Have you always wanted to go backpacking, but didn't know where to begin? Well now you can get some help through your local state parks. This summer, join Outdoor Recreation Coordinator for the Southern Region of state parks to learn about backpacking with the Introduction to Backpacking Series.
The series will consist of an introductory meeting, four daylong hikes and two overnight opportunities. This is intended to teach you what you need to know to have a safe and enjoyable backpacking trip. The backpacking trips will travel to different trails throughout the eastern part of the Alleghenies region. By the time the series is done, you will be ready to take on the trails on your own or look for occasional backpacking trips through the state parks. This series is for participants 16 years of age and older. Participants under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
In April there will be a meeting to introduce people to the program. The meetings will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. April 21 at Shawnee State Park at the East Beach Pavilion and 1 to 4 p.m. April 28 at Canoe Creek State Park in the Wentz Education Center Classroom.
During these meetings, participants will learn about the series and will be able to pick up informational packets. They also will learn about preparing their bodies for a backpacking trip, planning a trip, choosing gear, packing a backpack and Leave No Trace. The introductory meeting is free, but registration is encouraged by going to the DCNR calendar (visitPAparks.
com and clicking on the calendar of events link) and clicking on the event. Participants also may register by emailing Gbarner@pa.gov or by calling 733-2203.
From May through the end of summer, there will be one daylong backpacking trip each month. Each trip will be on a different trail and have a different topic. Equipment will be provided or you can bring your own. Each day hike trip will have a cost of $25. The non-refundable fee will provide participants with a trail lunch and some take-home equipment for backpacking. Registration is required. Day trips include May 19 at Shawnee State Park, June 2 at Prince Gallitzin State Park, July 8 at Cowans Gap and July 29 at Trough Creek State Park.
Two overnight trips are planned. The trip in September will be the last learning trip in the series with the October trip being a fall foliage trip. These trips will have a larger cost because participants will be getting take-home equipment, one breakfast, two lunches and a dinner. Participants that have attended all of the day hikes will receive a discount which is has yet to be determined. Overnight trips will be held Sept. 15 to 16 at Gallitzin State Forest and Oct. 13 to 14 at Mid-state Trail from Greenwood Furnace to Penn Roosevelt and back. Registration is required
For more information about any of the programs, visit www.visitPAparks.com and click on the calendar of events link. Choose backpacking for the activity and choose the program. Anyone interested in the programs may call George Barner at the State Parks Southern Region Office at 733-2203 or email Gbarner@pa.gov.