Travel Art Journal – 52 State Park Collaborative Artwork Project


As I continue to share the 52 Pennsylvania State Park 2021 Challenge, in which I plan to hike in up to 52 state parks this year, I’m happy to update the tally after visiting two more state parks last weekend, Gifford Pinchot and Swatara state parks and also announce a new collaborative art project.

I’ve been working on picking up stamps to add to my passport when I arrive at the park but a few parks I’ve been to have been out of stamps. I contacted the parks where I was missing stamps and they are able to mail them to me if I send them a self-addressed stamp. This is great news so that I can start filling up my passport book!

In addition to stamps, I’ve also been picking up maps when I arrive to decide which trail I’d like to hike and have guidance in the event that I get lost… me? Get lost? no… haha!! The more parks I visit, the more maps I have and I wanted to try and find a way how to use/reuse them. I tend to forget to return them back over to the visitors center, and found a stack of them in the car. I was about to throw them away when I realized I could use them for an art project I’d been planning to work on recently with a friend who helped me in putting together an art journal.

Deb’s PA State Park Art Journal Cover with some ideas from maps, and affirmation cards

The concept of an art journal had peeked my interest a few years ago, but I didn’t dive deeper into making one until recently with my friend Kate Horst, owner of Horst FineArts, who helped me with ideas for the cover of the journal which is above. It needs lots of TLC but I’m excited to work on this more in the coming weeks and months as I add more features, textures, and ideas. I’m visiting a few parks this week while up in Northern Pennsylvania and plan to do a bit of creation while camping in nature. I’ll share this project as I develop the idea, and I did get more ideas here. I do plan to use my own photos at some point when I have a better idea of how I want to incorporate them.

Gifford Pinchot State Park

Photo by Deb Schell – More Photos Here

This 2,338-acre park has farm fields, wooded hiking trails & Pinchot Lake for boating & fishing. I hiked a portion of Lakeside Trail and connected to Quaker Race Trail for a total of 5 miles . There are more than 18 miles of marked and maintained trails at Gifford Pinchot State Park. Most trails interconnect to allow hikers to tailor their outing to meet their individual desires according to the website. I enjoyed views of the lake, shaded -gravel trails, and at the end of the day enjoyed sitting by the lake and enjoying a snack and some water while my boyfriend was fishing. A note that if you do want to boat or kayak, the lake is currently drained for maintenance a bit but will be at normal height by end of May, according to their Facebook page.

Swatara State Park

Photo by Deb Schell – More photos

Walking, hiking, or biking in the 3,520-acre Swatara State Park is relaxing and invigorating when enjoying conversation and shaded trails. I was joined by a friend, her daughter, and their dog to visit this park which I’d been to before. I thought I’d planned the timing well, but as traveled along Bear Hole Trail, which is on the eastern side of the park, I navigated us to the Northern Loop, from Swopes Valley Road to Sand Siding Bridge and back, which is 7.2 miles instead of the Southern Loop, which is 4.6 miles. At least we all got a good workout in before the beginning of a new week!

Stay tuned for more on this project as I visit Cherry Springs State Park this week!

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