If temperatures rise for the Fourth of July, the holiday may find many residents in the local state parks, where the cool mountain breezes and shaded lawns are cooler.

Here are some free organized activities to look for if you head for the hills for your holiday picnic:

Cowans Gap, 6235 Aughwick Road, Fort Loudon


8:30 pm: Night hike, meet at the Interpretive Center to learn some of the adaptations night critters have acquired in order to survive.


• 3 p.m.: Bicycle parade through Camping Area A (decorating of bikes from noon-3)

• 5 pm : Beaver walk, meet the naturalist at the amphitheater for an informational walk out to where a lodge has been built.

• 6:30 pm: Bald eagle program, in the Nature Center, discover what happens in the nests and how the eaglets celebrate our holidays.

• 8:30 pm: Bat count, meet at the amphitheater for a brief discussion on the history of bats at Cowans Gap and head out to the boxes to count them.

• 9 p.m.: digital fireworks display at the beach, followed by a campfire.


• 2:30 pm: Birding 101, meet the naturalist at the amphitheater to discover the joy of viewing and identifying birds.

• 4:30 pm: Leave No Trace hiking, meet at the amphitheater for an interactive program and short hike to learn the simple principles of LNT.

For more information, contact Renae Weidner at 717-485-3948 or

Caledonia, 101 Pine Grove Road, Fayetteville


8:30 pm: "April 1865," film at the amphitheater. Lincoln wants to end the war with forgiveness, but Booth wants revenge. Take a flashlight.


• 2:30-4 pm: Thaddeus Stevens Blacksmith Shop open house, learn about charcoal, slag, and Caledonia's role in the Civil War. (also 2-4 p.m. July 5)

• 4 pm: Three-mile hike along Raccoon Run Trail, view log cabins built during the 1930s when the chestnut blight damaged our forests.

• 8:30 pm: "Death and the Civil War," film at the amphitheater, soldiers died, bodies littered the American landscape. Take a flashlight.

For more information, contact Wesley Foltz at 717-352-2161.

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