Get Outdoors and Play!

National Get Outdoors Day is officially June 10, 2017, but in the Allegheny National Forest of northwestern Pennsylvania, it is always … Get Outdoors Day!  Hiking trails invite you to explore on foot, and kayak rentals put you on the water. In June, the mountain laurel begins to bloom, creating an amazing carpet of pink blossoms. The Forest turns a lush, mystical green, and villages and towns come alive with the sounds of music, laughter, and families having fun during the seasonal fairs and festivals. 
 
NATIONAL GET OUTDOORS DAY
 
In the Allegheny National Forest, at the Beaver Meadows Recreation Area near Marienville, PA on June 10 from 9am-3pm, National Outdoors Day will be celebrated. Enjoy a free, fun-filled day of family activities including kayaking, hiking, fishing, campfire building, yoga and other outdoor fun! Walk, talk and paddle with the U.S. Forest Service Rangers. Bring a picnic lunch and spend the day outdoors. Directions: from the center of Marienville, take North Forest Street four miles north; Beaver Meadows Road is on the right. For more information please call the park office at 877-444-6777.
 
WHERE’S THE WATER?
 
As the days heat up, the glistening waters of the Allegheny Reservoir invite you in. Both the Allegheny Reservoir and the Allegheny River offer miles of on-water experiences.  You can rent a kayak, canoe and other equipment at Willow Bay and put in the water right from their boat launch. If you already have your own kayak or canoe, a full list of boat launches on the Allegheny River can be found at alleghenysite.com/category/boat-launches.  
 
If you need advice on purchasing a kayak or canoe, the experienced staff at Sportsman’s Outlet (500 Chestnut Street, Bradford, PA) are local outdoorsmen who can assist you in finding the right fit - both in size and in price. They also offer a wide selection of fishing equipment, and you can purchase a 1, 3 or 7-day tourism fishing license at their shop. Head to shopsportsmansoutlet.com.
 
EXPLORE ON FOOT
 
A favorite hiking trail for families is the Timberdoodle Flats Interpretive Trail. This trail consists of two trail loops totaling 1.5 miles. The timberdoodle is the nickname of the American woodcock, one of the many birds you might get a glimpse of along the trail. The Woodcock Loop is marked with a yellow woodcock insignia and features 12 interpretive stops. The shorter Bluebird Trail features six interpretive stops and is suitable for wheelchairs, walking assistance equipment, or children in strollers. Timberdoodle Trail is great for casual hikers, parents with children, and beginning birders. From Bradford, travel south on Rt. 219 to the intersection of Rt. 59, turn and travel west, then watch for the large trail sign which will mark trailhead parking.
 
KINZUA SKY WALK
 
For a great day outdoors, bring the family to Kinzua Bridge State Park in Mt. Jewett, PA. This free, day-use park is the home of the spectacular Kinzua Sky Walk. One of the most fantastic hikes you will ever experience is a stroll on the amazing Kinzua Sky Walk, which has been labeled as one of the world’s top 10 most scenic skywalks and viewpoints in the world according to The Culture Trip-U.K. Extending 624 feet into the Kinzua Gorge at a height of 225 feet, the views from the skywalk of the surrounding Kinzua Gorge are stunning. 
 
First built in 1881, the Kinzua Viaduct was once the highest and longest railroad viaduct in the world. In 2003, a tornado ripped through the valley and partially destroyed the historic viaduct, sending 11 of the 20 towers crashing to the valley floor. Using six of the viaduct’s steel towers and the original railroad tracks from the surface of the historic structure, a new skywalk was created.  Now the tracks lead the way to a partial glass observation deck from which you can view the fallen towers. “Walking the Tracks across the Sky” is a thrilling adventure.
 
The new Kinzua Bridge Visitors Center contains a wide variety of interactive displays, including a replica railroad car where you can sit and watch a film of what it was actually like to cross the original viaduct by steam engine. The Kinzua Bridge Scenic Byway, which is the access road to the park, is a shared use road for bicyclists. This family friendly park also features picnic areas and a hiking trail to the bottom of the gorge.
 
KINZUA CREEK TRAIL
 
Not for the faint of heart, this challenging trail winds down the side of the Kinzua Gorge. At the bottom of the gorge you can view the fallen towers of the Kinzua Viaduct from a remarkable viewpoint. What looked small, when viewed from above, are now gigantic steel towers. Huge concrete structures which once held the massive towers now stand empty.  Access to the trail is from the pathway between the skywalk and the wooden overlook at the Kinzua Bridge State Park. This is a difficult trail and sturdy hiking boots should be worn, even more challenging than the hike down, is the hike back up.
 
Open daily from 8am to sunset, the park is located at 296 Viaduct Road, Mt. Jewett, PA. The Kinzua Bridge Visitors Center is open from 8-6pm. Learn more at visitanf.com/kinzua-bridge-visitor-center.
 
CHRISTIAN MUSIC WORSHIP AT OLMSTED MANOR
 
The Music and Worship Workshop held June 25-29 is perfect for those who lead or participate in church music programs. This retreat will provide continuing education for musicians of all skill levels to come together and refine their musical talents. You will “Sing to the Lord” as the use of music, story and dance in worship are celebrated.​ Participants will enjoy sessions in choral music, hand bells, organ, and liturgical dance. Bible study and prayer times will be offered each day. 
 
On Wednesday, participants will join together in an evening of music offered to God and the community at First UMC Kane. After the service, participants will return to Olmsted for a traditional cabaret, a fun time to appreciate each other’s gifts and talents.
 
Olmsted Manor Retreat Center is located at 17 E. Main Street, Ludlow, PA. For more information please call 814-945-6512 or go to olmstedmanor.org.
 
FUN FAIRS AND FESTIVALS IN THE FOREST
 
Beginning with the region’s signature juried artisan event, Art in the Wilds, you will find fairs, concerts, and festivals throughout the summer. The 11th annual Art in the Wilds will be held June 24-25, daily from 10am-5pm at Evergreen Park in Kane, PA. Acclaimed as the premier artisan event within the geographic region of the Pennsylvania Wilds, the show will feature acrylics, oils, leather, wood, watercolors, glass, jewelry, drawing, pastels, clay, porcelain, fabric and fiber and photography. Artisan demonstrations will be held on Sunday. Admission and parking are free. Flip to the next page for a closer look at this year’s Art in the Wilds event, or go to artinthewilds.org.
 
During the months of June, July and August in the village of Port Allegany along scenic Pennsylvania Route 6, Town Square Concerts featuring a variety of live musical entertainment starts at 6pm on Thursday evenings. Admission is free; be sure to bring a lawn chair or blanket to set on the lawn. Find this year’s line-up at townsquareconcerts.com.
 
A map featuring locations and dates for upcoming fairs and festivals is printed on page 16; pull it out and keep it handy for future planning!
 
PLAN YOUR TRIP
 
To receive a useful, convenient visitors guide full of maps, attractions, restaurants and other things to see and do in the Allegheny National Forest Region, please call 800-473-9370 or click on visitANF.com.
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