If you’re heading out to some of the region’s treasure trove of parks to start out your summer, you may run into some new and unexpected accoutrements.

At six parks in Westmoreland County, metal photo frames have been situated so that visitors can frame photos of themselves with scenic backdrops. The frames are marked with #Westmoreland250, a hashtag for the county’s 250th anniversary celebration that people are invited to use when sharing the photos on social media.

The frames were constructed by students at Eastern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center in Latrobe.

You can picture yourself in them at these parks:

• Twin Lakes — Located on the path from the island stage toward the boathouse.

• Cedar Creek — Between the boat launch at the Youghiogheny River and the entrance to the Cedar Creek Gorge Trail.

• Mammoth — Between Pavilion No. 11 and the boathouse building, along the lake walking trail closest to County Park Road (near the bridge that crosses over the creek).

• Northmoreland — Located by Northmoreland Lake between the handicapped-accessible fishing dock and Pavilion No. 11.

• Historic Hanna’s Town — Located on the grounds.

• Swede Hill — Located adjacent to the pavilion.

The anniversary planning committee, made up of county employees along with staff from GO Laurel Highlands and the Westmoreland Historical Society, sought ways to include many organizations. An installation at Touchstone Center for Crafts in Fayette County inspired the frames, and the school’s welding technology instructor Keith Tuk and his teaching assistant, Roy Schmucker, ran with the idea using aluminum and stainless steel.

Instructors and students at Latrobe’s Eastern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center made photo frames for six parks where visitors can use them to celebrate Westmoreland County’s 250th anniversary. (Alex Byers of GO Laurel Highlands)

Discover Westmoreland Director Jessica Petrovich said in a news release, “We wanted to create a landmark for residents and visitors to enjoy not only this year but in many years to come.”

Keeping park visitors around for years to come is the idea from another installation popping up in 13 more Pennsylvania state parks this season: pole-mounted battery-operated dispensers of free sunscreen.

The expansion of that service at state park beaches and swimming pools, started in 2017, was announced by Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn ahead of National Sunscreen Day on May 27. She said, “I encourage all Pennsylvanians to make sunscreen a part of their outdoors routine to ensure a fun and safe summer.”

Health officials report 1 in 40 Pennsylvanians will be diagnosed with melanoma in their lifetime. More than 8,500 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each day.

But experts say skin cancer can be prevented with a daily application of a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher, as is available thanks to funds from the state Department of Health.

Visitors now will find the dispensers, sometimes in more than one location, at these state parks:

Bald Eagle
Black Moshannon
Blue Knob
Canoe Creek
Clear Creek
Cowans Gap
Frances Slocum
French Creek
Greenwood Furnace
Gifford Pinchot
Hills Creek
Laurel Hill
Little Buffalo
Marsh Creek
Memorial Lake
Mount Pisgah
Nolde Forest
Parker Dam
Pine Grove Furnace
Poe Valley
Presque Isle
Prince Gallitzin
Promised Land
Racoon Creek
Ralph Stover
RB Winter
Ricketts Glen
Ridley Creek
Worlds End
Yellow Creek

The free sunscreen dispenser at the beach at Laurel Hill State Park in Somerset County. (Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources)

Bob, a feature writer and editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, is currently on strike and serving as interim editor of the Pittsburgh Union Progress. Contact him at bbatz@unionprogress.com.

Bob Batz Jr.

Bob, a feature writer and editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, is currently on strike and serving as interim editor of the Pittsburgh Union Progress. Contact him at bbatz@unionprogress.com.