Since taking over as manager of Lackawanna State Park last fall, Kevin Koflanovich admits he is still discovering all that the park has to offer.
A new list from the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation recommends that the park would be a good place for others to discover as well.
In May, the non-profit RBFF released its Top 100 Family-Friendly Places to Fish in the country. The list was culled down from 250 parks and based on criteria such as proximity to a major city, having a body of water with a variety of fish species, amenities available a the park and access to the water.
The goal of the RBFF is to increase family participation in fishing, according to director of communications Stephania Vatalaro. Many families have an interest in fishing but aren’t sure where to go, she said.
“The list gives them a place where they can try it out in an atmosphere that is conducive to families,” Vatalaro said. “For example, a stocked lake is good because we want the odds to be good when they go there to fish.”
Lackawanna State Park ranked 46 out of 100 - one of six Department of Conservation and Natural Resources state parks to make the national list. Other DCNR state parks making the list include Presque Isle in Erie County (10th), Moraine in Portersville (15th), Keystone in Derry (18th), Nockamixon in Quakertown (24th) and Little Buffalo in Newport (83rd).
“Many of our state parks offer excellent fishing — for a variety of species and in all seasons,” said DCNR Secretary Ellen Ferretti. “From the ice fisherman seeking trout in winter to the summer angler casting for largemouth bass or panfish, our state parks offer so much to so many anglers and their families. These polling results are a reaffirmation of their recreational value.”
Vatalaro said Lackawanna earned points for having a boat ramp and a long fishing pier - making access easy for all, along with a large variety of fish species in its 198-acre lake.
Koflanivich was happy that his park, which attracts more than 360,000 visitors annually, made the list. He added a few other perks that the park offers to family.
“A lot of the shoreline around the lake is very accessible and, because electric motors only are allowed on the water, it’s a quiet, serene place,” Koflanovich said. “It’s good to be recognized for the hard work and dedication that our staff puts into the park.”
Koflanovich said the park will continue to improve in the near future. The swimming pool is being reconstructed and is closed for the season, but in the meantime workers are redoing park signs, volunteers are clearing and re-building trails and buildings are being renovated.
The highest-ranking Pennsylvania park on the list is Presque Isle in Erie, which came in at the 10th spot. The fact that DCNR placed six parks on the list, including five in the top 50, didn’t surprise Koflanovich.
“It’s something to be proud of. We take great pride in our work and we set such a high standard for all of our parks,” he said. “It’s a job that we all love to do.”