Enthusiasm is brimming for a volunteer group that would assist at Locust Lake and Tuscarora state parks in Barnesville, organizers said.

“There was very strong interest in the idea of a friends group,” said Marci Mowery, president of PA Parks and Forests Foundation.

PPFF recently held an online meeting to determine whether folks would want to form a “friends” group similar to the 46 chapters helping at other state parks at forests.

Another virtual meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday. To register, visit

Friends groups help with a wide range of projects and events. They work alongside park staff to maintain trails, plant trees or organize events.

The 39 individuals who attended last month’s initial meeting received surveys from PPFF, which asked where and how they’d like to help.

“Everyone is anxious to see some general litter pick-ups, spring cleaning, getting things ship-shape and tidy,” said Pam Metzger, PPFF membership coordinator. “Thinking a little bit more long-term, projects in and around the lake stirred a lot of interest — especially an accessible dock.”

In addition to tidying the parks, Tuscarora and Locust Lake manager Nicholas Sulzer envisions the group stabilizing shorelines at the lakes, installing campground permit posts and creating fishing structures. More long-term projects include exercise stations, accessible kayak launches and new playground equipment.

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.

Visitation numbers at state parks jumped by 23% during 2020.

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