Y Walk Wednesdays is a series of free, guided, early evening walks on Wednesdays throughout the summer that feature downtown history, walking and health, architecture, nature and new development in Wilkes-Barre. These summer walks are returning after a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The walks will provide a look at what has changed and how organizations and businesses are recovering downtown.
The walks are coordinated by the Greater Wyoming Valley Area YMCA and are sponsored by the Wilkes-Barre City Health Department via the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant to encourage people to get active outdoors over the summer.
“We have a beautiful River Common, college campuses and well-designed and maintained sidewalks in downtown Wilkes-Barre,” said Jim Thomas, Executive Director, Greater Wyoming Valley Area YMCA. “These walks are a great way to learn something new and to get in a good walk.”
All walks begin at 6 p.m., leaving from the entrance of the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA, which is located at the corner of South Franklin and West Northampton Streets. Walks are approximately 90 minutes long and are led by volunteer leaders. In case of rain or extreme heat, the walk is postponed until the same time the following evening.
The free walks are limited to 24 attendees. The Y is requesting people call or email to register prior to the event. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 570-970-5040.
The schedule includes:
June 9 Millionaires and Mansions. An architectural and social history stroll past some of 19th and early 20th century homes of Wilkes-Barre’s leading families. Visit Wilkes-Barre’s oldest house and learn about its restoration. Walk Leader: Tony Brooks, Wilkes-Barre Preservation Society.
June 16 Walking Your Way to a Healthier You. Learn about the ways that walking can improve your physical and mental health, how to develop a healthy walking plan and learn about and compare route-tracking software. Walk Leader: YMCA Wellness Staff
June 23 Keeping the Susquehanna Out of Our Living Rooms. The Wyoming Valley Flood Protection levee system works hard to keep the Susquehanna’s waters where they belong: in the river. Explore the workings on the Agnes Flood anniversary (June 23, 1972). Walk Leader: Chris Belleman, Luzerne County Flood Protection Authority
June 30 Native, Alien & Medicinal Plants of the Kirby Natural Area. Learn from folklore, history and science the benefits, drawbacks, unique uses and special powers of the many plants that call Kirby Park’s wild, riparian woodland home. Walk Leader: Ken Klemow, Wilkes University
July 7 A Walk on the Wild Side: The Kirby Park Natural Area. Explore the natural wonders of the park’s riparian forest, its history and the important role it plays as part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Walk Leader: Vinnie Cotrone, Riverfront Parks Committee
July 14 Tour the Luzerne County Courthouse. The Luzerne County Courthouse is a newly restored neoclassical gem from Luzerne County’s coal baron period. Walk Leader: The Honorable Richard M. Hughes, III, Judge.
July 21 Storm Water Management in the Wyoming Valley. Learn about stormwater pollution and about how local property owners can help protect our waterways, while noting the storm-water infrastructure downtown. Walk Leader: Richard Troscianecki, Master Watershed Steward Coordinator, Penn State Cooperative Extension.
July 28 Journey Through Kings College. Wander through Kings’ campus and surroundings and discover the history of the buildings and plans for new facilities and functions. Walk Leader: Michelle Olivia of Undergraduate Admissions and Freddie Pettit of Institutional Advancement, Kings College.
Aug. 4 What’s New Downtown. Downtown Wilkes-Barre is resilient and adapting: recovery from COVID-19 is just one of many challenges downtown Wilkes-Barre is meeting. Learn about new developments. Walk Leader: Larry Newman, Executive Director of the Diamond City Partnership, Downtown Wilkes-Barre’s development organization.
Aug. 11 Walking Wilkes University. Enjoy a walk through Wilkes University and learn about the highlights, recent developments and history of the school. Walk Leader: Michael Wood, Wilkes University.
Aug. 18 Walking Your Way to a Healthier You 2. Check-in on your summer of walking with a walk to some surprise features of downtown Wilkes-Barre, and compare results of tracking software, if you are using it. There will be treats. Walk Leader: YMCA staff.
Aug. 25 LCTA Walk to the Murray Complex. Join the Luzerne County Transportation Authority in a walk to the Murray Complex to learn about how LCTA is modernizing its routes, signage, boarding/payment options, and headquarters. Walk Leader: Lee Horton, Luzerne County Transportation Authority Executive Director