Author Archives: raystownmatt

About raystownmatt

Tourism professional and advocate, paddler, camper, father.

January Art Walk Huntingdon to Offer Free Shuttle Service

The Art Walk Huntingdon committee is thrilled to announce a community partnership that will offer free shuttle service around Art Walk venues during the January and February events. Maidens Taxi Se…

Source: January Art Walk Huntingdon to Offer Free Shuttle Service

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Downtown Opportunity Showcase

On April 23, 2016, the Downtown Opportunity Committee of Huntingdon Landmarks, Inc. will hold its Downtown Opportunity Showcase. It is free and open to the public. The day kicks off at the Huntingd…

Source: Downtown Opportunity Showcase

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Hiking in Huntingdon

Hiking on the Flagpole Hill trails in Huntingdon, PA

Hiking on the Flagpole Hill trails in Huntingdon, PA

One of the things that makes Huntingdon one of the Coolest Small Towns in America is the fact that you don’t have to leave town to experience wilderness. One of the coolest things about Huntingdon’s wilderness is how easy it is to find and access. All you need to do is look from nearly anywhere in town (or within a couple of miles of town) for the giant American flag flying on a hilltop, and go there! The appropriately named Flagpole Hill and its trail system connects the enormous symbol of our nation with another cool landmark at the Juniata College Baker Evans Peace Chapel.

FlagpoleHillTrails_ecsDSC_2779wwwThe day we hiked the Flagpole Hill Trails was an early November day that you might call “seasonable” for central Pennsylvania – temperatures in the low 50s, overcast and windy on the exposed hilltop. The leaves were nearly all removed from the tree limbs, opening up views that are not available in the summer, but also making the trail extremely noisy as our steps kicked through the 3-4 inch deep leaf litter.

Bring the map that is online and watch for the trail markers to help guide you

Bring the map that is online and watch for the trail markers to help guide you

We set off to hike the closest loop to the flagpole consisting of Cemetery, Beech Tree and Oak trails. After making good time through the first leg, we added Bearcat to our hike, and still made it back to the cars within a little more than an hour. For their location the trails are surprisingly flat, largely following the contours of the hill rather than climbing or descending.

As we returned to the vehicles we took in the view of Huntingdon, and all agreed it had been a good afternoon for a hike.

Photo by Matt Price

The view of Huntingdon from Flagpole Hill.

The view of Fairgrounds Road from the Flagpole Hill Trail (at the flagpole)

The view of Fairgrounds Road from the Flagpole Hill Trail (at the flagpole)

There are three parking areas to access the Flagpole Hill Trails.  The one we used is the main trail head located at the north end of 5th Street, another can be found at the far northern corner of Riverview Cemetery (accessed from Standing Stone Avenue) at the intersection of Cemetery and Beech Tree trails.  The other popular trail head for the network is from Peace Chapel Road near the Juniata College campus.  Maps are usually available at the 5th Street and Peace Chapel Road trail heads, or at the Huntingdon Borough building on Washington Street.

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A tribute to a friend

Photo by Ed Stoddard

Rob Schrack at the helm of Expect a Miracle

I learned this morning of the passing of a dear friend of mine and of Huntingdon County’s tourism industry. Rob Schrack was well-known in the area for his real estate brokerage, but also for is generosity. A leader in the community, Rob engendered a spirit of camaraderie, and was always willing to answer the call to serve a greater purpose. Whether it was professionally in real estate or auctions, civically in service to boards and committees, spiritually in service to his church, or personally in his many friendships and most of all to his family, Rob always joined shoulder to shoulder with others and shared the load of whatever the task-at-hand was.
One of my first real experiences with Rob was accompanying him on his houseboat, “Expect A Miracle,” on a tour of Raystown Lake. He shared with me that there was nowhere he would rather be, than at the helm of that boat on Raystown Lake. He tirelessly championed Huntingdon County as a wonderful place to visit, live, and raise a family.
For the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau, Rob was always willing to pitch in. Even before his service on the board of directors, Rob was a fantastic volunteer, helping to found and grow a very successful Wake Up Reception series that has become a cornerstone of visitor and member services for the Bureau. When we needed tents for an event, Rob not only delivered tents, but also showed up with an army of volunteers to erect them. When the AmTrak service to Huntingdon was threatened, Rob brought and ran the sound system on a cold March morning rally to show local support for the service.
For me personally, I will miss my friend’s wise counsel. I could always rely on Rob for sound advice when faced with a delicate issue.
All of us at the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau are saddened by the loss of our friend, and our hearts go out to the Schrack family and his coworkers. For many of us, the miracle he told us to expect was embodied by Rob himself.

Happy sailing, my friend!

Sincerely,
Matt Price
Executive Director
Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau

Categories: HCVB News, Tourism Industry

The arrival of winter.

The arrival of winter..

via The arrival of winter..

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Raystown not enrolled in DMAP for the 2013-14 hunting season

RAYSTOWN LAKE, Pa. —The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Raystown Lake announces that they will not be enrolled in the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) for the 2013­2014 hunting season. The DMAP is administered by the PA Game Commission and allows additional deer harvest tags in designated areas to allow for greater forest regeneration. DMAP coupons will not be available for the eastern side of Raystown Lake also known as Area 89.

Field observations show the objectives of establishing adequate regeneration throughout Raystown’s forests has been successful. Deer populations are constantly changing so the Corps will continue to closely monitor Raystown’s deer herd using thermal infrared data and vegetative browse surveys to determine DMAP applicability for future seasons.

 This decision also supports the intent of the PA Game Commission’s Executive Order regarding confirmed cases of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) found in Blair and Bedford Counties. CWD Disease Mgmt Areas #2 (DMA 2) includes all Corps owned property on the western side of Raystown Lake. Hunters should become familiar with the Executive Order’s restrictions for Disease Management Areas (DMA) such as prohibitions on feeding of deer, the use of urine­based lures while hunting, and transportation of specific cervid carcass parts out of the DMA. The potential for a decrease in deer populations from CWD exists so the Corps sees no need to further decrease the deer populations at Raystown until further results are found over the 2013­2014 hunting season.

 All authorized hunting locations at Raystown Lake will continue to be open to normal hunting activities and hunters may continue to harvest does using a 4A tag and bucks using their antlered tag.

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Wednesday Walking Tour to Feature River Ecology

HUNTINGDON, PA: The 4 and More Cultural District partnership continues its weekly Wednesday morning walking tours with a walk exploring the ecology of the Juniata River on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. The tour will meet at Merchant’s Park on the corner of Sixth and Penn Streets in downtown Huntingdon at 10:00 AM. The hour-long walking tour will be led by Mike Makufka, executive director of the Juniata Clean Water Partnership. The tour is free of charge, but donations to the Juniata Clean Water Partnership are welcome.
Upcoming Wednesday Walking Tours include:
July 3: A History of Stained Glass
July 10: River Ecology
July 17: History and Architecture
July 24: Public Art
July 31: Civil War History
August 7: A History of Stained Glass
August 14: River Ecology
All tours begin at 10:00 AM at Merchants Park on the corner of Sixth and Penn Streets in downtown Huntingdon.  Ample free parking can be found in the borough parking lot across the street.
About 4 and More: The 4 and More Cultural District partnership is an initiative of Huntingdon Landmarks, Inc. to promote downtown Huntingdon as a hub of cultural learning and creative entrepreneurship, centered on the activities of four non-profit organizations on 4th Street: Huntingdon County Historical Society, Huntingdon County Library, Huntingdon County Arts Council, and Huntingdon Health and Wellness Association. For more information like 4 and More Cultural District on Facebook at facebook.com/4andMoreHuntingdon.
About the Juniata Clean Water Partnership: The Juniata Clean Water Partnership (JCWP) is dedicated to enhance, restore and protect the natural resources of the Juniata River watershed. JCWP is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization based in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. More information can be found at JCWP.org.
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Farewell, Dr. Mowbray.

Publishers note: This was received as an email from the Rockhill Trolley Museum to its members by its president, Joel Salomon. Dr. Mowbray was a great friend of the Museum.  I had the pleasure of working alongside him at a large outdoor and travel show promoting the Raystown Lake Region to potential visitors.  In the day I spent with him, and the brief interactions since at the Museum, Dr. Mowbray made a lasting impression.  He will be truly missed. -Matt Price
Dr. Jack Mowbray

Dr. Jack Mowbray at the controls at the Rockhill Trolley Museum

It is with great sadness that I must tell you that Jack Mowbray passed away early this afternoon at Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore surrounded by his wife Natalie, and daughters Marjorie and Jana.

The museum sends its sympathies to the Mowbray’s with Jack’s passing. Personally, Jack was a great friend to me. He and I had many special and great times together over the years. Jack had many friends at the museum and we will all miss his presence at the museum. It’s hard to think that we will not have his laughter, humor, guidance and wisdom at the trolley museum anymore.

Jack had been a member of Railways To Yesterday Inc. (Rockhill Trolley Museum) since its earliest days, holding Membership #11.  He was most recently Chairman of the Board. A native of the Lehigh Valley, Jack was one of the organization’s few remaining members who had first hand memories of the Lehigh Valley Transit Company, which he rode to school in his youth.

In lieu of flowers the family has asked for donations to be made to the Rockhill Trolley Museum, specifically Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 315, Jack’s favorite car at the museum. The car is under restoration, but returned to operation in 2012, with Jack being the first person to operate the car in many years. For me personally, it was one of my happiest days at the museum, to see Jack operate his favorite car once again.
I’m sorry to have to give this news to you as I know some of you knew Jack for many years. Rest in peace dear friend Jack, you will be sorely missed!
Joel Salomon
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April 25, 2013 email newsletter from the Raystown Lake Region

April 25, 2013 Raystown Lake Region newsletter

Check out our latest email newsletter. We regularly communicate with subscribers about events happening in the Raystown Lake Region.

Check out our latest email newsletter.  If you would like to get future newsletters in your inbox, please click the subscribe link.

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Raystown-Lake-Region-Events-now-through-May-6–2013.html?soid=1102424020018&aid=hqWqcvUwaoI.

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Main Stem Madness: A Day on the Juniata River Sojourn

By Mike Makufka, Juniata Clean Water Partnership

With the smell of breakfast gently filling the air with pleasing aromas, the group of campers hastily finishes packing their tents and breaking camp to begin another day on the river. This group (officially called sojourners), numbering a little over 100, are on the first day of what will be a seven day adventure on the Juniata River. Each person is here for different reasons, but they all share a love for the outdoors and the beauty of the river. Some are veterans of many a trip but there are also a number who are experiencing this event for the first time. Once breakfast is done and vehicles packed; people begin assembling along the river’s edge that is lined with canoes and kayaks of many different colors. They are checking equipment, filling water bottles, and putting on their personal floatation device in anticipation of the day’s adventure. All are anxious to hit the water as they say. What you may be asking is this madness that  overcomes normally sane people? It is the annual Juniata River Sojourn and it happens every year during the second week of June.

Photo by Matt Price

Mapleton’s Riverside Park will be the starting point of the 2013 Juniata River Sojourn on the Main Stem of the Juniata River.

The Juniata River Sojourn is a multi-day floating trip down the river that combines beautiful scenery, a touch of history, and great friendship into a fulfilling vacation.

Any trip on the river, whether one day or several days is technically called a sojourn, the Juniata River Sojourn is an organized
event in which all participants float together, eat together, and camp together. It is a bonding experience with like-minded people. An added feature we provide is that the trip uses professional outfitters provided by Rothrock Outfitters who know the river well and can offer help with paddling and always stress safety first. You kind of leave the driving to us. All of your comforts are met. Well almost all; sometimes showers are at a premium and port-a-potties are the norm. But as far as outdoor adventure goes, I can promise that meals are good and hot and the campsites are usually cozy. But the best feature of all is the fact that the trip is family oriented and is the perfect place for parents, children and sometimes grandparents to enjoy the outdoors together.

All this begs to ask “what is a typical day like? ” A typical, if there is really such a thing, begins with a six AM wakeup. For all you sleepyheads; you do get used to it. The first order of business is breaking camp and packing gear which all needs to be done before seven AM. At seven, breakfast is served. Each day catered meals are provided and every effort is made to accommodate people with
special dietary needs. All you need to bring are eating utensils and an appetite. Once breakfast is Getting started A Hazy Morning
concluded at eight AM, drivers of all vehicles assemble in a convoy to shuttle gear and vehicles to the next campsite. A bus awaits them there to shuttle people back to the launch site. Once everyone is ready to go, a brief safety talk is conducted and we are on the water. Just the sight of so many boats in one place is inspiring.

The dew hanging low on the water in the early morning gives peacefulness to the beginning trip. As boats slowly drift downstream the excitement of what lies ahead and the pure freedom that you feel is hard to duplicate anywhere else. Paddling along with people you only met yesterday or with old friends from many a sojourn past, you begin to form bonds that sometimes last a lifetime. Sharing the sight of a bald eagle soaring aloft or the splash of a river otter as it slips into the river makes you appreciate the natural beauty the river has to offer. But wildlife is not the only sight that awaits you.

Photo by Matt Price

Paddling is a favorite pastime on the main stem of the Juniata River in Huntingdon County.

You are also floating through history. The Juniata River and its three branches, the Raystown, Frankstown, and Little Juniata are steeped in history. From Native American trails and old campsites to the Main Line Canal to the railroad; the Juniata River helped shape American history. The remnants of bygone days are there for the viewing if you know where to look. A journey as part of the Juniata River Sojourn group can help you discover these glimpses into the past. Each section of the river offers a wide-ranging visit back into history. You may drift under an iron truss bridge in Huntingdon County (circa 1870), the partially restored structure of a woolen mill (circa 1800’s), numerous historic foundry buildings, structures from the canal days, or covered bridges the Juniata River
offers it all. Float the Raystown Branch and you can see the remnants of the double covered bridge near the site where British soldiers forded the river and you feel yourself drift back in time.

After several hours on the river when the sun is high in the sky; it is time for lunch. Lunch is usually a catered affair at a pre-determined stop with each day’s menu different from the next. After the meal a short program is offered. The program is always tied into a unique feature of that area. Occasionally though, lunch is on the river and then the group decides where and when to stop. In that case, you can revel in the surroundings or take a dip in the cool refreshing water. After lunch it’s back in the boats for the
afternoon’s adventure.

The afternoon float offers similar experiences as the morning but it also has something that is just a whole lot of fun; and that is water fights and rope swings. There are many places along the river for opportunities to swim, swing off of rope swings, or just play. The Juniata Sojourn certainly provides many chances to do just that.

The days on the river are very relaxing and the outfitters allow plenty of time for enjoying the wonderful experiences the river provides. So kickback and allow the stress of everyday life to drift away.

As the afternooon fun begins to wane, the day’s trip is nearing its end. The evening’s campsite comes into view and tired but happy people crawl out of their boats and begin to setup camp. Tents are erected, clothes are changed and the wet ones are hung out to dry. If available, Old railroad bridge near Cypher Water Battles showers are in order. Nothing feels so good as a shower after a day of playing in and along the river. On most days the float ends around three-thirty or four PM. Since dinner is at six, there is time to relax have a few beverages and talk about the day’s events. And there is always plenty to talk about. At six o’clock dinner is served and a hot meal
along with cold drinks and desserts replenishes the body and tops off a good day. Or so you think. The evening provides still another surprise. An evening program, maybe a campfire talent show, or exploring the hidden treasures near the campsite await you. Evening programs start at seven PM and a varied in nature. Previous programs included history talks, local geology, environmental presentations, flyfishing lessons, swimming, first aid, wilderness survival, storytellers and music. There is something for
everyone.

Nighttime brings an air of silence and peace. The full day of activities and great food leaves a person satisfied and sleepy. Those tents sure look inviting and the sleeping bags bring relief to tired muscles. Sleep comes quickly and as nature’s nighttime sounds fill the air, dreams of the what lies ahead tomorrow fill your head. Just another day on the Juniata River Sojourn.

The 2013 Juniata Sojourn will be held June 8 thru 12, 2013 on the main stem of the Juniata River. Registration will open on April 8 and can be accessed at www.jcwp.org.

You do not have to be an experienced canoeist or kayaker to join the fun. Just remember that everyone had to start sometime and what better place to learn than with experienced guides/teachers and a group of friendly helpful people. If you do not have a boat, Rothrock Outfitters (814-643-7226) will gladly offer rentals to fit your needs. Ask for Tony, Paul or Evan and they will put you in business. If you are looking for new adventures or taking up kayaking again, a sojourn is just the ticket for you.

If your interest is peaked than call Mike at 814-506-1190 and I can answer any questions you may have. I look forward to seeing you on the river.

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