Duncannon Outdoor Club Kayak Trip: Wade Island, Watersheds, Water Quality, River Basins

DOC LogoOn July 24th the Duncannon Outdoor Club had 11 participants kayak from Blue Mountain Outfitters to the West Fairview boating access. Weather was perfect for the 6 mile venture down the Susquehanna River which was completed in record time due to the swift moving waters from previous rains.

Two stops were incorporated into the trip.  The first, was a pullover to Wade Island where we were lucky to find some Double-Crested Cormorant, Black-Crowned-Night Heron and Great White Egret hatchlings still in their nests. One could hear the continuous squawking from all the birds remaining on the island. Many of the kayakers were not aware that the Black Capped Night Heron and Great White Egret are endangered in Pennsylvania and are being overrun by the increasing population of Cormorants.

For our second stop we docked on an island to eat lunch and learn about watersheds, assessing water quality and river basins.

A watershed is land where surface water runs off into lakes, creeks, reservoirs and other bodies of water.   A river basin is a land mass made up of many watersheds.  (The watershed we were in is the Lower Susquehanna Swatera Watershed.)  Maps were used to help participants visualize the 5 river basins in Pennsylvania: the Susquehanna, Potomac, Ohio, Great Lakes Basin, and Delaware Watersheds. Yes you guessed it, we are in the Susquehanna River Basin, the largest basin, making up the  vertical mid-section of the state.

For assessing water quality, plans were to collect larva and nymphs from rocks on the bottom of the river shallows near the island, but due to the rapid river flow and muddy water we opted not to collect samples but discuss which larva and nymphs indicate good water quality.  On past trips when samples were collected mayfly and dragonfly nymphs, and caddisfly and water penny larvae were found.  Mayflies, caddisflies, and water pennies are sensitive to pollution, while dragonflies are moderately sensitive to pollution.  The presence of these macroinvertebrates indicate acceptable water quality.  Stoneflies were not evident, but are normally found in waters with high oxygen content such as that found in riffles, which were not present where samples had been collected.

Our samples were taken upstream from the mouth of the Conodoguinet. Recent studies downstream have indicated the Susquehanna is not that healthy. Mutated bass have been found to have two genders (intersex). Lesions, sores, and cancerous growths have also been evident on bass caught in the Susquehanna River.  Studies have indicated a correlation: a higher percentage of agriculture in a watershed results in increased mutations.  Natural animal hormones are excreted in manure which is spread on fields and washed into water sources by rain.  Complex mixtures of chemicals such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides seem to be contributing to the problem.  Round up, which is used by many homeowners in pursuit of the perfect lawn, is an endocrine disruptor (a chemical that interferes with hormone systems), and inevitably ends up in watersheds  polluting our water sources.  Another source of hormonal disruption, found in more populated areas, is the improper disposal of prescription drugs which are often flushed down drains, contaminating the water.

The Susquehanna is beautiful river providing many recreational pursuits.  We all need to be cognizant of our influences upon it.  Let’s make the Susquehanna healthy again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tour of Indiantown Gap The Regal Fritillary Butterfly

DOC LogoOn Sat., July 8th join the Duncannon Outdoor Club (DOC) for a  three hour tour at Fort Indiantown Gap to observe the endangered Regal Fritillary butterfly and the habitat necessary for breeding and providing success for 100 other species of conservation concerns in PA.  Wear appropriate shoes and clothing for a nature walk on gravel trails and mowed paths.  Bring bug spray, sunscreen, binoculars, lunch, and cameras.  Meet at the Geisinger Holy Spirit Center at 8:00 am. or alternately at the Kmart in Summerdale ready to leave by 8:30 am.  Driving distance is approximately 80 miles total.  Please pay drivers 10 cents per mile for gas.  If you opt to drive without passengers you do not have to stay the whole three hours.  Call Deb at 395-2462 or email dtakach@duncannonatc.org to register.  

Kayak/Canoe The Susquehanna

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On Sat., June 24th join the DOC on a canoe/kayak trip from Blue Mountain Outfitters (BMO) to West Fairview for an opportunity to observe birds on Wade Island, learn about the Susquehanna Watershed, and check the water quality of the Susquehanna.  Cost is $12.50 if you bring your own boat.  Rent a kayak for $45.00 plus a $7.50 shuttle fee, a two man kayak for $65.00 plus $7.50 per person, or a canoe for $45.00 plus $7.50 per person.  Tax is not included in these figures.  Call 395-2462 or email dtakach@duncannonatc.org to register.  Meet at the Geisinger Holy Spirit Duncannon Center to carpool at 9:30 am., or alternately at BMO at 10:00 am. 

RSVP by June 18th.

Hiking With Dogs

DOC LogoDo you have a dog and like to hike?  Want to learn more about hiking with dogs?  Come to a dog friendly, average paced, 6 mile loop hike over moderate terrain on Sat., May 6th.  We will be walking on the AT from Rt. 850 up Blue Mountain to Darlington trail to Miller’s Gap, returning down the road to the AT back to the start.  Since there is limited parking at the AT trailhead, we will meet at 9:00 am. at the State Game Lands 170 Parking area located on Rt. 850 about 18 miles west of Marysville on the left side of the road.  It is 0.5 miles past Cove Rd which will be on your right.  If you get to the AT trailhead parking area you have gone too far.  We will walk the 0.3 miles from the game lands parking area along the road to the AT trail head.  Call Debra at 395-2462 or email dtakach@duncannonatc.org to register.

 

March 2017 Snow Storm Photos

I got a few good pictures from the latest snow storm and thought I’d share them with you all.

Wildwood Hike: Furbearing Animals

On Saturday February 18, 2017 the Duncannon Outdoor Club (DOC) gathered for an opportunity to hike 3 miles at Wildwood Park, Harrisburg. The theme of this hike was, Fur-bearing Animals.

The park provides ideal habitat for many of the fur-bearers that we learned about. With a 90 acre shallow lake and many different tree, shrub and other plant species there were plenty of opportunities for viewing wildlife.

Pennsylvania has 13 critters that are legally harvested to manage animal populations. Beaver, bobcat, eastern coyote, fisher, grey fox, mink, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, red fox, river otters, striped skunk and weasels. Proper licensing and certifications are required to participate in wildlife management. Abiding by the laws, regulations and bag limits set forth by the Pennsylvania Game Commission ensures safe and effective practices.

We enjoyed our time outdoors, especially in the sun filled areas of the park, as the air was cold on this February morning. The park was busy with hikers (dogs included), runners, and photographers.

Another successful trip for the Duncannon Outdoor Club! We look forward to seeing you next time!

Build Your Own Bluebird Box

Bluebirds from Bluebird Society of PADOC LogoOn Sat., April 22nd come to a family friendly, average paced, 1.67 mile hike over easy to moderate terrain.  Then learn about bluebirds from Phil Durgin, Vice President of the Bluebird Society of PA, and make your own bluebird box from 11:00 to 12:00.  Cost is free.  Donations for materials are appreciated but not expected.  Meet at the Holy Spirit Duncannon Center at 9:00 am. to carpool or alternately at Little Buffalo State Park by the stage.  If you do not wish to hike but want to participate in the bluebird workshop meet at the park stage at 11:00 am.  Call Deb at 395-2462 or email dtakach@duncannonatc.org to register.  Hope to see you there.

 

Duncannon Outdoor Club Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area – Migrating Snow Geese and Tundra Swans

DOC LogoOn March 11th Come to the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area to observe the thousands of Snow Geese and Tundra Swans as they migrate to this important way station.  Then hike an average paced 6 mile hike over moderate to strenuous terrain on a series of trails that form a loop back to the visitor’s center.  There are 2 climbs ranging from 300 to 400 ft.  Meet at the Duncannon Family Health Center to carpool at 8:30 am or alternately at the Kmart parking lot at 9:00am.  Call 395-2462 or email dtakach@duncannonatc.org to register.  Please reimburse drivers 10 cents per mile and for turnpike tolls (total mileage is 124 miles).  Bring your cameras and binoculars if you have them and pack a lunch.  Hope you can make it!

Duncannon Outdoor Club Hike at Wildwood Theme: Fur Bearing Animals

DOC LogoOn Sat., Feb. 18th the Duncannon Outdoor Club (DOC) will be hiking an average paced, three mile loop trail on easy terrain at Wildwood Nature Center.  Come and learn about fur bearing animals in PA.  This family friendly hike is for all ages and is dog friendly.  We will be meeting at the Duncannon Family Health Center at 9:00 am.to carpool.  Alternately meet at the Wildwood Nature Center at 9:30 am.  Call Deb at 395-2462 or email dtakach@duncannonatc.org to register.

Ned Smith Center Hike – Theme: Coyotes

DOC LogoOn Sat., January 21st join the Duncannon Outdoor Club (DOC) at The Ned Smith Center in Millersburg for an average paced 5 mile hike on moderate to strenuous terrain.  There is one .75 mile climb up Mountain Laurel Trail to Berry Mountain Trail with a nice view at the top.  Return on Berry Mountain Trail to Deer Run Trail.  Then take Drumming Log Trail back to the starting point at the Ned Smith Center.  If snow or ice is on the trail bring Microspikes or Yaktrax if you have them.  Wear something orange for the hunting season. The theme for discussion will be coyotes.   Meet 9:00 am. at the Holy Spirit Duncannon Center, a Geisinger Affiliate (formally the Duncannon Family Health Center) to carpool or alternately meet at the Clarks Ferry Bridge (RT 147/322) parking lot at 9:15 am. Please reimburse drivers 10 cents for a total of 36 miles.   Call Deb at 395-2462 or email dtakach@duncannonatc.org to register. Click here for larger printable versions of the Ned Smith trail map.