Author Archives: Paul Smith

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!

Where do you belong?

I’m alive and doin’ fine


Boy Scout Troop 64: Keeping Duncannon Green

Duncannon Recycle Center February 2016The second Saturday of each month our community has the opportunity to dispose of recyclable materials, saving tons of waste from going to a landfill.  From 8-11am at the Recycling Center in Penn Township, alongside Shermans Creek, recyclable materials can be dropped off.  This is the same parking area used to access one of our favorite hiking destinations, Hawk Rock.  Borough residents can set recyclables at their front doorstep for pickup, as well.

Duncannon’s very own Boy Scout Troop 64 is to thank for this time consuming, tough and dirty work.  The Troop’s efforts in keeping Duncannon green date back to the 1940’s!  Funding for recycling in the 17020 zip code comes from Penn Township and the Duncannon Borough.  At one time this project was conducted in the parking lot of the Old Sled Works on North Market Street in the borough.

Keep Hawk Rock Beautiful - Duncannon AT SignThis past Saturday, February 13, most of us had no thoughts of climbing out from under our warm blankets. The temperature was single digit and the winds were gusting between 20 and 40 miles per hour! Yes, the sun was shining bright but if you did not have to go outside, you probably did not.  These conditions did not stop the scouts and their helpers to be at the Recycling Center before 8, bundled up awaiting tons of recyclables to be delivered.  After all they have been doing this for more than 70 years!

At one time recyclable material had more monetary value than it does today.  Also, the many rules for sorting and separating that are required now, did not exist.  These changes have not discouraged the Troop from completing the tedious work.  Residents can make the work easier for everyone involved by breaking down containers, sorting papers and separating items by the code or color.

Recycling logo wrapped around a dollar signMoney can still be collected for certain materials today such as aluminum cans.  Paper once put money back in the pocket of these dedicated scouts.  Today our paper is being sent to a Perry County farmer to be used for bedding material.  At one time there was enough money being returned to the Troop that individual scouts could earn credit for their hard work and dedication.  Scouting supplies could be purchased or camping trips paid for. This was great incentive for the young boys to continue working toward their goals.  Today, with less monetary incentive, they continue to take pride in their work and have a positive influence in their community.

Thank you and keep up the great work Boy Scout Troop 64!  Also, thank you to the Duncannon community for keeping our town green!

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

Wagner Park

Take advantage of the snow this winter as it provides a unique experience in your backyard.  On a recent hike through Wagner Park in Wheatfield Township, along the Little Juniata Creek, young beech and hemlock tree tops had reached to the forest floor from the weight of the recent snow.  The park offers a rail trail along the creek and a loop trail both of which have mile markers along the way.  See trail map at block building before heading into the woods.

All I Want for Christmas

Paul and Vanessa at Hawk Rock

Paul and Vanessa at Hawk Rock

Christmas is a time for celebrating life.  A time for family, friends, and loved ones to connect with one another.  This celebration comes just once a calendar year.  Celebrating with the people you care the most about can bring memories that will last a lifetime.  Memories that you can relive every day that follows.  They are the kind of memories that a grandfather tells to his grandchildren.  The kind of experiences you write about in your journal, Christmas cards or even, in this day, your social media page.  These memories are sometimes captured by a photo but more often than not an experience that escapes the camera and can only truly be remembered with a look into the eyes of the person you were with at the time.  The eye contact you make with that special person can take you right back to the place you were in the story that you are reminiscing about.  Sharing these experiences with others can be as gratifying as the time you have lived.  These special moments can be found sitting around a fireplace or on the top of a mountain in the vast wilderness. Wherever you find your happiness be sure to share it with the ones in your life that mean the most to you and beyond.

Some of my most memorable moments have been found outdoors on a trail, on the water, or deep in the forest where you can feel like you are the only person to ever find this special place.  These moments are sometimes experienced alone and may be a once in a lifetime occasion.  It is still a story worthy of sharing but the times you have experienced with others are without a doubt the most celebrated ones. Continue reading