The warm weather has provided more opportunities for people to enjoy the outdoors. One nature park in Pike County opened this weekend, the earliest opening in its history.
Known as the Niagara of Pennsylvania, Bushkill Falls in the Poconos features eight waterfalls and 2.5 miles of hiking trails.
Plenty of people were taking advantage of the warm weather for the park’s opening weekend, the earliest in more than 100 years.
“We were very excited this year, for the first time in the history, that we were able to open this early. It`s about three weeks earlier than last year,” said general manager Donna Smith.
Officials try to have the park open by April 1, weather permitting. Last year the park only opened around April 7 due to a late season snowstorm and ice still on the trails.
That was not the case this year. The warmer weather had 750 people turning out to visit Bushkill Falls on Saturday`s opening day.
“The winter has been so mild. We`ve been inundated with calls, `Are you open? Are you open? When are you going to open?` so we just started working early getting the grounds ready to go, getting the trails ready to go,” added Smith.
“It`s been beautiful, very nice. We were just saying that this was the right temperature to be here. We wouldn`t want to be here when it`s real hot. A lot of walking, good exercise,” said Robin Eckert of Carlisle.
Robin Eckert of the Harrisburg area came to explore the outdoors and was happy to find the park welcoming visitors so early in March.
“We didn`t even realize that, so I`m glad they were open. We came here figuring that they would be, so it`s good that they are,” added Eckert.
Kyle Slusser said the spring-like temperatures made his first trip to Bushkill Falls the perfect day for a hike.
“Not a normal winter at all, no. Relatively mild, warm, and that`s why we thought we`d take advantage of the conditions here, so here we are,” said Kyle Slusser of Carlisle.
Whether taking pictures of the falls or walking the trails, many were enjoying the jump-start on the tourist season, knowing Mother Nature can be unpredictable.
“You never know. It was bad last year, next year it could be as bad or even worse, so we have to take the nice weather while we have it,” said Wendi Molode of New Jersey.
While the trails are open, the retail and snack shops at Bushkill Falls are closed for the next few weeks for renovations.
Parking is free, but there is an admission charge.