Chapman staff gets park ready

The Chapman State Park campground will officially open for the 2013 camping season beginning Monday, April 8, to accommodate trout fishermen. The April 8 opening includes all campsites in the lower loop, camping cottages and yurts. Select sites in the lower loop are now open to pets. Camping cottage number 1 will be open to dogs again this season. Upper loop campsites will open May 17.

Reservations can be made online and through the PA State Parks call center up to 11 months in advance, or at the park office the day of arrival. Facilities available for reservations include campsites, camping cottages, yurts, organized group tenting area, pavilions and amphitheatre.

Chapman’s campground is a beautiful wooded site and consists of three camping cottages, two yurts and 82 campsites that vary from secluded tent only sites to 100 foot camping spurs with 50 amp electric hook-ups.

To make a reservation or for more information on any of Pennsylvania’s other state parks, contact the Pennsylvania State Parks Reservation System at 1-888-PA-PARKS (1-888-727-2757) between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, or visit online at Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance.

To prepare for the season, Park Manager James McCorkle said “We have crews clearing hazard trees that might become dangerous to campers, and buildings that were winterized are getting utilities turned back on.”

He added that the park is usually very busy for the opening day of trout season, and the majority of campers in the early season are fisherman. He said “We get folks from all over, from several hours away like Erie and down Pittsburgh way. Many of the fishermen are people who have camped here in other seasons.” There is still several inches of ice on the lake, and while the park had a decent turnout of ice fishermen during the winter, the ice is now degrading. In previous years, fish caught from the lake in March could be kept, but changes in the regulations making Chapman an approved trout water open to year round fishing means that March is now catch and release for the lake, and no trout may be kept or possessed. Fishing is still banned on the streams from March 1 until opening day.

The statewide trout season opens on Saturday, April,13 at 8 a.m. There will be brook trout stocked in the lake on April 8, brook and brown trout on May 11, and brook trout on December 16.

In addition to trout, there are largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, yellow perch, and suckers. American Disabilities Act accessible fishing piers are on both the eastern and western shorelines.

The beach is open from late May through late September, from 8 a.m. to sunset.

In addition to the trails at the park, Chapman is the trailhead for backpacking trails on adjoining public lands, and map and trail information is available in the park office. Free parking is available at the park for those who would rather not leave their vehicles along public roadways, and hikers need to sign in at the park office.