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Passport to Pennsylvania's State Parks w/ Joseph Brosky

Joseph & Donna at Point State Park

Join 3 Rivers Outdoor Co. for an evening with Joseph Brosky. Joseph and his wife, Donna have spent the past 5 years visiting every State Park in Pennsylvania and will join us for a presentation and Q & A. 

This quest began when my wife, Donna, joined me in retirement and we discovered that the Pennsylvania State Park System had a Passport similar to the National Park System Passport. The very day we found this Passport at the shop at Laurel Hill State Park, we were off on our journey through our beautiful and inspiring state parks and state forests. From the smallest to the largest, each was like a gift under our Christmas tree, just waiting to be opened. Some gifts were the overall scenery, some were the views, some were the history, some the wildflowers, some the water features, some the old growth forests that were like cathedrals, some were the perfect campsites for our tent, some were the tranquility that only wilderness isolation brings, some were meeting the friendly and interesting park employees and fellow visitors, and still others were the bike trails and cross-country ski trails. Along with these joys of nature, our road trips to reach the parks and forests enabled us to travel the entire state and see towns and cities we would have never reached in our lifetimes. To say the very least, this quest to reach our goal of exploring all 124 state parks and 20 state forests changed how we interact and think about both our natural environment and our relationship with each other. The joy of it all is a true blessing along with all the laughter along the way that filled our hearts with happiness. A huge thank you to all the people over the years that were and continue to be responsible for these wonderful gifts called our state parks and forests.



I was born in Pittsburgh and spent my first 36 years there which came to an end with the devastating loss of the Steel Mills. My Mom was from the West End and my Dad from McKees Rocks. My wife, Donna and I were married in 1978 and we have two children and two grandchildren. Our daughter, her husband and our grandchildren live on the South Side. We have been living on Laurel Hill Mountain, located between Ligonier and Johnstown, with our son since 1988. 

I retired from the Bureau of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in 2017. My last assignment was as Team Lead, Field Intelligence Support Team-Central (FIST-C) in Washington, DC. Also, during that assignment, I provided weekly liaison with the Bureau of Prisons, Counter Terrorism Unit in West Virginia. I earned a BA, Biology from La Roche University and a MBA, Accounting from the University of Pittsburgh’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. I became a Certified Fraud Examiner in 1993 and retired that designation in 2021. 

My leisure activities include biking, cross-country skiing, geocaching, hiking, kayaking, tent camping, TRX and barbell exercises, and wildflower identification/photography. My favorite time is time with family which has expanded greatly since my retirement. Donna and I have hiked many amazing trails in National Parks including Acadia, Grand Canyon, Isle Royale, Mount Rainer, Smoky Mountains and Yellowstone. We also have hiked the Trans Mount Blanc (TMB) trail in Europe, the West Highland Way in Scotland, hut to hut in the White Mountains and portions of the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland. Along with these hikes, we have biked from Pittsburgh to D.C. on the Great Allegheny Passage and C & O Canal. 

However, by far, the most amazing outdoor experience we have had together in our 45 years of marriage has been our 5-year quest to spend time in all 124 Pennsylvania State Parks and 20 State Forests. In my opinion, this is the very best way to see Pennsylvania and along with the natural environment, the road trips let us explore so many small towns as well as big cities which I know we would have never visited in our lifetimes. An exploration of a lifetime that would never have happened without us making the decision on June 1, 2018 to just go for it and dedicate a chunk of our retirement to this challenge. It was a true blessing for both of us to finish our quest together on May 21, 2023.

You know the beginning and the end of this story and now join me as I talk about some of what happened in-between as well as how Donna and I discovered that we had a mutual love for the outdoors that decades later led us to that first park and the start of our quest. I will talk about motivators/rituals that kept us going, planning, essentials we keep in our vehicle, what is a great daypack and what are the necessities packed within, and of course, a few of my favorite parks. I will bring along many show and tell items including Donna’s amazing 5 photo books that chronicled our journey. Looking forward to sharing and laughing and answering questions.

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