Piney Run's open season will end busy off-season


March 19, 2002|By Debra Taylor Young | Debra Taylor Young,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE GATES OF Piney Run Park will open for the season April 1, ending a busy five months for the staff.

When the park closes in late October, the staff gears up for work that cannot be accomplished during the open season, when throngs of visitors show up to fish, hike, boat and go on picnics.

"Everybody thinks the park staff gets to kick back when, really, winter is as busy as open season," said park manager Loren Lustig, who has worked in conservation and parks for 31 years.

Environmental education runs year-round at the nature center. Lake studies, the annual Apple Festival, winter craft days, seminars and programs also are held in the off season.

Projects fill the days for Lustig and other staff members. They are continually on the lookout for ice, although that has not been a problem this winter. One significant freeze can damage piers.

Mowing is a large project. If the meadows were not mowed, they would grow into heavy underbrush. Then evergreens would appear, and, eventually, hardwood trees would reclaim the area. Mowing the meadows in the winter halts the process.

"We want to protect wildlife, and also make the park attractive to visitors," Lustig said.

Last month, Lustig and his staff hold two main events: the State of the Park and the State of the Lake. During daylong sessions, staff, volunteers, state officials and others discuss the park and lake, including conditions, needs, environmental threats and projects.

Lustig and his staff also consider which fish to stock or restock in Piney Run Lake. Fish that do not fare well in the lake environment are not restocked. Careful attention is given to species that attract the hundreds of anglers who frequent the park most of the year and participate in its fishing tournaments.

Finally, staffing needs for the open season must be determined. Many volunteers return to the park, but new staff must be trained. Lustig said training includes dealing with the public, handling emergencies on land and water, and operating watercraft safely.

An orientation session for volunteers will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the nature center. The orientation is open to adults and youths age 14 and older. Those who complete the orientation may sign up for a four-hour shift during the open season, April 1 to Oct. 31.

Information and registration: 410-795-6043.

Clue Caper Dance

The Opening Knights Drama Club at Century High School is sponsoring a Clue Caper Dance from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday.

Students attending the dance will have the opportunity to solve a mystery. Drama club members will play roles in the caper, and those attending will guess the identity of the guilty party.

Tickets are $4 per student and will be on sale this week during lunch periods. The school is on Ronsdale Road.

Information: 410-386-4400.

Debra Taylor Young's neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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