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Summertime at Allegany State Park

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By Alicia Dziak

If you’re one of the many who considers Allegany State Park (ASP) your home away from home, summer is a great time to revisit all your favorite places and activities, as well as discover new ones. Head to the largest of New York State’s parks and enjoy 65,000 sprawling acres of outdoor fun.

While cabins must be rented for a minimum of seven nights this time of year, camp sites can be reserved for fewer, and there are many to choose from. To check out what’s available, visit www.reserveamerica.com.

You can also head to the park for the day.

ASP’s naturalist-led daily programs make learning fun. Enjoy nature walks and scavenger hunts, learn about plants and animals and discover cool places in the park. Ten new programs have been introduced this year, like Wetland Walks, Night Hikes and Team Challenge Games. For more info, visit www.facebook.com/alleganystatepark or pick up the schedule at either rental office inside the park.

Through mid-July, Allegany State Park’s Environmental Education Department will offer hikes to view the rare Synchronous Fireflies – once thought to exist in only a handful of places in the world.

The Photinus Carolinus species, also known as the Synchronous Firefly, flashes only from late June to mid-July.

In 2012, the Firefly International Research and Education Team came to study the local firefly species, and confirmed its existence in the Branch Creek area of Allegheny National Forest.

After lead naturalist, Adele Wellman, and other volunteers and naturalists from Allegany State Park received the training necessary to identify the species, the park naturalists looked in similar habitats and were able to identify the Synchronous Firefly for its first confirmed sighting in New York State.

For information on other programs, please check Allegany State Park’s activity schedule at www.facebook.com/alleganystatepark , or call (716) 354-9101 ext. 232.

Get out of the house and come join in the fun as Allegany State Park continues its series of hikes called “Third Saturday Treks.” As the name implies, these free, family-friendly hikes will take place on the third Saturday of each month from April through October. The treks will be led by park staff and summer interns.

This month’s Third Saturday Trek takes place July 15 on Bear Paw –one of the park’s newest trails. Hike along with Allegany’s summer interns as they point out the many interesting things found on this trail. This easy, 2.4-mile hike will last approximately two hours. Participants are asked to meet at the Summit Warming Hut at 10 a.m. and to come dressed for the weather. Registration is not required.

For more information, visit the Allegany State Park Facebook page or contact the Environmental Education/Recreation Department at (716) 354-9101 ext. 236.

Sally’s Hootenanny has begun for the season! Join Sally Marsh for this ASP tradition—a weekly sing-along at the Quaker Amphitheater, Thursdays at 8 p.m.

Weekly artists-in-residence will perform concerts throughout the week throughout the summer. Performers include Darrell Porter, Will Lowry, Jess Chizuk, Davis & Eng Band, Keith James, Ken Hardley, Sean Patrick McGraw and Katy Webster.

Head to Red House Lake or Quaker Lake and rent a kayak, SUP, canoe or paddle boat and explore the water. Or sit in the sand and enjoy the beaches.

Free Tai Chi classes will be offered Wednesday and Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. at the Quaker Bathhouse. Register by calling (716) 354-2182.

Quaker Lake will also be the site for the annual Rock the Park celebration on July 21Picture the scene: a beautiful summer evening in Allegany State Park, great live music -and you smack in the middle of it! It can all be yours to enjoy at Allegany State Park’s 6th annual Rock the Park! This year’s event takes place on July 21 at the Quaker Beach area. The day kicks off at 3 p.m. with a local vendor showcase. Various merchants and organizations will be on hand to familiarize park patrons and local residents with the many great things that are available to them in the surrounding area. At 5 p.m., Park Naturalists will host an “Ask the Naturalist” program that will feature several interactive nature displays.

At 6 p.m., it’s time to “Rock the Park” with opening act and Allegany’s own Artist in Residence, Jess Chizuk. Jess, an award-winning songwriter, has her musical roots firmly divided between both old folk tunes and new indie music, and the result of this combination is her truly captivating writing. It has been garnering the attention of audiences in her hometown of Buffalo, New York and beyond. Drawing on life experiences, honest stories, and the city she calls home, her music is soulful and truly genuine.

She will be followed by headliners Playing with Monsters. The band got its start in November of 2014.It was an idea that blossomed from Lead Singer Paul Justinger (Flipside) and Rob Baker (Metal101). The idea was simple— create a band that allows all members to play what they always wanted to, whether they like the song or just the challenge of the song. Since that time the idea has taken off and the group continues to grow in popularity including playing multiple music festivals and opening for national artists like Scott Stapp of Creed!

For more information, contact the Environmental Education/Recreation Department at (716) 354-9101 ext 236 or check out the park’s Facebook page.

The annual Beach Party will be held at Quaker Beach on Aug. 18, with music by Keith James and Sean Patrick McGraw and Kevin McCarthy, as well as face paitning, kids’ activities and fireworks.

Enjoy free outdoor movies at the Quaker General Store several nights a week. Pick up the schedule at either rental office inside the park.

Of course, if it’s less scheduling you’re after, take your pick from miles of scenic hiking trails on varying terrain throughout the park. Climb Thunder Rocks, explore Little Ireland, visit the Fire Tower, go fishing in Science, Red House or Quaker Lakes, or grab a bite on the patio of the Park Restaurant.

ASP is a haven for outdoor summertime fun. And since it’s just a short drive away, why not plan a trip or two or 10 there this summer? You won’t regret it!

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