BY JILL WHALEN
BARNESVILLE —If you enjoy the outdoors and what the area’s state parks have to offer, you might consider becoming a “friend” of Locust Lake and Tuscarora state parks in Barnesville.
The PA Parks and Forests Foundation will host a virtual meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday to gauge interest in a friends group.
“Friends groups do a wide range of projects and events. The work alongside park staff to maintain trails, provide volunteer services, plant trees, et cetera,” said Marci Mowery, foundation president. “They raise funds for projects that the park may not have funds to support. And they may organize events.”
Mowery, who will host the meeting with park ranger Nicholas Sulzer, said a group’s goals are crafted to fit the needs of the park and the talent and interests of the members. During the meeting, the needs of the parks will be explored, ideas will be heard from and the next steps will be discussed.
“The role of volunteers in our state parks and forests is an important one,” Mowery said. “Working along side park staff, they can help to make improvements, host events, raise funds and share knowledge.”
Mowery said no experience is required. The foundation conducts a survey that helps pinpoint the group’s skill sets.
Once established, the groups meet once a month. The park manager doesn’t have voting rights but keeps lines of communication open between the group and the staff. The group works with the staff, and all projects must meet the park’s management plan.
“I am excited to gauge the interest in volunteers from around our community to establish a friends group,” Sulzer said. “I think Tuscarora and Locust Lake would both benefit greatly from the extra bit of care a friends group can help provide.”
Both parks offer a wide range of activities.
Locust Lake State Park has camping, hiking and biking trails and fishing. Tuscarora State Park is home to a picnic area, several camping cottages, fishing, swimming and boating.
Registration is required by emailing Pmetzger@paparksandforests.org.
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