The Lackawanna State Park is getting ready for its upcoming spring and summer season.
“The park works throughout the year to complete maintenance, prepare the park and complete projects,” said Robert Barrese, park manager. “This year, like each year prior, we will open the lower half of the campground mid-April in anticipation of the trout opener. The campground will fully open mid-May in anticipation of Memorial Day. The Saturday prior to Memorial Day, the swimming pool will open.”
Lackawanna State Park offers camping, swimming pool access, fishing, hunting, picnic areas, hiking and biking trails and boat and food concessions.
There are several volunteer opportunities at the state park such as helping with trail maintenance, planting flowers and trees, repairing footbridges and helping with environmental education.
The park will hold several programs in the spring, including the following:
■“The World of the Timber Rattlesnake” will be held Tuesday, March 12 from 7-8 p.m.
Dr. Christopher A.F. Howey, assistant professor of biology at The University of Scranton, will talk about timber rattlesnakes.
“Growing up, I was always interested in wildlife and the outdoors,” said Howey. “I would either be out on a lake fishing, hiking through the woods, watching birds or flipping over logs and picking up snakes. Much of my research revolves around conservation and in particular, how we can conserve population of these amazing reptiles. The first step in any successful conservation program begins with education of the public.”
Timber rattlesnakes are not found in the state park but are found in Northeast Pennsylvania, along with rattlesnakes and copperheads. They can range from 4-6 feet, can weigh 1-5 pounds and are either black or yellow. They eat rodents such as rats, chipmunks and squirrels.
Howey will have one on hand for the event.
“People are afraid of snakes, but they don’t have to be,” said Howey. “You can learn about them and how to identify them in the wild.”
■“Spring is in the Air” will be held Wednesday, March 20 from 7-8:30 p.m.
Event-goers can learn about the American woodcock and search the full moon twilight skies for its courtship sky dance.
This bird is one of the park’s earliest returning migrants. It has an interesting mating ritual call, dance and flight. A short indoor presentation will be followed by an outdoor search. People attending this event should dress for the weather.
■ People can join the search for an “Amphibian Adventure” on Thursday April 18 from 7-8:30 p.m.
Cheryl Nolan, Lackawanna county conservation district watershed specialist and Pennsylvania Amphibian and Reptile Survey (PARS) coordinator, will be present. Attendees will learn to use the PARS website, paherpsurvey.org, to record sightings and photos of various species. They can complete a form with information as to where the reptile or amphibian was found and how they encountered it.
To register or for more information about programs and volunteer opportunities, visit the Lackawanna state park website at events.dcnr.gov.pa or call 570-945-7110.