|Harrisburg – Anglers and boaters have named Presque Isle State Park among the nation’s best state parks for fishing and boating in a national competition sponsored by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation.
Presque Isle State Park is a 3,200-acre sandy peninsula that arches into Lake Erie. As Pennsylvania's only “seashore,” Presque Isle offers its visitors a beautiful coastline and many recreational activities.
“There’s a lot of family fun happening at Presque Isle through easy, affordable access, and quality fishing, boating and other water sports,” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Richard Allan said. “Those qualities are the keystone of this friendly competition, and they embody why Presque Isle State Park draws more than 3.7 million visitors each year – more visitors than some national parks receive.”
“Pennsylvanians and out-of-state tourists have long enjoyed the beauty of Presque Isle State Park and the wide range of family-friendly fishing and boating opportunities it offers,” said Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director John Arway. “This contest demonstrates what we’ve always known -- that Presque Isle ranks among the nation’s best state parks for outdoor recreation.”
Sponsored as part of its “Take Me Fishing” campaign, the foundation hosted the eight-week-long promotion, “Nature’s Waterpark Showdown,” to boost state park awareness and participation in the boating and fishing they offer. Beginning June 5, more than 150,000 Take Me Fishing Facebook fans voted on their favorite park for boating and fishing in one of eight regions of the United States.
Presque State Park led the Northeast sector. Other designated areas and selected leading parks were:
Southwest: Lake Murray State Park, Oklahoma; Great Lakes: Itasca State Park, Minnesota; Southwest: Blue Spring State Park, Florida; Midwest: El Dorado State Park, Kansas; West Mountain: Cave Lake State Park, Nevada; Southern: Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee; and North Atlantic, Wellington State Park, New Hampshire.
In announcing the Northeast’s winner, the foundation noted, “Presque Isle offers its visitors a beautiful coastline and many recreational activities, including swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, bicycling and in-line skating. The gateway to Presque Isle is the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC), an educational center at heart, dedicated to teaching visitors about Presque Isle and the many different forms of life that inhabit this unique peninsula ...”
Boaters find four free park launches at Presque Isle. The launches, along with abundant piers and miles of beach and other shoreline, offer easy access to Lake Erie and Presque Isle Bay and their populations of bass, walleye, muskellunge, Northern pike, steelhead and other trout, and a wide variety of pan fish.
“Families are looking for unique, affordable trips,” said foundation President and Chief Operating Officer Frank Peterson. “The ‘Nature’s Waterpark Showdown’ winners are just a few examples of enjoyable fishing and boating hot spots right in your own back yard that you can visit with your family.”
With 7,804 state parks across the United States, benefits of sampling water-based activities at these parks go beyond quality family time and exposure to nature, Peterson noted. Funds from fishing license sales and boat registration help preserve natural places and aid aquatic conservation efforts, he said.
Since 2007, the Take Me Fishing campaign has generated nearly $30 million for state conservation efforts. The campaign increases awareness of the need to protect, conserve and restore the nation’s aquatic resources by encouraging participation in recreational boating and fishing.
For details on Presque Isle’s selection and the “Nature’s Waterpark Showdown,” visit http://www.takemefishing.org/community/blog/state-parks-boating-fishing/.
For more information on Presque Isle and Pennsylvania’s other 119 state parks, visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us (Select “Find a Park”).
Eric Levis, PF&BC
Terry Brady, DCNR