RAYSTOWN LAKE, Pennsylvania —The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Raystown Lake hosted the 5th annual Chalk the Walk art contest and the 4th annual Glow Swim at Seven Points Beach on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016. Both events were free and open to public in an effort to communicate important safety and stewardship messages in a fun, engaging way.
The day began with more than 70 artists fostering their creativity by using chalk to depict messages of water safety and environmental stewardship during the 2016 Chalk the Walk event. Participants were divided into four age groups, each one adding “pizazz” to one of Raystown Lake’s busiest walkways during a near-capacity summer weekend.
Some of this year’s more popular themes encouraged lifejacket usage, litter prevention, and a general respect for the environment and local waterways.
“We hope today’s events demonstrate how important water safety is to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” said Shannon Simpson, Raystown Lake public safety intern, Student Conservation Association. “We want people to come to our lake and have fun, but we also want them to have a safe visit.”
At 6 p.m., artists placed finishing touches on their work as volunteer judges made their way through the vibrant walkway. First place winners in each age group were awarded a cash prize and a Raystown fun pack, courtesy of event sponsors. All children under 6 years of age received participation awards.
As the sun began to set, park rangers and dozens of volunteers worked to seamlessly transition from Chalk the Walk to the evening’s Glow Swim event. Hundreds of children were properly fitted for lifejackets by experts while parents carefully observed the process, attaining critical water safety education for both themselves and their loved ones. Shortly after sunset, thousands of glow necklaces and light sticks illuminated the night sky as a record-setting 600 people took to Seven Points Beach.
“Glow Swim promotes water safety by only allowing those wearing our illuminated life jackets into the beach for the after-hours party,” said Olivia Mays, park ranger, Baltimore District. “If there is one thing people take away from these events, we hope it’s an understanding that personal floatation devices save lives when participating in recreational activities on or near the water, such as swimming, boating, or fishing.”
Raystown Lake is the largest lake located entirely in Pennsylvania and offers 8,300 surface acres of clear water surrounded by 21,000 acres of forested mountain slopes. Raystown is a multi-purpose lake constructed and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood risk management, recreation and natural resource opportunities, and hydropower. For more information on Raystown Lake, visit the natural resources program link at http://www.nab.usace.army.mil/Missions/DamsRecreation/Raystown.aspx or call 814-658-3405