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10 Things to Do in Columbia & Montour Counties This Year

by: Nancy Bishop

Nestled in picturesque northeastern Pennsylvania near the Pocono Mountains, Columbia & Montour counties offer things to do to satisfy everyone – from the outdoor enthusiast to the history buff. Here are my top 10, in no particular order:

  1. Ricketts Glen State Park
  2. Montour Preserve
  3. Knoebels Amusement Resort
  4. Historic Covered Bridges of Columbia & Montour Counties
  5. Covered Bridge & Arts Festival
  6. Briggs Farm Blues Festival
  7. Bloomsburg Fair
  8. Bill’s Old Bike Barn
  9. Berwick Christmas Boulevard & Winterfest
  10. Benton Rodeo

1. Ricketts Glen State Park

Ricketts Glen State Park is one of Pennsylvania’s most scenic.

With more than 13,000 acres, Ricketts Glen State Park, located at 695 State Route 487, above Benton in Columbia County, is one of the most scenic areas in all of Pennsylvania. The park is annually one of the most popular in the state, for good reason. Ricketts Glen is home to the Glens Natural Area, a National Natural Landmark. Hike the Falls Trail and explore the Glens, which has a series of wild, free-flowing waterfalls, each cascading through rock-strewn clefts in this ancient hillside. The 94-foot Ganoga Falls is the highest of 22 named waterfalls in the park. Old growth timber and diverse wildlife add to the scenic landscape and inspiring beauty.

The 245-acre Lake Jean offers swimming and boating (electric motors only). A boat rental concession operates during the summer season and offers rowboats, paddleboats, kayaks and canoes. Ten modern cabins are available for rental year-round and the park also has 120 campsites. To learn more about Ricketts Glen State Park, visit their official website.

2. Montour Preserve

The Montour Preserve – Photo Credit: @kyleshikes

Located off Route 54 near Danville, the Montour Preserve is a hiker’s paradise with 11 trails located around Lake Chillisquaque, a 165-acre reservoir on the middle branch of Chillisquaque Creek. An Environmental Education Center is located near the entrance to the Preserve and is a great place for kids and adults alike to learn about some of the region’s history, animal inhabitants, and more.  If you’re out exploring the trails or enjoying the lake, you may just spot a majestic bald eagle overhead, as they will occasionally nest around the lake.

While visiting the Preserve, visitors can enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the many lakeside pavilions, try their hand at fishing in the lake, or visit the Montour Preserve Fossil Pit, which consists of approximately one acre of exposed Mahantango Formation shale. Formed some 395 million years ago during the Devonian Period when much of Pennsylvania was covered by a warm, shallow sea, these shales are particularly rich in fossils. The best part? You can keep anything that you find!

The Montour Preserve – Photo Credit: @teamhontz

March is an especially great time to visit the Preserve, namely for the annual Maple Sugaring Open House.  This year’s open house is planned for Saturday, February 29during the hours of 9:30am – 1:30pm, and again on Saturday, March 14, during the hours of 12:00pm – 4:00pm. On Saturday, February 29, the program will include a pancake breakfast from 9am – 11am (tickets must be purchased in advance) and outdoor demonstrations at the sugar shack and sugar bush from 9:30am – 1:30pm.

On Saturday, March 14, the program will include both an indoor and an outdoor component.  The two-hour program begins in the Environmental Education Center with a short talk and film on the cultural and natural history of maple sugaring. This is followed by a short walk to the sugar shack and sugar bush to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of maple sugaring.  Attendees may choose to attend the indoor and/or the outdoor portions of the day’s programs. Maple products will be available for purchase on both dates as in previous years. Participants should dress for the weather. The sugaring open house programs are free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Jon Beam, Assistant Director, Montour Area Recreation Commission at:

The Montour Preserve is open from dawn until dusk daily year-round. The Visitors’ Center is open Monday – Saturday from 8 AM – 4 PM during mid-February through mid-December. It is open Monday – Friday from 8 AM – 4 PM during the winter season (mid-December through mid-February). The Montour Preserve is managed by the Montour Area Recreation Commission. To learn more about the Montour Preserve, visit their official website.

3. Knoebels Amusement Resort

The Phoenix at Knoebels Amusement Resort

Regardless of whether you are a local to the area or a potential visitor from outside the area, Knoebels Amusement Resort is an absolute can’t-miss each year. Visit America’s largest free-admission amusement park and make new memories the old fashioned way with classic rollercoasters, kid-friendly rides, swimming, camping, golf and attractions for the whole family!

Whether you want a tame ride or a thrill, Knoebels has it all. Be sure to try the Phoenix, a classic wooden coaster that has been ranked as the top wooden roller coaster in the world for the past two years at the annual Golden Ticket Awards, presented by Amusement Today. This nostalgic favorite always offers a thrill that won’t disappoint. A fast ride with upwards acceleration and a “double out and back” layout has passengers flying through the air and catching a bird’s eye view of the rolling, tree-covered hills. Aptly named, the Phoenix was reborn at Knoebels in 1985 after rising from the ashes of its history as the “Rocket” roller coaster, which was built in 1947 in San Antonio TX.

Another favorite is “Flying Turns”, a trackless wooden bobsled coaster that is the only of its kind in the world. Each car leaves the rails for a ride controlled only by the forces of gravity and momentum. A modern remake of an old Coney Island classic, this ride will not disappoint adrenaline seekers.  The park also has classic rides like bumper cars, the ferris wheel, and a historic carousel.

Flying Turns at Knoebels Amusement Resort

Want to take a break from the action? Not a big ride fan? There are plenty of other attractions at Knoebels for the casual amusement park fan. Take a tour of the museums, visit the bald eagle habitat, try your hand at mini golf, or enjoy an immersive 4D  movie experience. You can even watch live demonstrations from the Black Smith and Lost Logger in the Americana section. Just down the road from the park, you even can enjoy 18 holes at Knoebels Three Ponds Golf Course. For more information about Knoebels Amusement Resort, visit their official website.

4. Historic Covered Bridges of Columbia & Montour Counties

The Sam Eckman Bridge is one of 25 Historic Covered Bridges in the Counties

Pennsylvania is the state with the most covered bridges remaining in the country, with approximately 200 bridges. Columbia and Montour counties are home to 25 of the state’s covered bridges. This places the counties as having the third highest number of bridges in the entire United States, only behind Parke County, Indiana and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. No two covered bridges are alike and each one has its own history, personality and story to tell. Columbia County alone has 19 bridges, Montour County has two covered bridges and four additional bridges span the divide between Columbia & Northumberland counties. Explore on your own or join the Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau for its 7th annual Covered Bridge Bus Tour in May of 2020 (call the Columbia-Montour Welcome Center at 570-784-8279 for details). Many of the bridges are located on quiet dirt roads or in small town parks, so the journey to each will be a pleasant trip into the rural countryside.

Perhaps the most iconic highlight of the area’s covered treasures are the East and West Paden “Twin” Covered Bridges. They are one of only two sets of twin bridges in the country.  If you are interested in visiting the area’s historic historic covered bridges, you can find more information right here.

5. Covered Bridge & Arts Festival

The Covered Bridge & Arts Festival

Situated in the beautiful surroundings of Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, the Covered Bridge & Arts Festival has something for everyone. More than 350 craft vendors & 38 food vendors, amusement park rides, free parking & free admission make it a fun excursion for the family. The festival annually draws over 150,000 visitors over the course of the four days, making it one of the largest craft shows in the state.

Also offered on several days during the festival are guided bus tours to several of the Columbia County covered bridges – including the Twin Covered Bridges. The traditional journey includes the following bridges: Paar’s Mill, Esther Furnace, Davis, Hollingshead, Rupert, Josiah Hess, Stillwater, East & West Paden (the “Twin Bridges”), and occasionally the Johnson Bridge (time permitting). Tickets must be purchased in advance for the bus tours.

The 39th Annual Covered Bridge & Arts Festival will take place October 8 – 11, 2020. For more information about this year’s festival, please visit the official Covered Bridge & Arts Festival web page.

6. Briggs Farm Blues Festival

The annual Briggs Farm Blues Festival is gearing up for its 23rd annual show this year on July 9-11, 2020. One of the most-awarded blues festivals in the country, BriggsFest continues to provide world-class blues music in a family-friendly environment. There’s something for everyone to enjoy – from farm-fresh sweet corn and soul food to a vendor village and free hay rides pulled by red antique tractors. Located on Route 93 only a few miles north of Interstate 80, Briggs Farm is easy to reach and offers camping as well as easy access to nearby hotels. To find out what’s playing on BriggsFest’s three stages in 2020, visit Briggs Farm’s festival website.

Briggs Farm Blues Fest

7. Bloomsburg Fair

The Bloomsburg Fair – Photo Credit: @ryguysworld

Anyone familiar with Central Pennsylvania will be able to tell you about the Bloomsburg Fair. The Fair is celebrating its 165th year in 2020, and will run from September 25 – October 3. Check out the agricultural exhibits and the national act concerts – see Brad Paisley on September 27th and Chicago on October 2nd, just to name a few.  However, the biggest draw to the Bloomsburg Fair is undoubtedly THE FOOD. Whatever you could imagine – funnel cakes, cheesesteaks, bacon flavored cotton candy, 50 different flavors of egg rolls, cinnamon ice cream, apple dumplings, deep fried pickles or oreos, corn dogs, caramel apples, pierogies – you can find it at the Bloomsburg Fair. Amusement rides, demolition derby, tractor pulls, horse races, tigers, and wild west shows are all just added bonuses. For more info, head over the the Bloomsburg Fair’s official website.

8. Bill’s Old Bike Barn

Bills Old Bike Barn outside of Berwick, PA.

Bill’s Old Bike Barn on Rt. 11 between Bloomsburg and Berwick is a must-see experience for everyone, both young and old. Bill’s has amazing displays of motorcycles and memorabilia from all around the globe. Each time you visit you’re sure to find another item you missed on your previous trips. The front room of motorcycles is impressive enough, but then you’ll find the military display in the next room, complete with foxhole, a ’45 NOS Military Bike, a 30-caliber machine gun, and even palm trees finished off with Spanish moss! No detail was left out, right down to the 1940 military parachute that covers the display.  Also, a 1913 Harley Silent Grey Fellow and a 1914 Triumph have taken their place along with vintage European carousel horses and pristine Moto Guzzi’s and the incomparable 1909 Peugot.

Bill also collects 1939 New York World’s Fair memorabilia, which is displayed along Main Street in Billville, the little village constructed inside the building that is complete with a mock mansion, smoke shop, music store and a 1939 New York World’s Fair Bar. Countless other rooms display oddities and collectibles that Bill has found over the years.  One of his most recent additions was an entire room devoted to Mickey Mouse memorabilia, which is an absolutely incredible sight to see.

Bill’s Old Bike Barn is open year-round Thursdays & Fridays from 10 AM – 6 PM, Saturdays from 9:30 AM – 3 PM, and Sundays from 1 PM – 5 PM. Admission is just $5.00. For more information, visit Bill’s Old Bike Barn’s official website.

9. Berwick Christmas Boulevard and Winterfest

Every night in December, Market Street in Berwick comes alive with lights, animatronics, singing displays, and decorations on the annual Berwick Christmas Boulevard. Bring the whole family and drive the one-mile route to enjoy the festive displays and wave to Santa from the warmth of your car. On December 1st, the Christmas Boulevard powers up its lights, while the town also plays host to the Berwick Winterfest. The sidewalks will be packed with delicious foods, toasty drinks, and craft vendors. Other activities include free cookie decorating, horse & carriage rides, a gingerbread house contest, crafts, face painting, marshmallow-roasting stations, live music and ice-sculpting. Find more information about the Christmas Boulevard and Winterfest and plan to pay Berwick a visit in 2020.


10. Benton Rodeo

Benton Championship Rodeo

Cowboys and cowgirls from across the country come to northern Columbia County each July to compete in activities such as bull riding, barrel racing, calf roping, bareback bronc riding, and more at the Benton Rodeo grounds. If you’ve never been to a rodeo before, you’re in for quite a show.  The Benton Championship Rodeo is considered one of the finest rodeos east of the Mississippi, with competitors vying for top honors each night.

The rodeo will be celebrating its 36th anniversary in 2020, and will host the Championship Rodeo and Frontier Days Celebration from July 14 – 19. For more information about this year’s upcoming rodeo, visit the Benton Rodeo Association’s official website.

Renaissance Jamboree Ushers In Spring

Event returns on April 27th, 2024 from 10 am – 5 pm on Main Street in Bloomsburg.

BLOOMSBURG, PA – The Renaissance Jamboree festival is back and bigger than ever! For over 43 years, residents from all over Northeast PA have gathered and celebrated Spring’s return at the annual Renaissance Jamboree in Bloomsburg.  

“Last year saw the festival return to the downtown after COVID-19 and the East Street paving project but the number of crafters and non-profits was not at pre-2020 numbers.  This year, the Renaissance committee is happy to announce that the number of crafters has exceeded that of 2019 and non-profit organizations are at 2019 numbers” said Cindy Schultz, Renaissance Jamboree committee co-chair.

Festival highlights include the return of the popular band, Joyous, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble’s Theater in the Classroom performance of “ZOMBIE THOUGHTS”, children’s entertainers, a belly dance exhibition and a baby goat petting zoo brought by St. Columba School.

Parking will be at the West end parking lot of the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds (enter Gate 2 and look for the Renaissance Jamboree signs) & the front parking lot of the Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital.  A free shuttle bus will run from those lots to the downtown for the festival. Visit for more information and a complete schedule of entertainment and vendors.

The annual Renaissance Jamboree is the largest event co-sponsored by Downtown Bloomsburg Inc., the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce, Bloomsburg University, Program Board of Bloomsburg University, the Town of Bloomsburg, and the Renaissance Jamboree Committee.

‘A Night for Nature’ at Turkey Hill Brewing Company

April 21st event will benefit the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy!

Nature enthusiasts and craft beer lovers are gearing up for an unforgettable evening of philanthropy and community spirit at the upcoming fundraiser, ‘A Night for Nature’. This inaugural event is being held on April 21at Turkey Hill Brewing Company (THBC) in Bloomsburg. It aims to raise funds for the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy’s (NPC) work conserving and enhancing the lands and waters of Northcentral Pennsylvania.

Guests can look forward to an evening filled with live music, delectable food, and the chance to bid on an array of exciting items in the silent auction. The silent auction includes items for outdoor-lovers such as a kayak trip on the Susquehanna, overnight stays at cabins on Lake Mokoma, whitewater rafting, and hiking gear. Local musicians, Darren Inman Acoustic and Platinum Fairy, will provide live music throughout the evening. Highlighting the occasion will be the exclusive release of a THBC’s new ‘Helles-bender’ beer crafted specially for the event. Head Brewer, Tim Plisiewicz, shared, “The beer will be a very drinkable helles style lager aptly named in honor of the state amphibian, the eastern hellbender.”

According to the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, hellbenders play a vital role in indicating excellent water quality, making them a key focus for conservation efforts. In 2019, the eastern hellbender was designated as the state amphibian, emphasizing the need to restore water quality and preserve its habitat. 

Kate Beaver Pacacha, volunteer and coordinator for the event, explained, “The connection between local craft beer and hellbenders was a natural fit because both need clean water.” She emphasized, “Additionally, the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy has done a tremendous amount of work across the region to help restore the health of our streams, so supporting their projects also just made sense!” Pacacha has been coordinating ‘A Night for Nature’ as part of her service project in the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist Program.

As a land trust committed to supporting the environmental well-being and recreational needs of Northcentral Pennsylvania’s local communities, NPC is thrilled to introduce this unique event, combining a passion for conservation with local craft beer.

“We are so excited to collaborate with Turkey Hill Brewing Company to bring ‘A Night for Nature’ to the community,” remarked Holly Byers, Communications Coordinator, at NPC. “This event provides a wonderful opportunity for individuals to come together, enjoy great company and local brews, all while contributing to the conservation of our natural resources.”

Alec Nebel, General Manager, at Turkey Hill Brewing Company, expressed, “We’re honored to support NPC and their commitment to environmental stewardship. Crafting a unique beer for ‘A Night for Nature’ is our way of showcasing our shared dedication to protecting and celebrating the beauty of Northcentral Pennsylvania.”

Tickets for ‘A Night for Nature’ are limited and available for general admission, VIP, and a no-alcohol option. Secure your spot at or contact the NPC office directly at 570-323-6222 or Follow along on the ‘A Night for Nature’ Facebook page for additional info and fun event updates.

The Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy (NPC) is a local land trust dedicated to conserving and enhancing the lands and waters of Northcentral PA. They have helped gain and enhance recreational access to some of the area’s most beloved outdoor destinations – including the Loyalsock Trail, Pine Creek Rail Trail, as well as the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. Moreover, their ongoing streambank stabilization projects have contributed significantly to the restoration of the region’s water resources. With the support of their members, NPC has conserved over 12,000 acres for the environmental well-being of our communities across a 12-county area. To learn more about NPC’s initiatives and how you can help make a difference, please visit their website at   

Art Therapy Program Offers Healing at Danville State Hospital

by Nancy Bishop | March 19, 2024

Every day it seems like there are new headlines in the news about advances in medicine. Cancer has new treatments that offer long-term remission and even a cure. Diseases like tuberculosis that once might have had you locked away in a sanatorium have cures and vaccines to prevent them. New advancements in treatments and medications make diseases like diabetes manageable.

Nowhere is that more apparent than in the treatment of mental illness. It’s now recognized as an illness that can be treated, and managed, not as something that people cause for themselves by poor lifestyle choices. Not something that makes people need to be locked away from society forever.

An exciting art therapy program at Danville State Hospital is making that healing happen. “It’s our job to treat the whole person,” State Hospital CEO TJ Burk told me when I visited recently. “Our aim is to treat consumers, help them with their recovery and then be discharged. We also teach them the skills they need to remain out of the hospital. When consumers leave here, they have purpose.”

Consumers in the art therapy program create their own artwork, which decorates the walls throughout the hospital. The artwork allows participants to express themselves. And the pictures brighten the halls and rooms.

A few examples of artwork from participants in the Art Therapy Program at Danville State Hospital.

When consumers see that staff and administrators at the hospital care about the place by having artwork around they think “therefore they must care about me,” Burk said. “The environment affects the psyche.”

Knowing that Kelly Klock in the Psychology Department at the hospital had both her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in art therapy and is a board certified and registered art therapist as well as a licensed professional counselor, Burk asked her to develop the art therapy program. Kelly reached out to Amy Shepperson from the hospital’s therapeutic recreation group to be the co-lead.

Left to right: Kelly Klock (program co-lead), TJ Burk (Danville State Hospital CEO), & Amy Shepperson (program co-lead).

Several days of the week, consumers in the art therapy program work in group sessions in a large conference room in the main building at the hospital. There they work on their art using paints and canvases purchased or donated from local stores. Sometimes there are instructors or guest speakers who come to help with the sessions. If they prefer, group members can make pottery instead of paintings.

“Art therapy is an outlet for creative self-expression, nonverbal communication and an empowering way to boost self-esteem,” Klock said. “It offers a non-threatening way to process difficult emotions and memories.”

Not everyone is blessed with talent for art. I know I’m not. But people are encouraged to try. Sometimes it’s just paint splashed on a canvas. But as the photos show, that can be beautiful, too.  And some of the art therapy participants enjoy expressing themselves by creating pottery. The woodworking shop at the hospital has been framing the paintings that decorate the walls.

Participants’ artwork is often framed by the in-house woodworking shop and displayed on the hospital’s walls.

One of the recent success stories in the program was a consumer who went to work for an art gallery in Harrisburg after he was discharged.

In addition to creating their own art, consumers also have visited local art galleries such as The Exchange in downtown Bloomsburg, the Art Grind in Danville, and Glen Klein’s Studio in Danville. “We’re grateful for the support of the community galleries,” Klock said.

In the past, there was a stigma about mental illness. Public perception was that people in the state hospital were “crazy” and should be locked up forever. But these are just people. People like you and me who simply have a treatable illness. Let’s treat them that way!

Beaver Run Spring Auction Coming April 20

Original post published in 2019 by Nancy Bishop; revised for 2024

If you’re one for a bargain, you don’t want to miss the Beaver Run Auction on Saturday, April 20, 2024. It’s not just one auction – it’s several all going on at the same time on the auction grounds at 290 PPL Road in Anthony Township.

Be sure to arrive early. Although the auction is scheduled to start at 8:30 AM, it draws a huge crowd, so you’ll need to get there early to find parking, to register and get your number so you can bid, and to check out what’s available that you might want to bid on. Be sure to bring a lawn chair! And it wouldn’t hurt to bring a spouse or other family member or friend along to help you if you want to bid on items in different categories. There can be as many as six or eight auctions going on simultaneously.

All kinds of items are auctioned: antiques, furniture, quilts, building materials, farm equipment, crafts, flowers, plants, livestock and more. Admission is free for the event, which is held on the grounds of the Beaver Run Amish School. Money raised in the auction benefits the Beaver Run School and several other Amish schools in the area. The auction is always held the third Saturday in April. There used to be an auction the first Saturday in September, though it has been replaced in recent years with a similar type of event. Please stay tuned for more details if a fall event will be held in 2024.

Photo Credit:

And, of course, there’s the food. Lots of food, but don’t miss the barbecued chicken and the doughnuts – and the homemade pies and ice cream!

Even if there’s nothing specific that you’re in the market for, go to the auction anyway. You might find something and it’s great entertainment. When I was a teenager, the father of one of my best friends was an auctioneer on Cape Cod. Even today when I hear the word “auction” his voice plays in my head going “Ten, ten, I’ve got ten here. Will anyone give me fifteen? Fifteen, fifteen, do I hear twenty?”

So, get in your car Saturday and head out Route 54 East from Danville to Arrowhead Rd. Turn right and follow Arrowhead Rd. to PPL Road. Then follow the line of traffic! For more information, call Jacob Hershberger, auction chairman at 570-490-0927.

Covered Bridge Photo Contest Returns!

Each year, the Visitors Bureau holds a photo contest to produce a 550-piece puzzle featuring one of the area covered bridges. Limited-edition puzzles have been produced the past thirteen years and have featured the East & West Paden bridges (multiple times), the Knoebels Bridge, Keefer Mills Bridge, Esther Furnace Bridge, Stillwater Bridge, Josiah Hess Bridge, Rupert Bridge, Kramer Bridge, a special Twin Bridges 10th Anniversary Puzzle, the Wanich Bridge, the Parr’s Mill Bridge, and most recently, the Jud Christian Bridge.  The 2024 edition of the puzzle will be released for sale to the public this fall, and will be based on the winner of this year’s photo contest. Extremely limited quantities of past years’ puzzles (2022 & 2023) are still available at our Welcome Center. If you are interested in purchasing a past edition, please visit the Welcome Center during normal business hours (M-F; 8:30am – 4:30pm).


The 2024 Covered Bridge Photo Contest is BACK! The contest will run from March 11 – May 31.


Click Here to Enter! This year, submit your photo directly into our online form. Note – there is a MAX file size of 20mb. If your image is selected as a finalist and a higher resolution photo is required, we will reach out via email.


  1. Entry to the contest is FREE.
  2. All photos must be owned by the person submitting them. By submitting, you are giving the Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau permission to use your photo as their 2024 puzzle and in future marketing efforts for the contest and for the counties.
  3. All photos should be high-resolution (at least 2000 pixels on shortest side).
  4. A max of FOUR photos per photographer will be accepted.
  5. All photos must be of bridges located within either Columbia County or Montour County. For a map/list of the bridges, please click here.
  6. NEW Guideline for 2024 – judging preference will be given to photos featuring one of the following twelve bridges:
    • Creasyville Bridge
    • Davis Bridge
    • Fowlersville Bridge
    • Hollingshead Bridge
    • Johnson Bridge
    • Krickbaum Bridge
    • Patterson Bridge
    • Richards Bridge
    • Sam Eckman Bridge
    • Sam Wagner Bridge
    • Shoemaker Bridge
    • Snyder Bridge

IMPORTANT NOTE: Photo submissions of ALL 25 of our bridges WILL still be considered, and an outstanding image of one of our bridges not listed above still has a chance to be selected as the winner.

The top overall photo will be selected by the Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau to be featured as the 2024 Covered Bridge Puzzle. The winning photographer will have their name and a short bio published on the puzzle box. The winner will also receive a free puzzle and will be announced to local press outlets.

Susquehanna River Water Trails Launches New Logos & Branding

March 4, 2024

Lewisburg, PA – The managers of the Susquehanna River Water Trails (SRWT) are pleased to announce the release of a logo and branding suite to promote and help users navigate this unique network for on-water recreation. In conjunction with this announcement comes some exciting public programming, including a set of videos and a Susquehanna River Sojourn Series scheduled for the 2024 paddling season.

The Susquehanna River Water Trail system was one of the first identified and designated within the Pennsylvania Water Trail Program. With over 500 miles of navigable waterway crossing 22 counties, it is also Pennsylvania’s largest water trail.

Because it is so large, the Susquehanna River Water Trail is divided into four manageable branches or sections based on river characteristics and major landmarks—the West Branch, North Branch, Middle Section, and Lower Section.

These branches are managed respectively by the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership (West Branch and Lower North Branch), Endless Mountains Heritage Region (Upper North Branch), Susquehanna River Trail Association (Middle Section), and Susquehanna National Heritage Area (Lower Section).

Each branch has a unique and interesting character, and the inspiration behind the new branding is meant to celebrate those differences while recognizing each within the unified Susquehanna River Water Trail system.

“The public typically sees the Susquehanna River as a whole versus the individual branches,” explains SGP Executive Director, Leslie Warriner. “The new logos and branding recognize their natural unity, but also allow the opportunity to showcase the things that make each branch special.”

To celebrate this new release, the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership (SGP) led production on two videos highlighting the stunning landscapes, many activities, wildlife, and landmarks to be seen on each branch. The videos can be viewed on the SGP Facebook and Instagram profiles, or by visiting

The water trail managers are also banding together to offer the ultimate sampling of the Susquehanna River this upcoming season. The Susquehanna River Sojourn Series will offer a set of four guided paddles, during which the public can experience each branch firsthand. The anticipated schedule is as follows:

  • North Branch: June 1, 2024, Oakland to Hallstead
  • Middle Section: June 29, 2024, Fort Hunter to City Island
  • Lower Section: August 17, 2024, Marietta to Columbia
  • West Branch: September 21, 2024, McElhattan to Jersey Shore

Additional details and registration will be available at

The logos and branding mark the completion of Phase I of the “Susquehanna River Water Trail Wayfinding Program.” Phase II will include an in-depth study of the West Branch and North Branch to determine where the new branding can be applied to signage intended to improve on-water navigation. Final reports of Phase II will then be used to guide implementation in Phase III of the program, which includes fabrication and installation of the signage.

A unified wayfinding system on the Susquehanna River Water Trail’s four branches will unite the individual sections under one cohesive wayfinding system. Intentional wayfinding will enable users to confidently engage with the water trail, mitigate risks at hazards, and facilitate exploration of new sections of trail. The addition of user-friendly information and infrastructure will also open up the availability of the Susquehanna River as a recreational destination for users of all ages and ability levels.

As the convener of the water trail managers and overseer of a landscape that overlaps with the entire water trail, the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership (SGP) is leading these efforts.

“The vibrant and colorful design of the logos were crafted with visibility in mind for later signage implementation,” explains Warriner. “Their versatility also allows for the eventual inclusion of the New York and Maryland sections of the Susquehanna River. Talks are in the early stages, but this is a very exciting partnership opportunity that would unite the entire Susquehanna River corridor.”

SGP would like to thank the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), whose funding makes the Wayfinding Program possible. 

Detailed maps of the Susquehanna River Water Trail are available for purchase on SGP’s online shop at The SGP website also hosts free day-trip itineraries and planning resources at

For more information about the Susquehanna River Water Trail, visit

It’s Fishing Season in Central PA!

March, 2024

Fishing season is here again! Opening Day of Trout season is Saturday, April 6th. Fishing in Columbia & Montour Counties is a wonderful way to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Here are all the resources you might need to hit the water this year and have a blast reeling in the big one.

Statewide Opening Day of Trout – April 6th
End of Trout Regular Season – September 2nd
– Extended Season: All stocked trout waters, streams plus lakes and ponds: September 3rd to December 31st.

MINIMUM SIZE: 7 inches
FISHING HOURS: 24 hours a day, after the 8 AM opener
Extended season regulations only apply to waters managed as Stocked Trout Waters (STW).  All waters downstream of STW are no longer managed under extended season regulations.  The complete list of STW can be found in the 2024 Summary of PA Fishing Laws and Regulations.

Photo courtesy of

Other Important Fishing Season Dates

Opening Day of Walleye & Sauger: Saturday, May 4
Bass & No Harvest Season
– while Bass Season is open year round, there is a no harvest period from 12:01 a.m. the second Saturday in April (April 13, 2024) to 12:01 a.m. the second Saturday in June (June 8, 2024). During the no harvest season, anglers must immediately return any bass to the water and are prohibited from casting into spawning beds.

Fishing License Information

Fishing licenses are available to purchase online from the PA Fish & Boat Commission by clicking here. You may also purchase a license in person at various locations throughout the state. Find a location by reviewing this interactive statewide map. To review pricing for all available licenses, including multi-year licenses, please click here or view the chart below.

Locations in Montour County selling in-person fishing licenses:
Montour County Treasurer
435 East Front Street, Danville, PA 17821
Phone: 570-271-3016

Locations in Columbia County selling in-person fishing licenses:
Bloomsburg Title Tag & Notary
550 East Street, Bloomsburg, PA 17815
Phone: 570-416-0878

C.M. Laubach & Sons, Inc.
547 East 8th Street, Berwick, PA 18603
Phone: 570-752-3620

Columbia County Treasurer
11 West Main Street, Bloomsburg, PA 17815
Phone: 570-389-5626

Dunham’s Sports
225 Columbia Mall Drive, Bloomsburg, PA 17815
Phone: 570-389-9681

Gumpy’s Creekside Cabin
2861 Route 42, Millville, PA 17846
Phone: 570-458-5131

Maple Ridge Sports Center
402 Main Street, Orangeville, PA 17859
Phone: 570-387-5099

Red Rock Corner Store
121 State Route 118, Benton, PA 17814
Phone: 570-854-3622

Wal Mart #1794 Buckhorn/Bloomsburg
100 Lunger Drive, Bloomsburg, PA 17815
Phone: 570-389-5750

  • In addition to a fishing license, trout anglers 16 and older must posses a Trout Permit (or Combination Trout/Lake Erie Permit) to fish for trout.
  • A Lake Erie Permit (or Combination Trout/Lake Erie Permit) is also needed to fish for trout, salmon and steelhead in Lake Erie and its tributaries.
  • Licenses must be signed in ink and displayed on an outer garment. Anglers must also be able to provide positive proof of identification (other than the fishing license) upon request of a Waterways Conservation Officer.
  • Valid Dates – 2024 licenses and permits are valid December 1, 2023 through December 31, 2024 (except 1, 3 and 7-day licenses) and are available beginning Dec. 1, 2023 at issuing agents statewide and online at
  • Non-resident students attending in-state universities now qualify for a discounted fishing license from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. The price of a license is $27.97, which is the same price as an annual license for state residents and $33 less than the cost of an annual non-resident license.
Photo courtesy of

Fish-For-Free Days

Sunday, May 26, 2024 & Thursday, July 4, 2024 (Independence Day) are 2024 Fish-for-Free Days

Fish-for-Free Days allow anyone (resident or non-resident) to legally fish on Pennsylvania waterways on the designated days with NO FISHING LICENSE REQUIRED (Trout/Salmon and Lake Erie permits are also NOT required). All other fishing regulations still apply.

Fish-for-Free Days are great ways for families to “catch” the fun of fishing!

Statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Click here to learn more about this program.

Photo courtesy of: PA Fish & Boat Commission

Fish & Fun Day

Fish & Fun Day will be June 1, 2024 from 9:00 am until 12:00 noon at Kocher Park (1519 State Route 487, Orangeville, PA 17859).

This is an event for individuals with special needs.  The day will feature fishing, crafts, activities, and fun!  Lunch (hot dogs, chips, cookies, and a drink) will be provided for registered guests and their families.  A PA fishing license is NOT required and all equipment is provided.  No experience necessary as there will be experienced volunteers helping out and supervising the fishing.  

The event is free but registration is required by May 24, 2024.  Closer to the event, the registration form will be available for download here.


In 2024, the PFBC will stock approximately 3.2 million adult trout in 697 streams and 129 lakes open to public angling. These figures, which are consistent with the number of trout stocked over the past decade, include approximately 2.4 million Rainbow Trout; 702,000 Brown Trout; and 132,000 Brook Trout. As with past practice, the average size of the trout produced for stocking is 11 inches in length with an average weight of .58 pounds.

2024 Adult Trout Stocking Schedule – click to view. Navigate by county and date to review stocking schedule for the season throughout the state.

In 2024, anglers will have an excellent chance to catch large, trophy-sized trout.  This year, the PFBC will stock approximately 70,000 brood fish, which are 2 ½ year-old and 3 ½ year-old hatchery-raised Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Brook Trout measuring 14-20 inches.  Roughly 70% of these large fish will be stocked into streams and lakes during the preseason prior to opening day of trout season, and 30% will be stocked during in-season replenishment stockings.

In 2024, the PFBC will stock approximately 14,000 golden Rainbow Trout.  In addition to being stocked during the preseason period before opening day, these highly prized fish featuring vibrant golden-orange pigmentation and weighing an average of 1.5 pounds will be stocked during in-season replenishment stockings.  Approximately 75% of golden Rainbow Trout will be stocked during the preseason, and approximately 25% will be stocked in-season.

In addition to trout raised at state fish hatcheries, PFBC cooperative nurseries operated by sportsmen’s clubs and other groups across the state will add another one million trout to waters open to public angling throughout the year.

Once again included in this year’s stocking lists are the Keystone Select Stocked Trout Waters, a program where sections of 24 streams across the state are stocked with large trout measuring 14-20 inches and managed under Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only or Miscellaneous Special regulations.  Under the program, approximately 10,000 large trout will be distributed among the streams.  The trout will be stocked at a rate of 175 to 225 per mile of stream, which is comparable to the numbers of similarly sized fish in Pennsylvania’s best wild trout waters.

Where to Fish

In addition to the stocked waters, Pennsylvania also has thousands of wild trout streams. These streams are a great resource and offer a different challenge and reward for anglers. Use the PA Fish & Boat Commission’s interactive map to find a stream, boat access, stocked trout lake and more.

Or, simply navigate the interactive map resource below to locate the perfect stream to fish! Simply close the default PFBC popup window and begin navigating the map, using the filter options on the left side to locate specific waters. Map will typically display best on a desktop or tablet screen.

Still looking for some suggestions of where to start? Here’s some ideas from a local expert, John “Toast” Oast.

John “Toast” Oast is a professional kayak angler and host of the popular Fishyaker YouTube channel. His channel has received over 8.2 million video views, and John regularly posts videos with fishing tips, highlights, conditions, gear reviews, and more.  A resident of Bloomsburg, Oast’s kayak fishing exploits have been featured in various regional and national publications, videos, and television shows, and he travels extensively competing in kayak fishing tournaments and promoting the sport.

Toast’s Top 5 Fishing Spots in Columbia & Montour Counties

#1:  Kayak or canoe fishing float from Bloomsburg to Danville on the Susquehanna River

For those interested in a beautiful, scenic downstream float or fishing trip, launch at the Bloomsburg Airport PFBC access and take out at the Danville PFBC access.  This is a longer trip, so it is best accomplished in a full day during the longer summer months.  This stretch is great for anyone, from the novice to the advanced paddler.  This float is best by paddlecraft, as during summer and lower-water periods, there may be extremely shallow areas and submerged boulders and ledges.  Anglers on this stretch may catch smallmouth bass, muskellunge, walleye, catfish, and northern pike.

Fisherman on the Susquehanna, courtesy of John Oast

#2:   Downstream of the I-80 Bridge on the Susquehanna River

This stretch, for approximately one mile downstream of the I80 bridge in Columbia County, is accessible by most any watercraft, from multiple access points, and partially by shore anglers.  It combines shallow elevation changes with moving water, as well as deeper areas.  Anglers on this stretch may catch smallmouth bass, muskellunge, walleye, catfish, and northern pike.

#3:  Fishing Creek

Fishing Creek is one of the Pennsylvania’s legendary fishing destinations for avid trout anglers.  There are numerous public and private fishing areas along the creek, from I-80 northward.

Fishing Creek & Huntington Creek in Columbia County are prime trout fishing waters. Photo courtesy of

#4:  Weiser State Forest, Roaring Creek Tract

This often overlooked chain of three lake reservoirs and connecting creek are great locations for anglers and owners of canoes and kayaks.  Special regulations exist for each of these bodies of water, so check with current posted and online regulations. Anglers may catch smallmouth and largemouth bass, pickerel, catfish, and panfish.

At Weiser State Forest – Roaring Creek Tract

#5:  Bloomsburg Town Park

Looking for a great place to take the family for a picnic or to introduce a child to fishing?  Bloomsburg Town Park has both access to the Susquehanna River and the park’s small lake impoundment.  Anglers and paddlers may fish from the river’s shore or launch small watercraft, or fish from the shore at the relaxing environment of the park lake.  Anglers along the river may catch smallmouth bass, muskellunge, walleye, catfish, and northern pike.  Anglers in the lake may catch largemouth bass, catfish, panfish, and carp.

Extend Your Visit

Plan on adding a few extra days to your fishing adventure, whether it be a solo trip, a trip with your best pals, or an outdoor-themed family vacation. The area is home to many fantastic attractions, including Knoebels Amusement Resort, Bill’s Old Bike Barn, Ricketts Glen State Park, the Montour Preserve, 25 historic covered bridges, and much more. Check out some of the options by visiting our Area Attractions page. Want some pre-planned itinerary ideas to get you started? Visit our Day Trips & Weekend Getaways section! Just need to fine tune your outdoor visit? You’ll find plenty of information on our Outdoor Recreation pages.

You’ll find fun times at Knoebels Amusement Resort.

New Digital Magazine Available

Here’s our winter online digital quarterly magazine! 

If you enjoy this edition, please feel free to forward a friend!
Your friends at the Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau

Valentine’s Wine, ‘Shine & Chocolate Trail Returns!

𝗜𝘁’𝘀 𝗯𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘆𝗲𝗮𝗿! Enjoy a sweet journey through the wineries and distilleries of Columbia & Montour Counties this Valentine’s season with that special someone, or with your go-to group of friends! From February 9-18, visit seven participating area wineries along with one area distillery to enjoy special wine/spirits & chocolate features for a chance to win wine & spirits – themed prizes.

From Friday, February 9th through Sunday, February 18th, trail-goers can travel from location to location, tasting delicious seasonal wine & spirits features. Along the way, participants will be able to get their tickets stamped at each location. Trail-goers who visit every participating location will be entered to win a series of great winery-themed prizes.

The wineries participating in the Valentine’s Wine, ‘Shine & Chocolate Trail are:
🍷 𝗖𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗛𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗼𝘄 𝗪𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗢𝘂𝘁𝗹𝗲𝘁 𝗮𝘁 𝗪𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗸 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝗽𝘀 – 𝗕𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗻
Address: 4378 Red Rock Rd, Benton, PA 17814
🧉 𝗗𝗲𝗮𝗱 𝗠𝗮𝗻 𝗪𝗮𝗹𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗿𝘆
Address: 204 Montour Boulevard, Bloomsburg, PA 17815
🍷 𝗙𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘀 𝗙𝗮𝗿𝗺 𝗪𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗿𝘆
Address: 130 Twin Church Road, Berwick, PA 18603
🍷 𝗠𝗮𝗴𝗶𝗰 𝟱 𝗪𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗧𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗥𝗼𝗼𝗺
Address: 1549 SR 487, Orangeville, PA 17859
🍷 𝗡𝗲𝗶𝗴𝗵𝗯𝗼𝗿 𝗟𝗮𝗱𝘆 𝗩𝗶𝗻𝗼
Address: 214 Tabernacle Rd, New Columbia, PA 17856
🍷 𝗞𝘂𝗹𝗽𝗺𝗼𝗻𝘁 𝗪𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗢𝘂𝘁𝗹𝗲𝘁 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗢𝗹’ 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗿𝘆 𝗕𝗮𝗿𝗻 – 𝗕𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗻
Address: 9 S Comstock Rd, Benton, PA 17814
🍷 𝗦𝗵𝗮𝗱𝗲 𝗠𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗶𝗻 𝗪𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗿𝘆 & 𝗩𝗶𝗻𝗲𝘆𝗮𝗿𝗱 – 𝗥𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲/𝗗𝗮𝗻𝘃𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗲 𝗢𝘂𝘁𝗹𝗲𝘁
Address: 1 D and H Ave, Danville, PA 17821
🍷 𝗧𝗵𝗿𝗲𝗲 𝗗𝗼𝗴𝘀 𝗩𝗶𝗻𝗼
Address: 129 Hidlay Church Road, Bloomsburg, PA 17815

Please note that hours vary for each location. The trail can be completed at any point from February 9-18 during each winery’s open business hours. Please call ahead or visit individual participating wineries’ websites or social media pages for hours of operation. No purchase necessary to win prize baskets; wine & spirits trail tickets are free, but please note that tastings at each stop may have fees if you choose to indulge.

𝙃𝙤𝙬 𝙞𝙩 𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙠𝙨:

  1. If you are interested in participating in the Valentine’s Wine, ‘Shine & Chocolate Trail, simply proceed to one of the locations of your choosing during the posted event dates (you may start at whichever one you’d like).
  2. Pick up a FREE event ticket at the first place you visit – all will have tickets available.
  3. Fill out 1/2 of the ticket and turn it in at your initial stop. Keep the other half to record stamps/signatures.
  4. Enjoy your first seasonal wine tasting and have your ticket authorized in the assigned space for that particular winery.
  5. Proceed to the rest of the wineries during their normal business hours and enjoy delectable wines + get more stamps/autographs!
  6. At your final winery stop, turn in your completed second half of the ticket to be entered to win any of the prize baskets. All participants who complete every stop on the trail will have a chance to win any of the individual prizes (gift cards and individual winery baskets) or the Grand Prize basket regardless of where they turn in their ticket.

– 𝙎𝙝𝙖𝙙𝙚 𝙈𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙩𝙖𝙞𝙣 (𝙍𝙞𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙞𝙙𝙚): Trailgoers can choose two of three pairings: Six Dwarfs Mint ~ Chocolate covered pretzels; Jack’s Mountain Red ~ Peanut Butter Cups; Chambourcin ~ Dark Chocolate
– 𝘿𝙚𝙖𝙙 𝙈𝙖𝙣 𝙒𝙖𝙡𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝘿𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙧𝙮: Strawberry Morgue-a-Rita paired with mini chocolate eclairs.