Everything listed under: Recreation

  • Discover PA: flying the Pennsylvania skies

    “This is my second midlife crisis”, explained one of the pilots. “I traded in my motorcycle and boat after taking my first ride in one of these [ultralight flyer] planes -- there’s nothing else like the feeling of being free.”

    A version of this statement was heard from many of the almost one hundred flyers at the 23rd Annual Father’s Day Fly-In. The three-day festival was held south of Dillsburg, PA at the Shreveport North Airport and sponsored by The Mason-Dixon Sports Flyers, celebrating twenty-five years as a club.

    The event was a non-stop smorgassboard of low-flying aircraft (fixed winged ultrilights, weight shift ultralights, powered hang gliders, powered parachutes, helicopters, and gyrocopters) that sported something for the whole family. Whether it be the fly-by, parade of sports cars, toy drop, pilot games, or the movies and popcorn on the flight line, the weekend was too short.

    Especially since the weather was picture perfect. Powered parachutes and hang gliders were out at the crack of dawn, taking advantage of the lower wind speeds, while the larger aircraft took to the clouds in the afternoon, showcasing what their unique flying machine could do.

    How does someone get involved in ultralight flying?
    Some of the pilots flew remote control airplanes and wanted to go to the next level, others claimed to be adrenaline junkies who got involved to quench their thrill-seeking thirst, a few saw an advertisement to build their own flying machine, while the majority said it simply took one ride to be hooked.

    The next step was to get involved with an ultralight flight community. The United States Utralight Association (USUA) has a listing of almost fifty clubs around the country to join. Most of these organizations have fly-ins, like the one in the Dillsburg area, which give people a taste of what ultralight flying is all about.

    “It’s about having fun...and enjoying freedom in the air,” said Capital Area Light Flyers’ safety and training member Lee Fritz. Both were obvious at this event.

    On a personal note, I took a ride -- and now I’m hooked!


  • Hitting the ground running! Special Olympics / Superhero Foundation

    Two races. Two terrific organizations. Two very successful fundraisers.

    Special Olympics (Pennsylvania) Beaver Stadium 5K Race
    I’ve been a fan of the the Special Olympics for a very long time and when I found out they were having a 5K run in State College, I simply had to be involved. The Beaver Stadium Run allowed race participants to foot tour the picturesque Penn State campus, then run through the stadium’s tunnel, and finish at the fifty yard line inside Beaver Stadium. On the way out of the stadium, there were picture ops with Steelers Hall of Fame running back , Franco Harris and the option of ringing the touchdown bell.

    There were over 3000 runners/walkers who raised $300,000+. This event now has the distinct honor of being the single largest fundraising event for the Special Olympics in Pennsylvania. Just think about how many disabled athletes will get to develop “physical fitness skills, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community. (Special Olympics Mission Statement)

    Special Olympics PA: http://specialolympicspa.org
    Beaver Stadium Run: http://stadiumrun.org
    Special Olympics: http://specialolympics.org

    4th Annual Pittsburgh Superhero Foundation 5K/1k Run/Walk
    While at the Stadium Run Race, I met a volunteer who spends most of his weekends during the summer helping out at races to benefit worthwhile organizations. He invited me to volunteer at the Superhero Foundation 5K Run the following Saturday and gave me the contact info to the event organizer.

    If you’re not familiar with the Superhero Foundation, you’re not alone. Even though it is one of the fastest growing local races held throughout the U.S., I was completely ignorant about the organization. But after a little Google-ing, I became well versed in the big vision of the Superhero Foundation -- “to end child abuse”. Founder Matt Curtin adds, “we use this platform (superhero races) to celebrate childhood and raise awareness and funds to help support the victims of child abuse.” For this race, the funds went to CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Alleghany County.

    Over 500 people showed up to run/walk -- all in some sort of costume. Talk about fun! Even with the cool temps and little chunks of snow started to fall, everyone’s attitudes stayed high as evidenced by all the smiles.

    Be sure to check out The Superhero Foundation’s website to see if there’s a race near you. Don’t miss your chance to run as a superhero in order to end child abuse.

    The Superhero Foundation: http://www.thesuperherofoundation.org

  • Underwater ghost town now a PA playground

    There are one hundred and twenty state parks in Pennsylvania -- all with their own unique stories.

    Some were created to save historical landmarks, others to preserve the vast forests for which the state inherits its name (Sylvania meaning woods or forest land), while others were to be used for industry and outdoor recreational areas for the public.

    The latter is the reason for Codorus State Park near Hanover in York County.

    But the real story behind this beautiful 3,300+ acre area is what lies beneath the manmade lake at the center of the park. It’s not a Loch Ness type monster, nor sunken treasure, but the underwater ghost village of Marburg.

    Marburg was a small community made up of a handful of buildings, including a farmstead,  which can be seen when the water level gets low enough. This actually happens more often than you think, as the damming of Codorus Creek by the P.H. Glatfelter Company was to supply water for its paper mill, and during summer months, the combination of industrial use and evaporation causes the water line to fluctuate, dropping up to 22 feet and revealing the mysterious ruins below.

    You might be asking yourself, why was a corporation allowed to take away the private property of a community? (Cue the late Paul Harvey...“page 2”) It wasn’t just the paper mill that wanted to dam up the creek, in fact, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania enacted a law back in 1964 called “Project 70 Land Acquisition and Borrowing Act” to purchase private lands to be used as public parks, reservoirs, and other conservation and recreational purposes.

    You see, the state also wanted the land surrounding Marburg to be used as a drinking water reservoir for the town of Spring Grove (north, about ten miles) along with furthering Pennsylvania’s goal to have a state park within 25 miles of each resident.

    So, in 1966, an eleven story tall dam was built by the paper mill people, stopping Codorus Creek’s water flow, flooding the village of Marburg, and creating twenty-six miles of coastline to be enjoyed by the public in the newly formed state park.

    It really is a beautiful park filled with tons of amenities (marina, swimming pool, campground, hiking and horseback trails, dirt bike course, and an award-winning disk golf course). If you’re ever in the the area (Gettysburg, Hanover, York, Harrisburg), plan a day to enjoy this area -- and keep an eye out for Marburg, you might just spot the underwater ghost town.

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    P.S. -  I think we should petition the ghost hunting television shows to put on scuba gear to check out this underwater ghost town to see if it’s haunted.

    P.S.S. - For more information about Codorus State Park, click here.