I was looking for volunteer work in the outdoors. Angel welcomed me as a walk-in and we talked for nearly three hours (and I am not a talker). I left with pages of notes, Swatara's historic master plan, and great enthusiasm.
Angel was instrumental in starting Friends of Swatara State Park, coordinating among different groups: hunters, horseback-riders, Swatara Water Trail volunteers, canoe and kayak enthusiasts, mountain bikers, hikers, and history buffs.
Park projects had long been planned but never developed. Then last fall Tropical Storm Lee destroyed sections of the rail trail. But since then work has progressed:
This is a new parking area for the planned boat launch near the famous fossil pit.
Last spring Angel wrote a letter to the Friends group telling everybody she and her family had decided to return to Texas:
"It has been my pleasure to witness the creation of Friends of Swatara State Park," she wrote. "I believe parks are for people to enjoy -- relax or be active, to be social or solitary, to learn and observe nature. I am proud of the work you've accomplished in a relatively short period of time. Continue to share your knowledge and passion so others will appreciate Swatara State Park as much as you do."
One note of caution: This ain't your suburban park. It's always been hunting country. Be mindful of that, and wear blaze orange, both on you and your pets.