Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Safe boating; hiking

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | May 21, 2014 1:55 PM

What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, May 22, 2014:

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Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer.  The forecasters are calling for pleasant, sunny and warm weather in Pennsylvania over the next few days -- perfect for outdoor activities.

Thursday's Smart Talk focuses on two that have special weeks.

We are in the midst of National Safe Boating Week and Saturday is the first day of Pennsylvania Hiking Week.


Ryan Walt from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Larry Graham from the U.S. Sail and Power Squadron

Ryan Walt, the Boating and Safety Manager for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Larry Graham, a boating educator with the Susquehannock Chapter of the U.S. Sail and Power Squadron appear on the program to discuss safety on the the state's waterways and avoiding trouble.

Life jackets will be a big topic of the show since more than 80% of drowning victims don't wear one.  Alcohol should be avoided too.  Most fatal boating accidents involve drinking.

This program is not just for those who operate boats with high-powered motors either.  We'll address kayaking and canoeing too.

If you are a land lover, than maybe you would enjoy a hike in a Pennsylvania State Park or Forest.  Jim Foster of the Keystone Trails Association joins us to talk about hiking throughout the state and what you need to know.

Jim Foster hiking 300 x 300.jpg

Jim Foster (L) hikes through a PA State Park.

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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-05-22 08:04

    Brian emails:

    Listeners should be aware that there is a very active local canoeing and kayaking club in the Harrisburg area, with a strong emphasis on safety and training.

    The Canoe Club of Greater Harrisburg ( is a club with over 300 members and we offer instruction in canoeing, kayaking, and stand up paddleboard. Our classes are taught by volunteer instructors who are trained and certified by the American Canoe Association.

    We have about 20 classes per year, plus organized trips and indoor practice sessions during the winter at local pools.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-05-22 08:29

    Joan emails:
    As you kick off boating week, I find it ironic that the state F&B commission is planning to lower the water level in Leaser Lake, Lehigh County just in time for this season. I am disappointed by the timing of this decision. Is there any way to delay this drawdown so that the people who use this facility can enjoy it this season?It is really shameful that this repair is coinciding with the boating season, especially after the many years the lake has been under repair?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-05-22 08:31

    Eugene emails:
    You may want to let your listeners know about an excellent resource for boating skills and safety - the Canoe Club of Greater Harrisburg. It offers a great variety of canoe and kayak instruction courses as well as organized river trips. A very friendly group with which to learn and develop skill and safety. Online at

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-05-22 08:49

    Steve from Harrisburg asked:

    Do you have any info about tubing on the river and safety in regards to that?

  • Rich img 2014-05-22 09:06

    Next to Lehigh Gorge State Park, at the Glen Onoko access area there is a Game Lands Trail accessible mainly thru the park. The trail is the Onoko falls trail. Pretty much annually a fatality or two, and several major injuries occur.

    The PaGC has a warning sign, but foes nothing else. No Map Sign exists. They do no trail maintenance. Any markings are made by locals, but they are rather useless without signage. most folks do not understand the only way for the trail to be safe is to hike it in a clockwise loop. The land is worthless for hunting, way to steep and treacherous.

    The PaGC should just give the land to the State Park, who would improve and maintain the trail. Or DCNR could allow a hiking club or scout troop to make the improvements. But the Commission won't give up a square foot. They are hoping enough folks die so that the Park, or the Boro of Jim Thorpe will close access.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-05-22 09:07

    Rob from Lancaster emails:

    I'm in avid hiker around Lancaster County but have noticed recently a great deal of litter, and in particular drug paraphernalia, condoms, and other unmentionable items disposed of in and around parking areas. I've also encountered people involved in family unfriendly activities in the parking areas. What is done to discourage this activity and who would one contact to report this situation?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-05-22 09:08

    Eugene emails:
    Hi Scott,

    I thought you did an excellent job in posing questions to your guests regarding boat safety. If you do another program on this topic someone from the Canoe Club of Greater Harrisburg would greatly enhance the experience for your listeners. It is truly a professional mid-state organization with a great reservoir of knowledge and experience related to canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding.