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Dear Old State…Parks: Whipple Dam

Penn State is surrounded for miles by mountains and forests, but is there anything to do out there? I decided to take a look and found out that we have six — yes, six — State Parks within a half-hour drive of College Ave. Instead of being a good student and focusing on classes (sorry, Mom), I decided to go exploring and see what each park had to offer.

First up is Whipple Dam:

The drive to Whipple Dam took about 25 minutes, which puts it well within my exploring range. Better yet, the drive took me past the Naked Egg Cafe, which would have been an ideal stop to make before continuing on to the park if I hadn’t eaten earlier.

The Whipple Dam area was purchased from the Iroquois nation in 1754, and became a state recognized recreation area in the early 1930s. The day-use area of the park has been recognized as a historic district since 1987 and the park now protects 256 acres.

On a nice day, you would be able to play beach volleyball (on a real beach, not like the sand in Pollock) and swim in the lake. Fishermen and boaters can get excited, too, as most of the lake is designated as non-swimming and is open to other activities. I didn’t exactly visit on the warmest day of the year, so I brought a picnic and hiked through some of the trails around the lake instead.

The park also allows cross-country skiing and snowmobiling, but personally I’d have been terrified to try to make my way through some of those trails with skis on my feet.

Probably my favorite part of the park was the peace and quiet. Campus is crowded, downtown can be hectic, but Whipple felt like I was in a completely different world. There were no CATA busses to catch, no Willard Preacher to condemn my soul, and no stress of thinking that I should have been spending my time studying (though I probably should have).

Park Review: I had a dam good time getting to explore Whipple, and I look forward to visiting the next park.

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About the Author

Ryan Haines

Ryan is a senior majoring in Economics with a minor in German. Hailing from Lancaster, PA you might be surprised to hear that he is not Amish. Reach out with questions and comments at [email protected] or on Twitter @HyanRaines.

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