State park offers winter fun

A cross country skier glides along the snow at the park. TIMES-SHAMROCK PHOTO/BUTCH COMEGYS

BY KEVIN WOODRUFF

The Lackawanna State Park, just south of the county time, is offering plenty of outdoor activity to get people through the frigid winter months.

The winter festivities kicked off on Jan. 1 with guided hike through the park’s miles of trails.

In addition, the hike was also open to snowshoers and cross country skiers.

Lackawanna State Park’s environmental education specialist Angela Lambert said the park is currently open for hikers, cross country skiers and snowshoers.

She noted that once the ice on Lackawanna Lake thickens up, an area of ice will be cleared near the main entrance to the park for ice skating.

For those interested in trying out snowshoes, the park offers a snowshoe loan program where members of the public can borrow snowshoes for the day in exchange for a driver’s license.

Lambert said there are snowshoes available for men, women and children.

Because of the snow so far this winter the park has seen an increase in cross country skiing and snowshoeing, however, Lambert said the most popular activity is ice fishing.

“There are some committed fishermen who come and ice fish throughout the winter,” Lambert said. “I’ve already had about a half-dozen calls from people looking for safe ice.”

The park is also open to families who would like to come and sleigh ride.

“We have a nice hill for sledding,” Lambert said.

One other activity that is gaining popularity at the park is geocaching.

“Geocaching is getting more popular here,” Lambert said. “There are several caches in the park, and we have a GPS loaner program for people who want to try it out.”

Lambert said the main goal in the winter months at the state park is just to get people outside and moving.

“We encourage people to get involved in healthy outdoor activity,” Lambert said. “It’s not costly, and it’s fun for the family.”

The next organized event taking place at the park is a Moonlight Snowshoe hike taking place on Saturday, Jan. 26, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

On Saturday, Feb. 2, Winterfest 2013 will be held at the park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature winter survival-fire and shelter building demos, how to filet your catch demos, horse drawn wagon rides, snow shoe demos, kids winter crafts, warming fires, ice safety/ice rescue demonstrations, hot food and beverages.

Then, on Sunday, Feb. 17, a family ice fishing program will be held, run by Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s Andy Fedor. The program will have an indoor session, followed by ice fishing. All equipment and bait will be provided.

For more information about programs and activities at Lackawanna State Park, call 945-3239 or visit www.visitpaparks.com.