.

Overall, I can’t wait to see the rest of White Clay Creek State Park. If you’ve been to White Clay Creek, what are some of your favorite activities? What should I do on my next visit?