We may be in the thick of winter right now but you know how the month of March is - "in like a lion, out like a lamb". That means we're close to spring and warm weather fun.

One of my favorite parks to enjoy year-round is Gilbert Lake State Park, tucked away outside of Laurens, NY. If you haven't been there in a while, you'll be happy to hear that park staff have been working hard on improvements to the park this past year.

In an announcement of the Gilbert Lake State Park Facebook page, improvements were revealed. Here's what you can look forward to with upcoming visits to the park:

  • All roads have been repaved and that includes the roads in the camping and cabin areas, providing a nice smooth ride through the park not just for vehicles but bicycles as well.
  • There's a new playground in Loop C of Deer Run which is closer to campsites which of course makes it easier for parents to keep an eye on their kids.
  • A new look to the Deer Run campsite area with a number of red pines cut down for safety reasons and helps to protect the property of campers. According to park officials, the trees were old, planted back in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. and many had been compromised by age and storms over the years and were falling down or had branches falling down. Not safe! The other benefit of removing some of these trees is an opening of the tree canopy, letting more sunlight in which promotes new growth of hardwood trees that staff at the park will soon be planting.

Add into all that, the playground at the beach area had been revamped a few years ago. It's so nice to see our parks getting some needed attention and I would bet that this is all made possible with parks in New York State seeing record numbers of people using them in 2021 according to Governor Hochul's Office. It's nice to see some rewards from the coronavirus pandemic.

NATURE LOVERS: Varied Scenery Makes This Oneonta, NY Trail A Real Gem

Oneonta, NY is a great place for outdoor recreation with the Susquehanna Greenway Trail. As an ongoing project, there are 3 sections completed in the Susquehanna Greenway for use of the four-section trail system along the Susquehanna River. One of those sections is the Silas Lane Loop Trail which is located just off exit 13 of I-88.

Read On! 35 Reasons Why Everybody Loves the Finger Lakes

There are several great "destination pockets" in the area we call Upstate New York. Whether it be the historic mansions along the Hudson Valley, the small ski towns of the Catskills, the majesty of the Adirondacks, the diverse history of Central New York, or the beautiful region shrouded in Niagara's mist out west. And then there is the Finger Lakes! These 11 "finger like" lakes, spread out from (roughly) just west of Interstate 81 out through the Genesee Valley in Western New York This area is one of the state's great playgrounds.