KINGSTON TWP. — At 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, North Branch Land Trust will hold its inaugural Shoe and Brew event at Frances Slocum State Park. NBLT Membership and Outreach Coordinator Barbara Romanansky said the idea came from a similar event with a similar rhyme scheme.
“During the other three seasons there’s a really great program where a bunch of kayaking or canoeing friends get together on the river or wherever and paddle to a brewery,” Romanansky said. “When we were sitting around talking about what kind of event to do somebody said something about a canoe and brew and we thought, hey, we should do a shoe and brew!”
Despite the legal age restrictions on the event’s brew portion, the shoe portion is open to all potential participants. NBLT plans to hold a 2.5 mile snowshoe hike, but if the weather doesn’t cooperate they’ll wear shoes for a hike across the same distance. According to volunteer and Shoe and Brew Leader, George Hart, snowshoeing is an accessible activity.
“Snowshoeing is a very simple sport,” Hart said. “It really is just walking with these devices attached to your shoe that provide much better traction in snow.”
“It’s an easy sport to learn and it really helps get people out of their cabin fever in the wintertime,” Romanansky said. “People who can’t ski or aren’t really inclined to dash down the mountain can easily snowshoe.”
Shoe and Brew participants are responsible for bringing their own snowshoes to the hike and, although it’s free to participate, registration by calling 570-696-5545 is required. For the brew portion, the group with reconvene at Sabatini’s Bottle Shop and Bar in Exeter. Participants must purchase their food and drinks, and those younger than 21 are welcome to join and enjoy pizza with non-alcoholic drinks.
The North Branch Land Trust was started in 1993 by a group of Back Mountain residents concerned about development in their community. That group formed the basis of what became an accredited land trust that has so far ensured the conservation of 17,000 acres in eight Northeastern Pennsylvania counties. This is the first time they’ve held an event at the unaffiliated Frances Slocum State Park, but introducing the public to the wilderness is a tenant of the organization.
“One aspect of our mission is to be able to connect people with the land so they in turn learn to love it and understand conservation,” Romanansky said. “One of the ways we do that is hold events where we can get people out hiking, walking, showshoeing, cross country skiing — whatever activity we can do seasonally.”
“The intent here was to not only get people out to introduce them to Frances Slocum if they were not familiar with it, but also afterward we’re going to have a little social gathering at a nearby pizza restaurant and there might be one or two adult beverages consumed there,” Hart added. “One of our objectives was to get ourselves out in front of the public to try to increase our membership a little bit but more importantly to help people understand the nature of the work that we’re trying to do to conserve properties in perpetuity.”
Conserving properties in perpetuity means that NBLT works to attach documents to deeds that conserve the land in question, making it unavailable for development even if it’s sold or passed down. A group of Back Mountain residents thought conservation was important in 1993, the NBLT thinks conservation is important now and potential Shoe and Brew participants should call and reserve their spot for the Feb. 28 event.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts