The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is encouraging anglers to vote online by Friday for their favorite color for a new series of fishing license buttons that will be available beginning in March.
“The buttons for this first year will be in the color which receives the highest number of votes,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “Brought back by popular demand, this custom button is similar to the buttons offered by the PFBC in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and again in 1974 and 1975.
Each custom button will measure 1 3/4 inches (same as past, vintage buttons) with a high-quality pin-back design and feature the angler's customer identification number (CID), same as the number displayed on a paper license.
Anglers need to display only the button when fishing, as long as they are carrying a valid paper license. Go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2014-PA-Fishing-License-Button to vote.
HARRISBURG — Redbank Valley Trails in Armstrong, Clarion and Jefferson counties is has been named the 2014 Trail of the Year in Pennsylvania by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
This new designation is coordinated by DCNR’s Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee to elevate public awareness of the thousands of miles of trails available for public enjoyment in Pennsylvania.
“Redbank Valley Trails stood out because of the dedicated work of tremendous volunteers; its scenic beauty; connection to other trail systems; and quick and efficient pace of development,” said DCNR Secretary Ellen Ferretti.
Much of the 51-mile Redbank Valley Trails runs along Redbank Creek and includes many bridges and beautiful stone arches. The trail connects schools, soccer fields and rural areas to commercial and residential centers.
WARREN COUNTY — For nature lovers interested in seeing American bald eagles in the wild, there is a great opportunity to do so on Eagle Watch Day, Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kinzua Dam in Warren County.
When the cold expanse of Allegheny Reservoir behind the dam freezes over and ice forms downstream in Allegheny River, the open tailwaters below the dam become prime fishing waters for eagles.
Three public areas of interest will be open for public viewing and learning about America’s national bird: Big Bend Visitor Center, Riverside Watchable Wildlife Trail and Viewing Platform (located along Allegheny River tailwaters), and Kinzua Dam roadway. Observation stations will be manned, and spotting scopes will be available to better observe the awesome eagles. People 18 years of age and older will be required to show identification to gain access to the roadway at the dam.
This recreational, observational and educational program is free to the public.
- More information: Call Lauser at (814) 726-0661; or Bill Massa of the Allegheny Outdoor Club at (814) 723-2568.
The Crawford County Conservation District holds a number of environmental education programs in and February at the Woodcock Creek Nature Center, 21742 German Road.
February events include:
- “Turtles in Winter” on Feb. 6 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Peter Lindeman of the Biology Department at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania talks about what turtles can do to prepare for winter weather.
- “Ice Fishing” on Feb. 9 from 1 to 5 p.m. Those interested must register for this program through the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission by calling Chad Foster at (814) 683-5126 or registering online at pfbc.state.pa.us. Meet at the Woodcock Creek Nature Center for a short program prior to fishing on Woodcock Lake. No fishing license is required, and all equipment is provided.
- “Let’s Count Some Birds” on Feb. 13 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Participants will count some birds at the Nature Center with Judy Acker, Audubon French Creek Outreach coordinator. She will also show everyone how to participate in the “Great Backyard Bird Count.” This annual project includes bird and nature fans from all over North America. More information: Visit birdcount.org.
- “Tie Some Flies!” on Feb. 18 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Limited to first 15 registrants. The Gem City Fly Tiers demonstrate the basics and getting everyone started making their own. All ages are welcome.
- “Beginning Snowshoeing” on Feb. 24 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Registration is limited to the first 15 participants. Let the center know when registering whether snowshoes are needed. The Allegheny College Outing Club leads this activity.
All Woodcock Creek Nature Center events require pre-registration. The programs are free and open to the public, unless otherwise specified. All children under 12 should be accompanied by an adult.
The Nature Center is open year-round Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- More information or to register: Call Kathy Uglow at 763-5269 or visit crawfordconservation.com.
JAMESTOWN — The Pymatuning Lake Association hosts its inaugural Ice Fishing Tournament on Feb. 8 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. as part of the Pymatuning Trail Blazers Snowmobile Club’s 38th Annual Winter Fun Days. All fish must be caught through the ice of Pymatuning Lake as long as the ice is safe. There will be no alternate date.
This is a single-angler tournament. Participants can pre-register at local bait shops in Jamestown: Richter’s, 1936 Williamsfield Road; Espyville: Espyville Outdoors, 1545 Route 285, or Poff’s Place Bait & Tackle, 10672 Perry Drive; or in Andover, Ohio: Gateway Bait & Tackle, 6517 Route 85; or download the registration form at PymatuningLake.com. Complete, date and sign the form and mail it along with your check or money order payable to the Pymatuning Lake Association in the amount of $20 for the entry fee to Pymatuning Lake Association, P.O. Box 78, Westford, Pa. 16134-5078.
Participants can also register the day of the tournament from 7 to 10 a.m. at the Pymatuning Lake Association trailer that will be set-up near Pymatuning State Park Shelter No. 4, Jamestown.
Complete tournament rules are available at the local bait shops listed above or at PymatuningLake.com. Pre-registered entrants can pick up their meal ticket at the trailer anytime during the tournament.
The public is encouraged to watch as the participants check-in to have their fish measured. A monitor will be installed in Shelter No. 4 for all to see the results.
Participants will fish for the longest walleye netting $350, the longest crappie netting $250, and the longest perch netting $150. Participants must be in the weigh-in line by 3:30 p.m.
- More information: Call Joel Brown, president of the Pymatuning Lake Association, at (724)927-9493; or email PymaLakeAssoc@windstream.net.
JAMESTOWN — The Pymatuning Trail Blazers Snowmobile Club has announced the schedule of events for its 38th Annual Winter Fun Days at Pymatuning State Park Shelter No. 4 at the Old Jamestown Beach on Feb. 8 and Feb. 9.
Both days, breakfast will be available to purchase in the warmth of Shelter No. 4 from 8 to 11 a.m. and lunch will be available from 11 a.m. until the day ends.
Ice permitting, the following events are planned: ice-skating; pick-up pond hockey games; “hillbilly curling;” and ice fishing tournament.
Snow permitting, the following events are planned: beginner’s snowshoeing; free snowmobile rides for children; and Frozen 5K Run.
Other attractions on both days include a vintage snowmobile display, a chainsaw carver displaying his creativity in wood, a pick-a-prize auction with the winning tickets being drawn on Sunday, bring-your-own-sled children’s sled riding and a horse-drawn hayride in the park.
Winter Fun Days will be held regardless of the weather.
- More information: Call Pymatuning State Park at (724) 932-3142 or Pymatuning Trail Blazers Snowmobile Club President Denny Diodati at (814) 720-6584; or go to PymatuningTrailBlazers.com online.
TITUSVILLE — On Feb. 8, Drake Well Museum and the Friends of Drake Well Inc. host a special Pithole Sledding Party.
The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (weather permitting) at the Pithole historic site located on Pithole Road just off Route 227 near Plumer. Admission is free and children under 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
Melissa Mann, museum site administrator, stated, “We are very excited to host the Pithole Sledding Party. It’s the perfect opportunity for folks to shake off the winter blues and enjoy the landscape of Pennsylvania’s legendary oil boomtown in a whole new way.”
The sledding party will feature hours of fun in the snow, a bonfire, hot cocoa, cookies and more.
- For reservations: Call (814) 827-2797.
EDINBORO — Have you ever wished you’d known how to handle a wildlife emergency? A hawk hit by a car on a roadside? Ducklings stranded away from their mother?
Tamarack Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center is offering a Wildlife First Responders Course to teach participants when to intervene and when not to, and how to capture, handle, stabilize and transport injured birds. Carol Holmgren and Kristine Steiner, licensed wildlife rehabilitators for Tamarack Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center, will teach the class.
The class meets at the Edinboro Borough Building, 124 Meadville St., on Thursday nights from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., February 18, 25 and March 4. The class is intended for adults, though older teens can attend with a parent. There is a $25 fee for resource materials and it includes a year's membership. Preregistration is requested to ensure there are enough materials for everyone.
- To register: Go to tamarackwildlife.org and download a registration form. Fill it out and mail it with a $25 check to the address shown on the form. Or call the center at 763-2574 and leave a message, including your name, address and phone number to register by phone and bring your payment to the first class.
JAMESTOWN — The public is invited to join in an owl program at Pymatuning State Park Feb. 20 at 8 p.m.
Participants will drive around the park to search for owls and they are asked to dress for the weather and bring a flashlight for some walking on the trails.
- To register: Call (724) 932-3142 to register for the program.
CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS — Springs Rod & Gun Club holds a spring raffle with 31 items on sale now. Ticket numbers are based on the Pennsylvania evening daily number from May 1 to 31. Each ticket can win more than once.
Tickets available at Edinboro Outdoors, Hendrickson’s True Value, Fink Tire, Bausch’s Gulf Service Station and John’s Barber Shop.
SAEGERTOWN — The Saegertown Sportsmen’s Club is holding open-to-the-public trap practice on Sundays from 2 to 4:30 p.m.
There will be no shoots on the third Sundays of the month.
- More information: Call 763-3773.