Are you thinking about going ice boating in Western Pennsylvania this year? If so, you may want to consider visiting one of the region's state parks. There are several that permit ice boating activities. However, you will need to bring your own ice boat and purchase a state park launch permit. With that said, here's a quick look at a handful of the best ones:
Pymatuning State Park
Mercer County's Pymatuning State Park features a 17,088-acre lake, seasonal marinas and boat launches. Charcoal grills, bathrooms and picnic tables are located on premise. The grills may be used to set up a personal warming area. Park admission is complementary and ice rescue equipment is typically not available onsite. Ice boaters should also note that the lake does extend into Ohio. Therefore, checking out both states' boating regulations prior to visiting the park is strongly advised.
Maurice K. Goddard State Park
Mercer County's Maurice K. Goddard State Park features a 1,860-acre lake, boat launches and a seasonal marina. There are restrooms, charcoal grills and picnic tables located onsite. Park admission is gratis. Ice rescue equipment is traditionally unavailable onsite. As such, ice boaters should plan accordingly.
Presque Isle State Park
Erie County' Presque Isle State Park features a seasonal marina, a seasonal boat livery, boat launches and access to Presque Isle Bay. The park also offers opportunities for ice skating, ice fishing and more. Picnic areas and restrooms are located on premise. Ice boaters are required to provide their own ice rescue gear. In my opinion, it is also a good idea to pay close attention to the area's weather reports.
Erie Bluffs State Park
Erie County's Erie Bluffs State Park features a boat launch and access to Lake Erie. It is basically an undeveloped area. Therefore, ice boaters should plan accordingly. Due to Lake Erie's nature, I'd suggest that ice boaters check out the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's website. It provides information about weather and ice boating issues related to Lake Erie. Park admission is gratis. Ice boaters should bring their own ice rescue supplies and sundries.
Moraine State Park
Butler County's Moraine State Park features seasonal marinas, boat launches and access to a 3,225-acre lake. Picnic areas, bathrooms and year round cabin rentals are available onsite. Ice boaters are responsible for bringing their own ice rescue equipment. There is no charge to access the park's facilities. However, a valid launch permit is required. Non-residents may expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $34 per state park launch permit.
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys winter sports and recreation with her family. She has also traveled extensively.
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