Connecting PA Trails

Did you know, “One of the seven major recommendations of the State Outdoor Recreation Plan is to “Close priority trail gaps in Pennsylvania’s statewide land and water trail network with the overall goal of having a trail within 10 minutes of every Pennsylvanian.” Inside the  Pennsylvania Land and Water Trail Network Strategic Plan (PDF). You’ll find a ” blueprint for state and local governments, trail providers, and other stakeholders to guide Pennsylvania’s trail stewardship and expansion for the next five years.” Read more


Birding By Boat This Sat

Laurel Hill State Park is offering a Birding By Boat experience, Sat 9am to 10:30am! YOU NEED TO REGISTER AND BRING YOUR OWN GEAR! Enjoy a morning paddle surrounded by birdsongs and meet some new friends!



The outdoors have many pests! Ticks are one of the worst! They are sooo small YOU have to really look for them or deal with the possibility of Lyme disease.  Here’s more from the DCNR resource newsletter,

Bug, insect, tick, cloth, fabric
Be Prepared and Proactive to Avoid Ticks
DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell, and Pennsylvania Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam reminded Pennsylvanians that tick-borne diseases are present across the state, and encouraged residents to seek treatment if they have been bitten by a tick and provided tips to prevent tick bites from occurring.
Pennsylvania residents and visitors can take simple steps to reduce their chances of being bitten by ticks by:
  • Covering exposed skin with lightweight and light-colored clothing
  • Avoiding tick-infested habitats such as areas dense with shrubbery or tall grass
  • Using an EPA-approved insect repellent
  • Immediately checking yourself, children, and pets for ticks once returning home
  • Taking a shower immediately to remove ticks that may be crawling on skin
  • Drying clothing and gear in a dryer to kill any ticks
“Taking these precautions and safeguards are important in ensuring an experience free of tick-borne diseases. DCNR remains committed to informing the public and equipping our employees with the necessary tools to address tick bites,” DCNR Secretary Dunn said.


Harder Than It Looks

Harder Than it Looks.
by patmccloskey

Janet and I had a nice bicycle ride this weekend up at Lake Arthur. As we sat on a bench and looked at the nice scene you see above, we admired the skill of the sailors who were piloting their sailboats, catamarans, and wind surfers. We observed some folks attempting to wind surf who had elementary skills and after a while, we realized that wind surfing is harder than it looks. Probably not unlike a lot of things with a steep learning curve until you get the hang of it. As my mind drifted in the hot sun and pleasant scenery, I went back to my earlier adventures in life, trying to pilot water craft. Not too successful.

Take whitewater rafting. Now I had always gone on whitewater rafting trips on the Yough and Gauley Rivers around here, but always had been a passenger and did what the guide told us to do. Kind of fun but basically along for the ride. One day, my father in law thought it would be a good idea to do the Youghiogheny River with my mother in law and my wife. He ended up in a raft with some other guys and I had my own raft with my mother in law and Janet. They looked at me skeptically when I said I knew what I was doing and we pushed off and paddled downstream with a look of excitement and wonder as the whitecaps began to lap up against the raft. We were doing fine until we came to the famous Dimple Rock which has been the demise of many canoes and water craft with a tough eddy current up against the rock and a designated route around it outlined by the outfitters at the beginning of the trip. I saw a bent canoe hanging from the rocks on the left bank and knew that we were approaching the challenge. I told my mother in law and my wife to keep paddling and I would try to steer us in the recommended direction of the current. Unfortunately, we zigged where we should have zagged and somehow I managed to get the raft out of the current and basically in the direction we wanted to go. And then the unthinkable for my MIL and my wife. I flipped out of the back of the raft and was on my back floating down “Swimmers Rapids” trying to hail them down. My wife apparently kept paddling with my MIL and then after a while of no response to questions like ” where do we go now?”, they realized that I was not in the raft. Janet screamed at her mom and said, ” He’s not here.” To which the MIL responded” Oh get out, you don’t know what you are talking about.” She then looked back and the two ladies were on their own. After a little while, I managed to float alongside the raft and after a barrage of questions, I said, ” I will see you in a mile at the end of these rapids.” I have no problem swimming but piloting a craft is not my strong suit. We all had a laugh about that one for years.

Another foray in into the world of water craft was when I decided one year that I would like to take up kayaking on the Yough. I took a continuing education class at Pitt with outings in a swimming pool trying to roll the kayak without getting out. A necessary skill when actually kayaking on a river or stream. I never was good at that and on the field trip to the Yough as our final outing, I put on a rain suit to try to keep myself dry. Little did I know that was a worthless endeavor seeing that I was out of the kayak more than I was in it and to make matters worse, the outing was in October and it was snowing on the river. Cold is not the word for it. Something much worse, and I was never so glad to rid myself of that kayak and tell myself that the idea of being a river rat or a granola crunching paddler hanging out in Ohiopyle, Pa was not my fate. My old ski buddy, Mark Singleton, who is now the Executive Director of American Whitewater, would not be proud of me and maybe welcome me back on the river for some lessons and maybe some redemption. But any trip to North Carolina to visit him would be on two knobby tires on trails and not on the river rapids of the south.

I had a few close calls on the water that were not my fault. One was on a boat offshore at Martha’s Vineyard where a friend of my in-laws, piloting the boat, went down into the hold to get some nautical maps I believe, and we were drifting precariously close to a large buoy. I was just about to grab the wheel when the guy came up, screamed, ” Holy S@#$”, and then just avoided what would have been a bad collision seeing that the base of the buoy was made of concrete. I can just see it now, all of us hanging on the buoy waiting for the Coast Guard as the boat would have surely sunk. The second was on the river here on a party boat with a bunch of ex football players. The weight in that boat had us very close to the water surface and I looked at my one friend and said, ” make sure you have your wallet and car keys within reach because when this thing sinks, we need to be ready to swim to shore and have our belongings” Fortunately, we were able to get off the boat before a collision with another boat and a close call with the walls of a lock on the river.

My mind drifted back as Janet said, ” time to go.” As we mounted our bikes, I took a final look at the sailboats, wind surfers, and other pilots of the water and said to myself, ” that is not for me, but it is nice to watch.” I will be a spectator for sure. Thanks for reading but don’t let me dismay you. If you want to try something new, go for it. It would be cool to know how to do it.
patmccloskey | June 8, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Tags: American Whitewater, Youghiogheny River | Categories: Exercise, Humor, kayaking, outdoor activities, outdoor sports, recreation, Uncategorized, White water rafting | URL:
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Thank you Pat for sharing your water memories. Wags


Trout Trail Fly-Fishing March 21

Trout Trail Event Planned

The 4th annual Laurel Highlands Trout Trail will hold an opening reception at 7 p.m. March 21 at the Lincoln Highway Experience.  The evening will start with a presentation by Leo Vense, a premiere fly-fishing guide, and includes a short fishing DVD; an exhibit of vintage fly-fishing rods and reels; demonstrations by Ken Vallino and Scott Minster, whiz fly-tiers; and a sampling of juried artisan items with a trout theme.

The program, for $10 per person, includes craft beers, select wines, and assorted appetizers. To register, visit the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor at, click on Gift Shop, then Event Tickets.

The Trout Trail was recently listed on VisitPA’s Ten Places to Fish promotion!


Rubber Ducky Fund Raiser & FREE Children’s Fishing Day

Mountain Watershed Association is hosting a free children’s fishing day and a Rubber Ducky Race fundraiser on Saturday October 4, 2014 at Resh Park in Indian Head, PA.

The fun starts at 10:00 a.m. when the fishing starts. Kids ages 12 and under can participate with adult supervision. This event is FREE of charge. There will be a break in the fishing action for lunch, which is provided, around 11:45 and door prize winners will be announced. Participants must bring their own rod, tackle, and bait. All participants will be entered into the Door Prize drawing. Pre-registration is not required, but would be appreciated.

During the fishing day MWA will host its annual Rubber Ducky Race at 1:30 p.m. when 1,000 rubber duckies will be released and will race down Indian Creek. For a donation of $5, you can have two chances to win. Prizes include: 1st Prize-$500, 2nd Prize-$250, 3rd Prize-$150, 4th Prize-$100, and Last Duck-$50. Ticket holders need not be present to win and proceeds will benefit the Children’s Fishing Day. Tickets are being sold at the MWA office, G&D Market, Donegal Pharmacy, Brady’s Restaurant, Love Laugh Learn Daycare, Tall Cedars, TJ’s Restaurant, Ritenour Sporting Goods, B&G Bait Shop, Sheri Bukovac Bookkeeping, and Indian Creek Valley Water Authority.

For more information, or to pre-register for the fishing day, please contact Carla at the Mountain Watershed Association: (724) 455-4200, extension 3#, or


Lifestyles Map in Information Tab

Laurel Highlands Living has a activities and life style mapping feature on the activities page in the Information Tab. This map uses google maps for its backdrop and adds local dining, activities, entertainment, and attractions. The default map opens with these amenities already loaded, but users can expand the map to included information about schools, zip codes, shopping, and much more. Any vendor who would like to be on this map and is not can enter their information on, the source for the activities information.
[spatialmatch_map id=1 width=100% height=650]


Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape Initiative

This is the latest newsletter from the Conservation Landscape Initiative, established about 2010 by PA DCNR to help small communities in the planning of conservation efforts in their area. As we are are striving to keep our natural resources intact and improve the area in the Laurel Highlands we thought this would be good information. Newsletter talks about effects of natural gas drilling, Stoney Creek, and more.


Conservation Coalition FOCUS ON WATER

Tomorrow is the deadline for registration to the Laurel Highlands Conservations Coalition’s April 23 conference with an emphasis on the declining water supplies from the perspective of an international scientist and local conservationists. Dr. Leonard Konikow of the U.S. Geological Survey is the keynote speaker. The afternoon will provide other topics including the efforts of the Marcellus Citizen Stewardship Project.


Laurel Highlands CLI Newsletter

This newsletter speaks to the Stonycreek being named River of the Year, the upcoming Conservation Coalition meeting, the most recent grants from the DCNR, and information from the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. This coming Labor Day there will be a bike ride on the Great Allegheny Passage. For the full story open the link Laurel Highlands CLI Newsletter


Mountain Watershed Day of Giving October 4

September 29, 2011

 Dear Friends of the Laurel Highlands,

 On October 4, 2011 the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County will hold its 2011 Day of Giving. The Day of Giving was created to encourage charitable donations in our region. Mountain Watershed Association will participate in the 2011 Day of Giving, meaning that for a 24 hour period starting October 4th at 12:00 AM your donation by credit card to MWA through the Westmoreland Gives website ( will be partially matched by the Community Foundation.

 As 2011 and the Mountain Watershed Association’s 17th year comes to a close, we continue to work toward comprehensive restoration of the Indian Creek Watershed. When we started this work in 1994, Indian Creek was a stream running orange and ravaged by abandoned mine drainage. With five passive mine drainage treatment systems now in operation and a sixth under construction, we are seeing dramatic and measurable improvements in Indian Creek.  We also continue to expand our Youghiogheny Riverkeeper program, which extends MWA’s vision of conservation, protection and restoration into the larger Youghiogheny River basin. We are currently building support and seeking funding to design and implement a comprehensive water monitoring plan in the Yough basin.

 Your support has helped to make this possible. Your donation through October 4, 2011 will work even harder as it will be partially matched by the Community Foundation for Westmoreland County. If you would like to renew your membership or make a contribution, please consider doing so on October 4, 2011 through

 Only credit card (MasterCard and Visa) donations received through during the 24 hours of October 4, 2011 (starting at 12:00 AM and ending at 11:59 PM) will be accepted and matched for this event. The Donate Now link will appear on at 12:00 a.m. on October 4, 2011.  No donations via check, cash or stock will be accepted. The minimum gift is $25. The maximum gift that an individual can give per organization is $10,000.  The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County is affiliated with The Pittsburgh Foundation. Learn more at

 Thank you for your support of the Mountain Watershed Association.


Beverly Braverman


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