Lackawanna State Park is an easy ride up Interstate 81, just a few miles from Scranton in northeast Pennsylvania. Volunteer camp hosting at the park for the month of May was my next assignment. The park has a lake, swimming pool, waterfalls and lots of wildlife. I was looking forward to my new position.
The Lenape Indians once lived on the land and gave the area the name, “Lackawanna” which means “stream that forks.” The white men who came after them must have liked the name a lot; they used it to name a county, a river, a lake and a college.
Once at the park, I was directed to my Camp Host site in the Fox Run campground, a forested area of oak, hemlock, maple and beechnut trees. With only an electric hook-up, I was happy to find that the bathroom/shower building and outside dish washing area were close by.
After an easy set-up of my RV, I started to walk around the area; discovering several native wildflowers blooming right next to my campsite: dutchman’s breeches, trout lilies, and jack in the pulpit. There was also every color of the tiny violets: dark and pale purples, whites and yellows. Mayapples were on the verge of blooming with their huge umbrella shaped leaves and nodding white blooms beneath.
Having studied wildflowers for many years I was amazed that they were still here. The area had to have been disturbed to put in the campsite pads. Once that happens, soil gets displaced and native plants usually vacate the premises. My conclusion was that a minimal disruption allowed them to keep their territory and native soils intact. I was liking this place already.
A visit to the park’s naturalist got me an invite to the next day’s wildlife habitat management workshop. Several landowners attended and during the classroom segment we all learned ways to improve the land for both animals and birds by planting native species of trees, shrubs, and flowers.
The outdoor segment took us to different habitats within the park where we could witness the successful management of field and woodland habitat using different types of nut trees and shrubs that produced the kinds of seeds and berries eaten by the local fauna. A special treat was a field demonstration of a bird banding project, part of the research to study birdlife in the area.
When I travel to and stay in new areas, I am always surprised by the opportunities that present themselves for learning some awesome things about our natural world. I have always been an advocate of life-long learning and the RV lifestyle certainly provides many ways to do just that.
(aka Tin Can Traveler)