Destination PA: Gifford Pinchot State Park

Destination Vacation

A great place to check out is a gem in York County featuring plenty of activities to keep your family busy.

“This is a man-made lake here in South Central Pennsylvania. It’s a great place to paddle or to fish,” says Adam Spangler, Regional Education Specialist for the Southcentral Region PA Fish and Boat Commission.

There is also swimming, canoeing, bird watching, and kayaking. Slowly paddling while soaking in nature at it’s finest at Gifford Pinchot State Park. But before you hit the water, think safety first. 

“Make sure you have a kayak or canoe or boat that you enjoy to be on. Test it out, you’ll definitely want to test it out on nonmoving water like a lake before you head out there onto the water,” Spangler said. “You want to make sure you have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket fit you properly so it’s snug and tight, and you also have to make sure you have a whistle, a sound-producing device along with you when you’re out there on the water as well to get someone’s attention it’s can be louder than just yelling so sound. If using any state park lakes or any of our fishing boat accesses you want to make sure you have an unpowered registration or a launch permit on that boat as well.”

Once that’s checked off the list, now you are ready to enjoy it. 

“I love it. It’s fun being out on the water,” Chris Staub of Mt. Wolf, York County.

Especially, when it comes to fishing. Species from Large Mouth Bass to Carp, Crappies, and more life in 340-acre lake.

“Seeing as it’s my first time here on a kayak, and first-time bass fishing here, I finally pulled in one that was about seventeen inches, caught another one and it was about three,” Staub said. 

A great way to spend the day.

“Being out on the water is a nice place to be it’s calming. You can relax from your day to day grind -especially with what’s going on today,” Spangler said.

After you have melted away your stress, this reminder.

You want to make sure you clean your equipment really well. You can see some aquatic invasive species, or hitchhikers we like to call them, hanging out in here. You want to make sure you clean your gear off really good, hot soap and water is a great thing, letting it dry completely before you take it to another body of water. You don’t want to transfer this from, say Gifford Pinchot lake to the Susquehanna River,” Spangler said.

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