Free Food for Thru-Hikers in Duncannon

Salad, Spaghetti, Brownie & Ice Cream

Duncannon Christ Lutheran Church2014, June 4, 11, 18, 25 and July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30:  If you’re thru-hiking the AT and you’d like some FREE food while in Duncannon during the months of June or July, be sure to stop by the Duncannon Christ Lutheran Church on Wednesdays between 5 and 7 PM for some great home cooking.  Salad, spaghetti, brownies and ice cream are always on the menu but there’s a chance food made from one of these mouth-watering recipes might be available: Sauerkraut Soup, Party Mashed Potatoes, Easy Stir Fry, Pumpkin Cheese Tarts, Apple Dumpling Bake, Bread Custard Pudding, Orzo Dessert, or maybe even New York Cheesecake!

The Appalachian Trail runs along High Street and the church is conveniently located one block west off the trail near the intersection of High and Plum streets.  Be sure to stop in even if you’re not hungry and say hello to the good people of Duncannon.  They want to help lift your spirits and you can do the same for them just by taking a minute to share your time and trail experiences.

Pastor BethThis generous outreach to thru-hikers is being lead by Pastor Beth Martini who is a strong supporter of the AT, the Duncannon Appalachian Trail Community and the residents of Duncannon.  If you live in the Duncannon area and you would like to help thru-hikers enjoy a hearty meal, please contact the church at 834-3140 or


March 23rd Haldeman Island Hike

DOC LogoOn March 23rd the Duncannon Outdoor Club and Duncannon Appalachian Trail Community held another Haldeman Island hike with the great leadership of the knowledgeable Scott Bills, state games representative.  We have received many emails commending Mr.  Bills for his vast knowledge of waterfowl and other bird species.  It was a great learning experience, viewing 16 of the 20 species of waterfowl found on the island.

We also were honored with the presence of a male and female bald eagle on their massive nest.  Upon arrival we had a flock of Tundra Swan fly in formation overhead honking their way North to Canada.  Scott pointed out how gracefully a swan lands in the water.  There was hardly a ripple upon landing.

We hope to schedule another such event in the future, since we had such a great turnout and actually had to turn people away.  If you wish to be notified of another such event email and your email address will be added to the Duncannon Outdoor Club email list to received hike notifications.

Duncannon Outdoor Club April 19th Hike

DOC LogoOn Sat., April 19th the Duncannon Outdoor Club will be hiking at the Wildwood Nature Center in search of Red-winged Blackbirds, Bluebirds and Wood Thrushes.  The hike will be an average paced three mile loop on easy terrain.  Bring water, a snack, and binoculars.  We will meet at the Duncannon Family Health Center to carpool.  Call 834-9216 or email to register.  Children are invited to attend provided they can go the distance and are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Vernal Ponds and Jefferson Salamanders Hike

DOC LogoIt was a great day, a little windy, but you couldn’t ask for better weather and trail conditions.  We even got to hike on moss!  Just the week before the trails were covered in snow and ice making footing very precarious.  The vernal  pond was not frozen over making observation easy with no sign that the Jefferson Salamander had been there.  It has not been quite warm enough yet for them to migrate.  We also stopped at the non-vernal pond and had a little discussion about toads and frogs.  There was a little excitement on the way back when one of the puppies got loose, but the kids made a mad dash and caught the dog. Continue reading

Feeling Blue? Try This…

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird

The winter months in Pennsylvania can bring a joy to us all.  There are the snow covered mountains, icicles dangling from tree branches and icebergs floating down the rivers.  For some, a few months of this is more than enough and your mind begins to have “warmer” thoughts.  As the winter thaw has begun and spring is here to celebrate, you might consider the blue in your backyard, bluebirds!

The eastern bluebird is native to Pennsylvania but has the challenge of surviving among some non-native species.  This is where you can get involved and have the joy of watching these birds thrive in your own backyard. Continue reading

Ashes to Ashes

bark of mature ash tree

bark of mature ash tree

The ash trees in our state of Pennsylvania are under attack!  The villain is discreet but extremely effective.  Millions of ash trees have been killed to date and chances are all true ashes will have perished when it is said and done.  The worst part may be that you never saw it coming.  In fact, if the trees in your own backyard have not been affected, you might not of even known it was happening.  But rest assured, the ash trees as we know them are dying and there is not much you can do to stop it.

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is the ash tree killer that was first discovered in the United States in the summer of 2002 in Michigan.  These super creeps were most likely doing damage a decade before their discovery.  Native to Asia, there is no native or natural predator here in the states that can stop the pest.  Pennsylvania confirmed the presence of EAB in the western part of the state in 2007.  The pest is swiftly and successfully destroying our ash in more than half of the 67 counties in PA to date. Continue reading

Berry Mountain Hike and Hypothermia

DOC LogoWell, we finally had our Berry Mountain hike after canceling once, having no place to park and another winter storm threatening another cancellation.  A few days prior to the hike I checked out the trailhead parking which was under 3 feet of snow.  There were two men there plowing the road, so I batted my big brown eyes explaining my dilemma.  They were wonderful and plowed the parking lot for us.  That just left the threatening weather forecast to deal with.  I said a little prayer and the storm never came.  So the hike was a go!

We had a total of 10 hikers to start, but one missed us at the trailhead, ran, and caught up with us at the top in time to see the beautiful view and take in the surprise that was mentioned on Meet Up.

Once on the mountaintop we took a few moments to discuss hypothermia, a body temperature below 95 degrees F.  The most important thing to know about hypothermia is how to prevent it in the first place. Continue reading

Another Haldeman Island Waterfowl Hike

DOC LogoThe DOC and DATC are hosting another Haldeman Island Waterfowl Hike to be led by Scott Bills, a Land Management Group Supervisor with the PA Game Commission, on March 23rd from 8 AM to 12 PM. Everyone is invited to attend, but we especially encourage people with children to enjoy this fun and highly educational opportunity.

This hike will primarily focus on migrating waterfowl and as many as 20 species could be spotted on both the island and the river. Dress appropriately for the weather, wear one extra layer for the wind, and wear neutral colors to help keep our presence muted. We encourage you to bring binoculars, spotting scopes, cameras , and bird guides. The length of the walk is but a few miles on level ground. Appropriate footwear would be warm boots.

DATC LogoHaldeman Island is located off 11/15 at the confluence of the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers. Parking coordinates are: 40.427407 -77.004258. Access is usually restricted to provide sanctuary for a wide variety of birds including the iconic Bald Eagle so don’t miss out on a rare chance to experience and learn about this wonderful Duncannon area natural resource. There are only 30 spots so hurry and register while there is still time. Call 834-9216 or email to register. Hope to see you there.

DATC Newsletter – February 2014

Duncannon AT Community SignNEXT MEETING: The Duncannon Appalachian Trail Community Advisory Committee will hold its next meeting Wednesday, March 12th at 6:30 PM in our new meeting location at the Duncannon Municipal Building located at 428 N. High Street.  An RSVP is not required but it’s greatly appreciated.  Our agenda will focus on relocating the Duncannon A.T. Community Festival to somewhere other than the planned Cumberland Street location and we’ll also discuss the progress our volunteers have made.

NEW FESTIVAL LOCATION:  The planned Cumberland Street festival location must be moved because the Market Street bridge construction project’s detour route will run the entire length of Cumberland Street and there are no other viable alternate detour routes.  We had planned to use the south end of Market Street as our backup festival location but there is not enough room since the construction equipment will take up a large portion of the street.  Please join us to help choose a new festival location.  If you would like to meet before sunset (around 6:05 p.m.) to view alternate locations, please contact and we can schedule a tour of potential festival locations.

POTENTIAL NEW FESTIVAL LOCATIONS: Everyone is invited to review the following locations and then vote for your favorite. Continue reading

SRTA’s Season Opening Celebration

Our friends at the Susquehanna River Trails Association (SRTA) promote sustainable use of the Susquehanna and they would like to invite you to their 5th annual Season Opening Celebration for a festive buffet dinner celebrating their friends and supporters at the Ranch House Restaurant.  Stop by on Thursday, March 27th from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to learn more about this organization and enjoy a top quality buffet dinner.

The buffet costs $15 if you’re not an SRTA member, $8 if you’re a member, or it’s free if you’re an Island Steward (Limited to two steward representatives per campsite). The price includes:

  • Buffet dinner with the Ranch House’s legendary desserts.
  • Remarks by Brook Lenker, President, SRTA.
  • Presentation by Erin Pierce, Program Coordinator, Susquehanna Greenway, celebrating the greenway and sharing images from their annual photo contest.
  • Island steward recognition.

Please RSVP by March 14th to to secure your reservations.  Payment will be taken at the door.