KINGSTON TWP. — Residents of Exeter and Wyoming now have easier access to the outdoors.
The Luzerne County Transportation Authority recently announced it will once again provide bus services to Frances Slocum State Park, and will provide stops throughout the west side of Greater Pittston. The service began on Saturday, June 11 and will run through Aug. 27.
The inaugural ride included state Reps. Aaron Kauffer, R-Kingston; Jerry Mullery, D-Nanticoke; and Eddie Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre, among others. Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Executive Director John Arway was also on hand.
With the service, LCTA remains the only transit agency in Pennsylvania to provide bus coverage to a state park. This is the fourth consecutive summer the authority has ran a summer service to the park. This year, however, is the first year LCTA received grant money for the project.
“We’re here to provide transportation,” LCTA Executive Director Norm Gavlick said. “To be able to run a route to a state park to provide people the access to this amenity is a great opportunity for us. It’s great to turn the revenue back to taxpayers.”
The Frances Slocum route will include three trips per day, Monday through Friday, and two trips per Saturday. The bus route will leave from the Wilkes-Barre transit center and make its way to the park. Along the way, there are approximately 50 different stops throughout Wilkes-Barre, Kingston, Edwardsville, Swoyersville, Forty-Fort, Wyoming and Exeter.
The bus enters Wyoming on Wyoming Avenue just west of the Midway Shopping Center. It then heads up Wyoming Avenue to Schooley Avenue and turns left to make its way to Slocum Avenue. From there, the bus heads back toward Eighth Street, and then turns right on to West Eighth Street. The bus then makes it was to the park, with a stop at the public swimming pool.
The first stop in Greater Pittston is the Midway Shopping Center.
As part of the special kick-off event, lawmakers and community leaders, along with the media, were invited to take the first ride from Wilkes-Barre to the park. The ride culminated with an event to celebrate “National Get Outdoors Day” at the park. There was a fishing derby, hosted by the Fish & Boat Commission.
“People forget about these beautiful amenities we have here,” Kauffer said. “Every time I come here, I say I’m not here often enough. This is a huge opportunity for people throughout Luzerne County.”
Frances Slocum Park Manager Brian Taylor said this is a great way for people who live in the Wyoming Valley to get out and enjoy the state park.
“This is a great thing for Frances Slocum,” said Taylor, who has been the manager for three years. “Not only does it get extra people out of the park, it gets people a way to get here from an urban environment. It introduces them to an environment they’ve never seen before.”
The park consists of 1,035 acres, which include a lake for fishing and boating, a pool, hiking trails, picnic areas and camping facilities.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick