A real treasure for hunting, fishing and much more – Pennsylvania's state parks
Locust Lake, Prince Gallitzin, Erie Bluffs, Ricketts Glen, Sinnemahoning, Shawnee and many others – our state parks are many and varied in what they offer. North, south, east and west – they are also located all across the commonwealth.
Visit a state park in Delaware or Maryland (and many other states) and you pay a fee. In Pennsylvania the "doors" to our parks are always open and we enjoy free access to most of the benefits.
And what a list of benefits we have! Sure, state parks are for picnicking, hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, boating and swimming, but they also offer miles of stream fishing, thousands of acres of lake fishing and many places to hunt. I have fished and hunted on state park lands many times.
While some areas of state parks are normally off limits to hunting for safety reasons, many others are open for the big and small game seasons. Shawnee and Bald Eagle state parks, for example, offer great woodcock hunting. In some parks, hunters are often used to help control deer and Canada goose populations in areas where hunting is not normally allowed. For example, special deer hunts sometimes held at Presque Isle and Bald Eagle state parks.
Want to hunt deer or geese in a Delaware state park? … Pay a fee.
I just returned from a visit to Ricketts Glen State Park (Luzerne, Sullivan and Columbia counties). This was a camping, hiking, and nature photography trip, rather than hunting or fishing. Boasting over 20 waterfalls, this is without a doubt one of our most-beautiful and most-used parks. I camped and hiked over six miles of trails and I took hundreds of photos – mostly of the fall foliage and waterfalls. Calling coyotes serenaded me to sleep at night.
The campgrounds and cabins at Ricketts Glen are often used by hunters wishing to hunt the adjacent State Game Land 57. Even in October, Ricketts Glen campgrounds were full last weekend.
Thirty years ago the facilities at many of our parks were still rather "primitive" – and regular state park users, you know what I'm talking about. Fortunately, due to continuing investments by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, this has changed for the better. Why not take advantage of what our parks have to offer? There are several near you.
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