ME – Maine’s Katahdin is forever wild

OH – Women in the outdoors

83 learn skills during Ohio Women’s Outdoor Adventure

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    Instructor Cindy Orth teaches a group of women on how to paddle a kayak.

The moment a flame was detected, Heather Franks broke into what she referred to as her “happy dance.” Building a fire with flint and without the use of matches is cause for celebration, especially when the flame rises during a workshop at the Ohio Women’s Outdoor Adventure.

“Before I got there, I couldn’t do that to save my life, but we built a fire,” the 37-year-old from Findlay said. “Me and the gal beside me were pretty happy. We learned a new skill, and we did it in a really fun environment.”

The event took place recently at Maumee Bay State Park, and 83 women of all ages and backgrounds went through sessions on archery, fishing, backpacking, standup paddleboarding, and many other outdoors skills.

“It was all women, and it was so much fun,” Ms. Franks said. “It was a relaxed atmosphere where we could face new challenges and try our luck at a bunch of different outdoor activities.”

Valerie Cox from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said the outdoors for women workshops have been very successful and wildly popular. In the three years the program has been in operation, 250 women have taken part. Registration for this year’s program was full in less than 24 hours.

“It’s an opportunity to meet other women with similar interests and then share the experience with them,” Ms. Franks said. “A lot of my friends don’t have the same interest as I do in these outdoors activities, but this brought women who enjoy the outdoors together.”

Jennifer Warnement of Perrysburg got connected with the OWOA event at Maumee Bay through her sister.

“Growing up, we were always doing things outdoors. We loved being around the water and hiking, and we still love those things, so this day of outdoors adventures was ideal for us,” she said. Ms. Warnement, 41, took part in the kayaking, standup paddleboarding, and archery and also learned how to make maple syrup.

“It is just a better learning environment when it is all women, and that is definitely one of the reasons I went,” she said. “When it’s all women, everyone is a little more relaxed and it’s a better situation for bonding, I believe. I was new to the kayaking and paddleboarding, and those turned out to be a lot of fun.”

Ms. Warnement said she had not picked up a bow since attending 4-H camp as a kid, but she shot both a compound bow and a crossbow in the archery workshop. While she does not expect to shoot much on her own, she has been kayaking a couple of times since the event, testing her recently acquired skills.

“The instructors were all awesome — very patient and very thorough with us — and I think that makes it much easier to pick up something new,” she said. “There is a lot to learn, but I loved it. If I go again, I want to try the power boat course and the personal watercraft (jet ski) sessions.”

Ms. Franks said the sailing and paddleboarding workshops introduced her to outdoors skills that she might previously had been hesitant to pick up.

“I’ve had this weird fear of water all my life, and to actually get out there and do those things was awesome,” she said. “I told my husband I want a Hobie Cat (sailboat) and a paddleboard for Christmas. But he said I’ll have to pick just one of those.”

Governors Support Capital Campouts

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Indiana Governor and Capital Campout host Mike Pence is now the Republican Vice Presidential Candidate! In June 2016, Governor Pence hosted his second Capital Campout for Indiana youth in Indianapolis at Fort Harrison State Park. He took the campers on a “Hike with Mike” to celebrate Indiana’s trail system. To see photos and how other Governors celebrated Great Outdoors Month 2016, visit: http://www.greatoutdoorsmonth.org/#!capital-campouts/cb41

WA – New Old Time Chautauqua, State Parks team up to host summer events

A very interesting summer interpretive program happening in Washington!

Events take place in seven state parks and nearby communities

OLYMPIA – June 3, 2016– The New Old Time Chautauqua (NOTC), America’s only traveling or circuit Chautauqua, is joining forces with Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission for a 2016 summer tour of seven state parks and nearby communities.Chautauquas were based on the idea that learning continued throughout life. The Chautauqua Movement began in 1874, bringing a mix of education and entertainment to communities throughout the nation. When a Chautauqua came to town, all normal activity stopped as citizens dedicated a week of their lives to learn, be entertained and join with their community.

“The idea of the Chautauqua-Parks partnership is to renew ties and to foster goodwill between the towns and their local state parks,” said Paul Magid, founding member of the NOTC and The Flying Karamazov Brothers. “Chautauquas and Washington Parks share common goals: to promote community through education and experience by being a catalyst for cultural and creative exchange surrounded by the beauty of nature.”

“Chautauquas were always held in an idyllic setting—among the trees, by a shore, or in a park—which is why this partnership is such a natural fit,” said Debbie Fant, Coordinator for the State Parks Folk & Traditional Arts Program. “And each park on the tour can tell its own story in workshops led by local experts.”

Each Chautauqua takes place over several days, with events occurring one day in the nearby town and another day in the state park. Each Chautauqua includes entertaining and educational workshops in parks and towns, a community potluck in each state park, live music, speakers and a grand parade—community participation encouraged—through the town. Each Chautauqua comes to a close with a family-friendly finale featuring Broadway stars, a big band, aerialists, comedians, jugglers and more.

Presss release

More on Chautauqua

SC – Sea turtles finding SC beaches more often for nesting

Kids to Parks Day 2016 Breaks Records!

Kids to Parks Day 2016 Breaks Records!

Saturday, May 21st was a record breaking Kids to Parks Day with more than 731,000 participants at 1,137 park events in 50 states and Washington D.C.

Event Distribution

  • –  State Park Events           651 (55% increase)
  • –  Local Park Events          252 (18% increase)
  • –  National Park Events    234 (54% increase)

Special thanks to Grace Lee and the NPT for all the coordination.

TN – Long Hunter debuts Reading Ranger Story Trail

Long Hunter debuts Reading Ranger Story Trail

Long Hunter State Park ranger Leslie Anne Rawlings stands beside one of the signs on the new Reading Ranger Story Trail and peruses Marianne Berkes’ Over in the Forest: Come and Take a Peek. The state park will play host to the grand opening of the Story Trail at 11 a.m. Saturday. Photo submitted

Hey, mom and dad. What would you think about taking your kid or kiddos on a short hike where, along the pathway, colorful illustrations teach your youngsters about the creatures that inhabit the neighborhood?

Long Hunter State Park has just the place. The Reading Ranger Story Trail, which debuts at 11 a.m. Saturday, pairs Mother Nature with literacy and exercise and challenges your kids to stretch their legs and imaginations.

The brainchild of Long Hunter park ranger Leslie Anne Rawlings, the Story Trail shares Marianne Berkes‘ children’s book Over in the Forest: Come and Take a Peek. It features 10 colorful signs depicting deer, possums, turkeys, box turtles, squirrels, woodpeckers, raccoons, skunks, red fox and beaver–all critters that live in the park–and even shows their little tracks.

The Reading Ranger Story Trail is also a first for Tennessee State Parks, a coup for Long Hunter.

LHSP the perfect location

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Yurts Available in Georgia!

Very cool! If you live in Georgia don’t want to camp in a tent, you might be able to camp in a yurt instead! Check out this article for more information, and learn how to reserve a yurt by visiting the Georgia State Park website here: http://gastateparks.org/Yurts