No matter what the weather is this coming Sunday, it's National Get Outdoors Day, and Blue Marsh Lake is hosting its first America's Get Outdoors Day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with at least 45 confirmed exhibitors at the Dry Brook Day Use Area next to the swim beach.
"This had been our annual water safety festival," explained Kathy Grim, one of the park rangers at Blue Marsh who is helping to coordinate the event. "This is the first year we changed it to reach both land-based and water-based sports to make people aware of the recreational opportunities not only at Blue Marsh Lake, but throughout the region."
the Army Corps of Engineers, just like Lake Nockamixon, Beltsville Lake and the Francis E. Walter Dam.
The event is so high-profile that Jo-Ellen Darcy, current United States Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) plans to attend. Blue Marsh has had between 1,000 and 1,500 attend the water festival throughout the day in the past and is looking for the same type of attendance or better on Sunday.
"The Corps of Engineers has been working on getting a lot more involved in the Get Outdoors Day and the Let's Move programs, and we were looking to expand our event because it broadens our resource base for some new blood and new spark," Grim said. "It seemed like a natural for us to hop on board. We've doubled the number of participating organizations, so it's going to be a little bit of everything going on."
The personnel at Blue Marsh plan to showcase and show off the wonderful natural world in and around the lake property, which includes hiking and biking trails.
The event kicks off with a hike at 8 a.m. from the Lakeview Pavilion, followed by a fun run from the same venue at 9 a.m., a sensory trail hike at 11 a.m. and a Blue Marsh Lake Sojourn with the Keystone Canoe Club at noon.
A bird walk, geocaching workshop, bike ride, dam tower tour and a walk on the Great Oak Nature Trail will take place in the afternoon.
Fishing, flyfishing, catfishing, geocaching basics, kayaking and paddle boarding, children's activities and health screenings will take place 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The official program begins at 11 a.m. in front of the bleacher area with a welcome address from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, followed by a sailing demonstration from the Blue Marsh Sailing Association. Several programs with dogs, such as retrieving and water rescue, will be included.
This is the fourth National Get Outdoors Day, according to John C. Cave, the park manager at Blue Marsh Lake, and admission to national parks and forests is free on Sunday. The National "GO" Day is held in partnerships with American Recreation Coalitions and the U.S. Forest Service.
Nockamixon State Park and the Lehigh Valley Zoo are also holding programs in conjunction with National "GO" Day.
The Lehigh Valley Zoo's GO activities are on Saturday with a nature hikes at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. as well as different activities designed to get people interacting with nature and learning about wildlife, according to Sheri Peters, the zoo's director of conservation education.
Nockamixon State park is holding a free concert at noon on Sunday featuring Grammy-nominated Steve Pullara at the Marina.
Nockamixon has also scheduled boat tours, family fishing, hiking, biking, kid's crafts, geocache loaners and more. For an entire schedule of the day's events, go to http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/calendar and choose Nockamixon as your facility, or call the Nockamixon State Park Education Center at 215-529-7307.
Lehigh Gap hike and happenings: The Lehigh Gap Nature Center is hosting an evening Whip-poor-will hike 6:15 p.m. on Saturday from the nature center that will be led by Dan Kunkle and Jim Gabovitz. For more information or to register, call the facility at 610-760-8889.
The LGNC is also offering a weeklong Young Ecologists Summer Camp June 25-29 that is limited to 15 campers who have completed grades 5, 6 or 7 this school year.
Campers will experience and explore a variety of nature topics at the day camp, which runs 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Topics include birds, raptors, butterflies, pond and river ecology, conservation issues and activities such as hiking, building bluebird nest boxes and visiting local ecosystems along the Lehigh River and the Kittatinny Ridge, while learning to work with microscopes, binoculars and water quality testing kids.
The camp costs $50, but students who receive free or reduced lunch in school are eligible for scholarships to pay their fees through the Women's Club of Slatington and the concourse Club of Palmerton. The camp is low-cost because of grants from PPL, Jeras Corp., the Rider Pool Foundation, the Trexler Trust and Horsehead Community Development Fund.
To apply for the camp, contact the Lehigh Gap Nature Center at 610-760-8889 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Birding weekend at Promised Land: If birds are your thing or you're interested in eagles and butterflies, check out the Birding Weekend at Promised Land State Park this weekend.
The Nolde Forest, Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center and Promised Land State Park are sponsoring an overnight birding and natural history field trip to Promised Land State Park Friday through Sunday, beginning with a Neotropical Bird Conservation program 7 p.m. Friday in the park's auditorium that is open to the public.
The fee for the entire weekend is $25, and transportation, meals and lodging are on your own. For more information, contact Promised Land between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 610-796-3699.