Looking Back, Thinking Ahead

For many, the end of the year is a time for reflecting on the year gone by and an opportunity to plan for the year ahead. For me, the holiday season always goes by too fast. It seems as soon as the Christmas tree and lights go up it's time to take them down, and the phrase, "Where did this year go?" is said all too frequently as the new year approaches.

2010 was a great year for our state parks, as many saw record numbers.

The challenges of the past year have reminded me of the importance and value of our state parks. State parks are special places that contribute to our state's quality of life and provide that special something that connects us to our state and to each other.

They are "tonic for the soul" and places for a lifetime of memories.

Looking back over the last year, I am reminded of snow on the beach, campfires under a blanket of stars, cannon fire and cannonballs off the high dive! There were s'mores and snores, waterfalls and rainbows. I saw sea turtles, salamanders and a calico deer. I climbed the lighthouse and the Rock, walked on the beach and through a castle, stood in the rain and had pluff mud between my toes. I witnessed nature's wonders as barren trees came to life with green leaves, only to turn brilliant yellows and reds a few months later. Best of all, I saw all types of people enjoying their state parks. I remember sounds of laughter and the wonder in their eyes. What a great year!

Before it's too late, it's time to plan ahead for the year to come. To mark the calendar for the first signs of spring -- make sure you pay as close attention to the spring buds as you did the fall colors. In May and June, take a trip to see the spider lilies at Landsford Canal. In July visit Oconee State Park for an old-fashioned 4th of July celebration. September is hawkwatch at Caesars Head and late October is great for fall color. And wait! I've missed something. Thank you for your continued support of your state parks!

It's a new year. Time to make new plans and many more memories.

See you in the parks!

Phil