Editor’s note: This is the third installment of a nine-part weekly column about the Centred Outdoors program, organized by ClearWater Conservancy and community partners with funding from a Centre Foundation Centre Inspires grant.
Centred Outdoors invites you to the season’s third event at 2 p.m. Sunday and 6 p.m. Wednesday. Experience the trails of Bald Eagle State Park with a park naturalist. Hike and learn about the birds, trees, wildflowers, park history and more.
Bald Eagle is Centre County’s largest state park. It spans diverse habitats including thick woods, meadows of wildflowers and a reservoir that has allowed local wildlife to flourish. Due to its location, Bald Eagle State Park has become an important midway destination for birds during long migrations. Different native plants that are found here are hosts to specific pollinators. Pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, are important in maintaining the health of the natural habitats around Bald Eagle State Park. Along with milkweed and monarch butterflies, be on the lookout for great blue herons, scarlet tanagers and bald eagles.
The reservoir at Bald Eagle State Park was engineered to help manage flood waters, and now serves as a place for water recreation. Along with fishing, Bald Eagle State Park is known for its sandy beach area and boating activities. There are many nature-based educational opportunities to be explored year-round including tours, hands-on activities and campfire programs for community groups and organizations.
The woods around the reservoir have many hiking trails. Butterflies and hikers alike love the Butterfly Trail. This week, hikers will have the chance to walk along the mowed path created for the conservation of butterflies and observe a variety of birds and insects in their natural setting. Experience the sight, smell and touch of the various grasses, wildflowers, shrubs and young trees that are essential to butterflies throughout their life cycle.
The trail is about 1.5 miles long and should take about an hour and a half to complete. Bring a water bottle and comfortable footwear for hiking. Binoculars and field guides will be provided. Dogs are allowed, but they must be leashed.
Once you turn onto the main park entrance, drive about a half mile and turn left onto Skyline Drive. There will be parking on the left. We hope to see you there.
Lanagan is a Penn State graduate in geoscience and science education. She is currently working for the National Parks Service.
If you go
What: Centred Outdoors guided outing
When: 2-5 p.m. Sunday and 6-9 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Bald Eagle State Park, 149 Main Park Road, Howard