VIDEO: Short video highlighting Pennsylvania's State Parks


Enjoy this 33-second video showcasing Pennsylvania's State Parks.

Two new products for the never-ending fight against mosquitos

Author's note: If you read my blog regularly, you know that I often will post press releases if I think the product might be of use for RVers and campers. Here's another one...

The new Stinger Portable Bug Zapper is a hand-held device that kills insects on contact with 3000 volts of zapping power. The racket incorporates a flexible, rubber neck for use on walls or other flat surfaces, while the angled head easily reaches into corners. Its unique design uses no chemicals and safely kills insects without leaving behind a mess.  

Quick Facts
  • Slide and hold activation switch for safety
  • LED indicator lights
  • Easy-to-load battery compartment
  • Powerful 3000 volts
  • Angled head great for reaching corners
  • Flexible neck for flat surfaces
  • 20% larger killing surface than similar models
  • Indoor/outdoor use
  • Uses 2 "C" batteries (not included)
  • MSRP: $12.99

The new Stinger Insect Zapper Lantern is a portable, cordless and rechargeable bug zapper. It is designed for both indoor and outdoor use. This unit uses both black UV light technology, which has been scientifically proven to eliminate up to 40% more flying insects than white UV light, and an Octenol lure, that work together to reduce the amount of mosquitoes and flying insects in your personal spaces.
Quick Facts
  • Portable and rechargeable
  • Black UV light technology
  • Quiet operation
  • Indoor/outdoor use
  • Covers 625 sq. ft.
  • Lantern-only option – ideal for accent lighting
  • 3.5 hour run time
  • Sturdy ring for carrying or hanging
  • Includes 1 NOsquito® octenol lure
  • MSRP: $29.99 

VIDEO: Coleman Quad LED Lantern review by RVTravel.com


Enjoy this 2:14 video from RVTravel.com as they review the Coleman Quad LED Lantern.

Here's what RVTravel.com had to say about its video:
PRODUCT REVIEW from RVtravel.com. The Coleman Quad LED electric lantern is powerful with its 24 LED lights. But see what you can do with this lantern that you cannot do with any other lantern we know of. One minute it's one lantern, then the next minutes it's four lantern. Sound impossible? It's not. RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury has a demonstration. (Sign up for our weekly RVtravel.com newsletter at http://rvtravel.com )

Pittsburgh Happenings


Knit the Bridge
The Andy Warhol Bridge in Pittsburgh will be “yarn bombed,” thanks to a Knit the Bridge project, a grassroots, community-led arts project that involved 1,500 people who supplied knitted and crocheted materials to cover the iconic bridge. The large-scale fiberarts installation will cover The Andy Warhol Bridge in downtown Pittsburgh, Aug. 11- Sept. 8, 2013. Held in conjunction with Fiberart International 2013, the intention of Knit the Bridge is to celebrate the history of Pittsburgh as a city of bridges and steel as well as celebrate the region’s thriving, contemporary art scene. A Knit the Bridge Art Party takes place Aug. 25 from 3-7 p.m. on the Warhol Bridge!  

Art Lovers: Mark Your Calendar
Take a deep breath and get ready for the 2013 Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts. For four weeks, Pittsburgh will set the stage for international companies and artists premiering works never before seen in the United States. Theater, dance, music, performance, visual arts, the real and surreal merge for the wildly entertaining festival. As part of the Festival of Firsts, be among the first in the U.S. to witness a worldwide sensation: the friendly, floating, four-story high Rubber Duck makes its U.S. debut on Sept. 27 in Pittsburgh and will be floating in the river for at least two weeks. In other art happenings, Pittsburgh also welcomes the return of Carnegie International to Carnegie Museum of Art on October 5. This much-anticipated, cutting-edge contemporary art exhibition boasts works by 35 artists from 19 countries, including a series of large-scale commissions throughout the museum and beyond. It includes an ambitious reinstallation of the permanent collection of contemporary art that helped to build the museum. The Carnegie International runs Oct. 5, 2013-March 15, 2014

Pedal Power
On Sunday, Aug. 25, three great bike rides will be part of PedalPGH, which is celebrating its 20th year. From the beginner-friendly Post-Gazette Family Ride, to the 25-mile Highmark City Tour, and the 62-mile PJ Dick, Trumbull and Lindy Paving Tour ride, cyclists will be exploring Pittsburgh’s coolest neighborhoods. PedalPGH riders will have fully marked courses that show off some of Pittsburgh’s best bicycle friendly roads, scenic views and, of course, bike lanes. Riders will receive a commemorative 20th Anniversary PedalPGH T-Shirt.  

You Can Be Sure: Westinghouse Castle Tours
The Westinghouse Castle, the former headquarters for industrialist George Westinghouse and his Westinghouse Air Brake Co., is open for public tours through September, after which it will be converted into a boutique hotel. “The Castle,” which is located about 14 miles from downtown Pittsburgh, is open for tours from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays through Saturday. The architecturally significant structure, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, will be transformed into a hotel, restaurant and banquet facility. George Westinghouse introduced paid vacations and half-days off on Saturdays.  

Bragging Rights
Motovo, an online real estate company, ranked Pittsburgh as the Smartest City in the United States. One hundred of the most populous cities were ranked based on universities and colleges per person, libraries per person, education levels, news media outlets, museums and public school rank… Also, Tripadvisor.com, the world’s largest travel site, ranked Pittsburgh’s PNC Park as the best ballpark in the U.S. “Perched along the Allegheny River, this renowned ballpark features spectacular sights of the Steel City skyline and the beautiful Clemente Bridge. A unique two-level ballpark that opened in 2001, PNC provides an intimate setting and spectacular views and sightlines from anywhere in the stadium.”

Tips to for hosting your own 'Glamping Party'

Author's note: Okay, apparently this "glamping" thing is catching on, I guess. Even Tiki brand torches is sending me press releases about how their products can add the "glamping" experience. Whatever.

Raise a gauzy tent to create a chic and comfortable outdoor room.

Start with lighting to set the mood of your space.

Add TIKI Brand Flame & Solar Torches around the perimeter of your backyard to automatically get a nice glow at night. The solar feature is great for households or parties with lots of kids or pets.

Next, use rugs to add color or to define a particular area in the yard.

Add seating and places for guests to rest a drink or plate. You can purchase small side tables or paint a wood stump in a fun or metallic color to be used as a table.

Lastly, add outdoor pillows to give the space a warm feeling.

Use vibrant colors to create a whimsical and inviting table setting for dinner, drinks and snack. Try a combination of navy or turquoise as your shade of blue, with white and hot pink accents, such as a navy striped tablecloth with pink plates and turquoise chairs.

Lighting is key when the sun goes down. Light the night with hanging lanterns, tabletop tea lights and
decorative candles. Also, instead of a regular fire pit, have guests gather around a TIKI Brand Fire Sculpture after dinner.

Set up your backyard with designated areas for specific tasks. Have one area designated for serving food, one for lounging or dining, an area for drinks or a self-serve bar, and an area for games if this suits your event. This setup will keep your guests moving through the yard and prevent any congestion in a specific location.

Ice down your drinks in a wheelbarrow. Place the wheelbarrow next to a fence post or tree and simply install a bottle opener nearby. Set out a bucket or glass jar for guests to deposit their bottle caps. This adds an inexpensive and memorable element to your party.

VIDEO: How to Lengthen an RV Bed by Trailer Life TV


Enjoy this 1:45 video from Trailer Life TV showing "How to Lengthen an RV Bed"

Here's what Trailer Life TV had to say about its video:
The bed in an RV can often be too short for those that are taller to enjoy a comfortable nights sleep. This video shows you how to fix that problem without having to buy an expensive new bed. A TrailerLifeTV original video. For more RV videos, please visit www.trailerlife.tv!

Top Family RV Parks Chosen by the Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory


More than 50 percent of RVers say spending more time with family is a the primary reason for hitting the
road in a recreational vehicle, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association’s recent Campfire Canvass. Indeed, the fun and camaraderie of RV travel helps family members establish family bonds strained by work, school and other stresses of modern life. Fortunately, hundreds of campgrounds across North America provide amenities from pools to playgrounds to give families a chance to have fun.

To help travelers find RV parks that strengthen familial bonds, the editors and consultants of the Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory have compiled a list of the top family RV Parks. Boasting parks from across North America, the list is tailored for RV travelers seeking campgrounds that foster a family-friendly climate.

The Good Sam RV Travel Guide’s top Family RV Parks are

RV Parks for the Whole Family 
Some RV parks cultivate a family-friendly climate by organizing fun activities. At Normandy Farms Family Campground in Foxboro, Massachusetts, families can participate in an Easter egg hunt, a Mother’s Day weekend and Fourth of July celebration. In Warrens, Wisconsin, the staff organize themed activity weeks, such as Wild West Week and Yogi’s Birthday Week.

Some RV parks create a whimsical environment. Sherwood Forest Camping and RV Park in the Wisconsin Dells features tudor-style structures that transport visitors back to “Olde England.” However, modern amenities aren’t ignored: The park includes a heated swimming pool, large splash pads and free Wi-Fi.

Good Sam Guide 

RV travelers can find more information about family-friendly parks in the 2013 Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory, which combines two of the RV industry’s most popular and respected brands—the Trailer Life Directory and Woodall’s Campground Directory—into one comprehensive volume. The guide contains detailed information more than 14,000 RV parks across North America; each campground is personally inspected and rated by the Good Sam’s consultant teams.

The guide also includes lifestyle features, regional trip guides and essential travel facts. Readers can get vital tech tips, learn about must-see points of interest in all of North America’s states and provinces, follow a meal and fitness planner and get Road Ready with a special products section. Also included are guides to RV-related state laws and information needed for trouble-free trips into Canada and Mexico.

For more information about the 2013 Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory, click on www.goodsamcamping.com.

Campsites for Labor Day Weekend still available at Michigan State Parks

Even with Labor Day right around the corner, it’s not too late to get in on some sizzling summer fun and fitness at many of Michigan’s state parks. Camping reservations for Labor Day weekend are still available throughout the state, especially in Metro Detroit, the northeastern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula.

Pontiac Lake Recreation Area (Detroit metro), Onaway and Clear Lake state parks (northeastern Lower) and Indian Lake and Van Riper State Parks (Upper Peninsula) are among those with campsites available for reservation over the Labor Day weekend. One-third of state parks (including these) have at least a 15-percent vacancy, offering families a last-minute opportunity to explore the outdoors before the school year begins.

According to Ron Olson, chief of the Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) Parks and Recreation Division, the open reservations afford families the chance to still get away for Labor Day while also starting a new family tradition — camping at a state park they’ve never visited before. 

“If your Labor Day camping reservation hasn’t yet been made, there’s still time,” Olson said. "By starting a new family tradition — exploring a different state park this Labor Day — you’ll open up fresh experiences to your children. They’ll explore different trails, play on unique beaches, gain additional insight into nature, and broaden their general knowledge and understanding of Michigan and the natural wonders that make this state special.”

Michigan’s natural wonders — its trees, foliage, streams and wildlife — can be enjoyed while utilizing the state’s hundreds of miles of expansive, interconnected trail and pathway systems. Taking advantage of this opportunity can become part of every family's camping experiences.

Jeremy Spell, park manager at Onaway and Aloha state parks in northeastern Lower Michigan, encourages campers to get out and enjoy trails.

“Camping is a great way to relax, and it’s also an ideal way to become active in Michigan’s out-of-doors,” Spell said. “Aloha State Park, and many other state parks in the area, are located near both the Inland Waterway — a water trail — and the North Central State Recreation Trail, which is ideal for hiking and biking. Families can enjoy hours of active recreation on these trails while also starting or continuing the tradition of a healthy lifestyle.”

Visit www.michigan.gov/stateparks and click on Labor Day Occupancy Reports to view the latest state campground availability for Labor Day weekend. To make a camping reservation at a Michigan state park, log on to www.midnrreservations.com. More information about the North Central State Recreation Trail is available at www.northcentraltrail.org.

Get into the outdoors with Camping 101 at Michigan state parks

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and The North Face are teaming up to offer Camping 101 at Michigan state parks to educate first-time campers on the basics of camping.

The Camping 101 experience includes a two-night stay with all the gear, guides and good times included for just $20. It begins with a First-Timers Welcome Kit filled with details on what to pack, what to expect and what to wear. Then, when visitors check in at their campsite, park staff members will walk them through the process of setting up camp and settling in for a great Michigan adventure.

As part of their Camping 101 stay, visitors will receive a prime camping location, tent, tarp, flashlight, lantern, camp stove and four hot dog/marshmallow cookers. All equipment is provided courtesy of The North Face and must be returned at the end of the camping trip.

Camping 101 is offered at the following Michigan state parks:
The great outdoors awaits, so choose your Camping 101 date and call your desired state park from the list above to begin your adventure in Michigan’s great outdoors!

While you are at a state park, why not check out the calendar of Recreation 101 programs and learn a new activity like archery, fishing, kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding? All Rec 101 programs are free, and all equipment is provided for participants.

Making the Most of Your Summer Camping and RVing Trip

Governor Snyder may have declared July “Michigan Camping & RV Month,” but don’t limit camping and RVing to just one month!

The Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) members are open all summer, and some year round! Whether you are a seasoned traveler or new to camping and RVing, MARVAC members have something for everyone.

There are over 1,000 private campgrounds and 119,000 sites to choose from across the state of Michigan that provide many features and amenities. Often times, campgrounds and RV parks are located near popular travel routes and destinations for exploring. A study by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association shows that vacationers who choose to RV can save up to 60 percent on traveling expenses. Of those surveyed, 80 percent say that even when fuel prices go up, RVing is still their least expensive travel option.

Over 315,000 RVs in the state of Michigan, and 30 million RVers across the nation, have replaced airport delays, cramped hotel rooms and expensive restaurants with family memories of scenic drives, comfortable, amenity-filled campgrounds, campfire cookouts and outdoor adventures. While traveling to your destination, RVs allow you the option to stop and BBQ, check out local tourist sites and spend quality time with your family.

Michigan is lucky enough to have four seasons that boast unique colors, weather, and activities. In an RV, you can experience it all, while still keeping the comforts of home. Affordability, quality time with your family, and the opportunity to encounter all that Michigan has to offer are just some of the great things about RVing! Visit www.marvac.org to find a campground.

The Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) is a statewide, non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging growth in the recreation vehicle and private campground industries while contributing to the quality of Michigan tourism. For more information, visit MARVAC’s website, www.marvac.org. MARVAC, 2222 Association Drive, Okemos, Mich. 48864-5978; 517-349-8881.

ODNR Guidebook Highlights Opportunities for Anglers and Paddlers

A new guidebook is now available from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) that highlights
publicly accessible sites found along 14 major Lake Erie river systems. Ohio’s Lake Erie Public Access Guidebook – Rivers Edition is available as a 285-page printed book as well as an online guide that includes links to interactive maps and Web resources.

“Whether it’s teaching your grandchildren how to fish or launching a kayak for your first trip downstream, spending a day enjoying Ohio’s waters is an opportunity to create lifelong memories,” said Office of Coastal Management Chief Scudder Mackey. “The Rivers Edition guidebook is another resource that Ohioans and visitors can use to help create those memories while supporting our local communities’ economies as they travel through the region.”

The Rivers Edition is a companion document to the popular Ohio’s Lake Erie Public Access Guidebook (Coast Edition), which the Office of Coastal Management published in 2010. The coast guidebook features 164 public access sites along the state’s 312-mile Lake Erie shore.

Ohio’s Lake Erie Public Access Guidebook – Rivers Edition features 220 public access sites along more than 870 river miles. The Rivers Edition highlights publicly accessible sites along (from west to east) the Ottawa, Maumee, Toussaint, Portage, Sandusky, Huron, Vermilion, Black, Rocky, Cuyahoga, Chagrin, Grand and Ashtabula rivers and Conneaut Creek, and describes the amenities, activities and services available at each site.

Access sites include federal, state, county, city, village and township parks; county metropark preserves and reservations; state and local nature preserves; state wildlife areas; scenic river and water trail accesses; former canal lands and towpaths; memorials and monuments; and roadside fishing areas. Sites range in size from small roadside fishing locations to the vast 33,000-acre Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Ohio’s Lake Erie Public Access Guidebook – Rivers Edition is available at no cost at various locations, such as: the ODNR Division of Watercraft and Wildlife field offices in the Lake Erie watershed, state parks, metroparks and local and county visitor bureaus. It is also available on the Rivers Edition website at: http://LakeErie.ohiodnr.com/GoRivers.

Ohio’s Lake Erie Public Access Guidebook (Coast Edition), including additional sites and updates since it was originally published, is available as a printed brochure and online at: http://LakeErie.ohiodnr.com/GoCoast.

The Rivers Edition was developed by the ODNR Office of Coastal Management in partnership with the ODNR Office of Communications, and was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

Metro Detroit Boat Show to host 'Outdoor Nation OWN It Summit'

The Michigan Boating Industries Association has been chosen by the national organization Outdoor Nation to host an OWN It Summit at its fall Boating & Outdoor Festival. The MBIA shares a common goal with Outdoor Nation to lead Michiganders outdoors to enjoy all the natural resources the state has to offer. The purpose of the Outdoor Nation Summit is to increase outdoor participation with the millennial generation and will have a specific focus on boating and other water related activities.

“The Outdoor Nation initiative to get young people outdoors is one the MBIA also sees as a priority, this partnership is a great opportunity for MBIA to make a difference and introduce young adults to what Michigan has to offer,” said MBIA Executive Director and Boat Show Manager Nicki Polan.

According to the state of Michigan, Michigan has 57,000 acres of public water & boating access sites, 3,288 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 38,000 square miles of Great Lakes water, 11,000 inland lakes, 36,000 miles of rivers and streams, 5.5 million acres of wetlands, 1,406 public access sites, 1,064 marinas and so much more to offer!

Young adult leaders will gather at the OWN It Summit on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Lake St. Clair Metropark during the Boating & Outdoor Festival to tackle issues that are causing America’s inactivity crisis and nature deficit. Summit participants will develop strategies to address these barriers and commit to taking action together. During the Summit, Outdoor Nation will fund the most creative and impactful project idea – investing in on-the-ground projects that get Americans outdoors and active. To participate in the Summit, please contact the Boating & Outdoor Festival at boatmichigan@mbia.org or visit BoatingandOutdoorFest.com.

About the Boating & Outdoor Recreation Festival
The Boating & Outdoor Recreation Festival is produced by the Michigan Boating Industries Association (MBIA). The festival, located at Lake St. Clair Metropark, will be held September 19-22, 2013. Hours: Thurs., Fri.: Noon – 7:30PM, Sat.: 11AM – 7:30PM and Sun.: 11AM – 6 PM. For more information, discount tickets, current promotions and contest information, visit BoatingandOutdoorFest.com. Admission: $10 for adults, children 12 and under free with an adult. Parking is $5 – or free to those with a Metroparks permit. General park information can be found at www.metroparks.com or by calling 1-800-47-PARKS. The Boating & Outdoor Festival is sponsored by Great Lakes Scuttlebutt, official Magazine of the Boating & Outdoor Festival.

About The Outdoor Foundation
The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Through groundbreaking research, action oriented outreach, and education programs, the Foundation works with partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors. In 2010, the Foundation launched Outdoor Nation, a pioneering initiative that aims to empower young leaders to champion the outdoors on campuses and in communities across the United States. For more information visit: OutdoorFoundation.org and OutdoorNation.org.

Showcasing the Michigan DNR: Boardman River dam-removal project moving forward

The Boardman River, above the old Brown Bridge Dam site,
stands out against the snow-covered land.
Like many rivers across Michigan – and the world, for that matter – the Boardman River has been dammed
at a number of places over the years. The Department of Natural Resources has been working with other entities to remove or modify those dams to restore the Boardman, which flows through Grand Traverse and Kalkaska counties, to a more natural state.

The impoundment behind Brown Bridge Dam was
drawn down before the dam was removed.
The Boardman River project is the most comprehensive dam-removal and watershed-restoration effort in Michigan’s history and represents a model for how diverse organizations can collaborate effectively to work through complex issues
that span multiple jurisdictional boundaries. The project actively engages local, state, federal and tribal units of government, as well as non-profit environmental groups, educational institutions, stakeholders and the general public.

Four dams, all within 20 miles of the mouth of the Boardman, where it empties into West Grand Traverse Bay, came into focus for this project. Union Street Dam is about a mile upstream from the river mouth. Five miles further upstream sits Sabin Dam. Another mile upstream is Boardman Dam. And 12 miles upstream from there used to be Brown Bridge Dam, built in 1921 and placed into service in 1922, which has been removed.

“The project began in 2005, when the owners of the dams wanted to assess all of them for their environmental, social and economic pros and cons,” explained DNR Lake Michigan Basin coordinator Todd Kalish. “In 2009, the owners of the dams -- Grand Traverse County, which owns Sabin and Boardman dams, and the city of Traverse City, which owns Union and Brown Bridge dams – decided to remove the dams for a variety of reasons.”

Economics was a major factor. The dams were all in need of repair for safety reasons, and using the dams to generate hydropower was not economically feasible, Kalish said.

Removal of the Brown Bridge Dam will allow brown trout, like
this one held by DNR fisheries biologist Mark Tonello, access
to more than 100 miles of additional river and stream.
“Over 30 years, the projected revenue from hydropower would be around $8 million,” he said. “But the
projected cost of repair and maintenance would have been $16 million -- twice as much.”

The benefits of removal are well-documented, Kalish said. Not only would the removal allow fish passage up and down the system, but it would enhance the cold-water fish community in what had been a cold-water system.

“Not just trout, but aquatic insects, sculpins, those sorts of things,” Kalish said.

There are additional benefits, too, Kalish said. The area that was previously under impounded water would provide wetland and upland habitat. And the impounded water supported warm-water fish – bass, pike, etc., -- that predate trout. Dams prevent the natural movement of sediment and woody debris downstream and discharge unnaturally warm water into the river. And the zebra mussels that became established in the impounded water wouldn’t have been there without the dams.

“The Brown Bridge Dam is completely gone,” Kalish said. “The cost of removal was about $4.4 million.

“The 200-acre Brown Bridge impoundment now has a more diverse environment – high-quality river, fast-moving water, gravel and lots of insects. The benefits of the dam removal greatly exceed just fish.”

The dam removal has resulted in restoring a mile and a half of trout stream and reconnected the stream to another 145 miles of streams. The project team is working to put in woody structure in the restored channel above the old Brown Bridge site and is monitoring the vegetation in the flood plain to make sure invasive species do not become established.

The project is now in a period of study, Kalish said. Ultimately Boardman and Sabin dams will be removed and Union Street Dam will be modified.

Kayakers paddle on the newly restored Boardman River
above the old Brown Bridge Dam site.
“Union Street Dam currently acts as lamprey barrier,” Kalish said. “We want to keep exotic invasive species
out of the watershed, but we want the capacity to pass species that are beneficial. Currently, it has a fish-passage structure, but it only allows fish with strong jumping ability – such as Chinook salmon and steelhead – to pass. But we’d like to have the capacity to pass other species as well – brown trout, walleye, sturgeon, Great Lakes muskie – as well as to limit other species. Right now we don’t have that capacity.”

The removal of Boardman Dam includes a bridge that crosses the river at the dam site. Currently, the river crossing is one lane, which restricts traffic on it.

“We’re working with the road commission and the county to enhance that crossing,” Kalish said.

The cost of removing the remaining two dams is estimated at around $12.9 million. Funding will come from a variety of sources: the DNR’s dam management grant program, the Great lakes Restoration Initiative, the Great Lakes Fishery Trust, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Frey Foundation and other sources.

“We don’t anticipate any major construction or de-construction to occur this year, but we expect both next year," Kalish said. "The current plan is to address Boardman Dam – which is classified as a high hazard-potential dam by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality – first, then Sabin Dam and do the Union Street Dam construction in conjunction with one or the other.

“We hope to finalize the plan specifications for bridge construction and Boardman Dam removal this year.”

2013 Gold Seal Awards contest under way in Wisconsin

Visitors can vote for their favorite state park property in 10 different categories 

MADISON – What Wisconsin state park offers the best view from a tower? How about the best park for walking the dog, listening for an owl or holding a family reunion?

Those are among the categories for the 2013 Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Gold Seal Awards contest categories.

“If you are a camper, biker, hunter, angler, or park visitor, cast your vote for your favorite state park, forest, or trail in one of our new categories,” said Patty Loosen, state park friends coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources.

The winning parks, forests, and trails will be honored with a Gold Seal Awards at the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Awards Banquet in October. The statewide Friends of Wisconsin State Parks organization runs the Gold Seal Awards program each year to highlight Wisconsin's parks, trails, and forests.

This year, the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks have named the following categories:
  • Best recreational vehicle camping.
  • Best informational kiosk.
  • Best view from a tower.
  • Best friends group website.
  • Best place for dog walking.
  • Best place to hear an owl.
  • Most challenging hiking trail.
  • Best historical restoration project.
  • Best place for kids to explore nature.
  • Best place to hold a family reunion or party. 

People can cast their entries and find out more by visiting the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks website friendswiparks.blogspot.com (exit DNR) and clicking on the tab for “Gold Seal Awards.”

The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks work to promote, protect, preserve, restore, and enhance the State Park System in order to protect state parks and their resources for future generations.

3rd Annual Arts & Eats -- A Self Guided Agri-Cultural Driving Tour of Southwest Michigan

WHAT: 3rd Annual Arts & Eats – A Self Guided Agri-Cultural Driving Tour of Southwest Michigan

WHEN: Saturday, October 19 and Sunday, October 20

WHERE: Backroads of Allegan, Barry, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Kent and Van Buren counties

INFO: Arts & Eats is a free self-guided driving tour of artist studios, eateries featuring locally-grown food and farms that feature the best in Michigan specialty farm products.

Dozens of participating farms, art studios/galleries, eateries and central venues, are open to welcome visitors each day from 10am to 5pm – many of which are not open to the public any other time of year.

Arts – Visit galleries, studios and central venues to watch local painters, potters, photographers, sculptors and other artisans in action. Some farms – those that raise fiber-producing animals like alpacas and sheep – provide additional touring opportunities. Works are available for sale as well.

Eats – Explore farms where produce is grown, livestock is raised and artisanal foods are made. Then, stop by area farm/field-to-table restaurants to savor the bounty of the season. Participating restaurants feature special menu items using local products, with chefs using their creative culinary talents to pull together some fabulous menu items for the event.

DETAILS: www.ArtsAndEats.org | www.facebook.com/ArtsAndEats | @ArtsAndEats

RV Product: Paper Shower Towelette Combo Expands Product Line with Two New Varieties


On-the-Go Shower Alternative Offers New Formula for the Summer Season. 

Paper Shower, the popular on-the-go shower combo towelette pack, is launching two new product varieties this month to help consumers through the sweatiest months of the year. The line expansion includes the new Paper Shower Fresh and Paper Shower Natural, with all new formulas.

“With summer being a time for stuffy commutes and hot outdoor activities, I wanted to be sure that our product line included options for everyone,” says Paper Shower creator, Dr. Jim Bahcall. “The new formulas allow consumers to buy based on personal
preference.”

The new varieties come in a larger 10" x 12" size and with an improved formula but contain the same easy-to-use wet and dry towelette combination. Paper Shower Natural has a clean lemony scent and uses all-natural ingredients. Paper Shower Fresh offers an all-new unscented formula designed to easily remove sweat and odor.

Lincolnshire IL native Jim Bahcall developed the idea for the original Paper Shower in 2011 when his bicycle commute to the office each morning left him a sweaty mess. Unlike other towelettes on the market, the wet portion of Paper Shower is alcohol-free and contains unscented soap and gentle skin moisturizers designed to effectively cleanse the body. It is the only wet wipe on the market that includes a dry wipe to “towel off.” Paper Shower is sold exclusively on Amazon.com and retails at $10.20 for a 12-pack.