Friends of Salt Springs staffed an autumn event on Oct. 1 that drew dozens of families to Salt Springs Park, north of Montrose in Susquehanna County. The majority of the activities took place on the front lawn of the Wheaton House (above).
Photos and Story by Rick Hiduk
After a frosty start, the sun warmed the fall air quickly at Salt Springs Park in Susquehanna County on Sunday. Families began filing in around 2 pm to hike the woodland trails and have apples they brought with them pressed into cider.
According to Debra Adleman, administrator for the Friends of Salt Springs, this was the fifth fall event and fundraiser for the park. She estimates that attendance on Sunday was just shy of the biggest crowd two years ago, when there was a bumper crop of apples.
For a nominal fee, patrons could have up to one bushel of their own apples turned into cider, and younger family members delighted at turning the wheel of the small table-top presses.
“One young lady took it over,” Adleman joked of an especially enthusiastic participant.
In addition to cider pressing, representatives of the Susquehanna County Dairy Promotions Team distributed cheese and crackers while two members of local folk rock band, Canary Circus, John Puzo (above, right) and Lonnie Griffiths (above, left) performed on the porch of the Wheaton House with guest percussionist, Eli Gere.
Elsewhere in Salt Springs park, Kingsley photographer David Teachout was conducting a nature photography course. With three waterfalls, nearly 15 miles of hiking trails, and fauna galore, there’s plenty to attract the photographic eye on the property, and Teachout focused on using manual settings to get the most stunning images.
Salt Springs Park is actually two parks in one, Adleman explains. The original Wheaton homestead was converted to public use by the PA Bureau of State Parks in 1973, but there were literally no funds committed to its upkeep. When the park was deemed unsafe, and its iconic structures fell into disrepair, Friends of Salt Springs was formed in 1994 to save the park.
Salt Springs Park is the only state park run by a non-profit organization. The Friends group subsequently purchased an additional 437 acres of adjacent farmland to expand the park’s footprint to 842 acres. There are rustic cabins to rent, and plenty of spots for tent camping. Hunting is permitted in all but the designated nature area near the hub of the park, which also features a native hemlock forest.
Fundraisers such as Sunday’s Apples to Cider event and the photography class help the Friends maintain the grounds and keep up the historic buildings that were once part of the Wheaton homestead. For more information, readers can log on to www.friendsofsaltspringspark.org and follow the group on Facebook.
Bill Chance (above, left) and Salt Springs Historical Committee secretary Dorothy Thomas (center) make apple cider under the watchful eye of Bob Templeton (right).
Photo by Debra Adleman
Susquehanna County dairy princess Michayla Stahl (above, left) and dairy ambassador Alivia Stahl.