Fort Indiantown Gap Tours

The dates for 2017 Fort Indiantown Gap (FIG) Regal Fritillary Butterfly and Grassland Tours are:

June 30 (Friday),
July 1 (Saturday),
July 7 (Friday), and
July 8 (Saturday).
 
Please, arrive by 9:30 am to fill out required paperwork. The orientation and safety brief begins at 9:45 a.m. and the tour group leaves from the Picnic grove/USO Liberty Center promptly at 10 a.m. The tour will be approximately 3 hours long; attendees can leave the field tour earlier if needed.
 
Please, make sure that you have the information for THIS YEAR (2017) as press releases and web postings from previous years are still floating around the Internet. Up-to-date information and related materials can be found on our website: Regal Fritillary Butterfly at Fort Indiantown Gap
 
If you are traveling using Interstate 81, please use the Fort Indiantown Gap exit (# 85 or 85B depending on your direction of travel). There will be “Wildlife Events” signs with arrows directing you to the USO Liberty Center/Picnic Grove (immediately to the east of the intersection of Asher Miner Road, Clement Avenue, and State Route 443). Location of USO Liberty Building and Picnic Grove
 
Follow the instructions given by parking attendants. Participants will park around the Picnic Grove, directly across Clement Avenue from the USO Liberty Building. If you have requirements related to parking, walking, accessibility accommodations, or a large group, then let us know (email or phone beforehand or advise parking attendants) and we will make accommodations as best as we are able.
 
Be prepared to provide vehicle make, model, year, and color, license plate number, state, and insurance carrier (Section C of attached release statement). If possible, please fill out prior to your arrival.
 
After the brief orientation, tour attendees will caravan/convoy to the grassland habitat. All participants must be escorted by Wildlife or Training Center staff as the grassland habitat areas are restricted areas. While the focus of the tour is the Regal Fritillary Butterfly, we will draw attention to other insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and native plants found in the grassland habitat areas. This walking tour (100 feet to 1.5 miles) is for all ages, abilities, levels of butterfly identification skills, and will follow gravel trails and field mowed grass trails. We provide educational activities, entertainment, and special features for children. Feel free to bring your cameras, biting insect repellent, sun screen, and other personal comfort items. Drinking water will be provided.
 
Reservations or pre-registrations are not required and the tour is FREE. No rain dates will be made. The event is rain or shine…with the caveat that butterflies typically hide in vegetation and are not as active while it is raining! 
 
If you have additional questions please feel free to send us an email (preferred method) or call the below phone number (connected to an answering machine). We will try to respond as quickly as possible; however, the adult regals will soon be flying so we are in the field most of the day.
 
From Andy Hayter – Secretary, Harrisburg Camera Club

This will be my fourth Fort Indiantown Gap (FIG) Regal Fritillary Butterfly and Grassland Tour in 5 years.

I’d like to offer some advice on preparing for this tour.

  • Wear strong hiking boots or sneakers. Do not wear sandals or open toed shoes.
  • Strong bug spray is a must. You are in a field were there might be ticks and other biting insects.
  • Dress for the weather.  The best days to view and/or photograph butterflies especially the Regal Fritillary are the hottest days with the lowest wind speeds.  Look at the weather forecast   and plan to attend on the hottest day. Yes, this is in July so it can be pretty hot. There is no shade on the tour.  However, water is provided at convenient stops along the way. (so are portable restrooms) 
  • Fill out the release forms ahead of time. Just easier that way.
  • I don’t recommend this trip for babies and toddlers. I’ve seen attempts to bring babies in strollers or toddlers and they just turn around after 100 yards and head home.
  • Camera Equipment:
    • I bring my DSLR and a 300mm f4 prime and a 1.4x tele-extender.
    • 55 mm macro lens
    • Monopod or tripod – If you are going to photograph you are likely to be lingering at the back of the back. So, a support is OK to use. Just remember you are going to be carrying it for almost 3 hours. 
    • Memory Cards
    • Extra batteries or battery grip
  • Patience – if the weather is right you will see more native butterflies than you will have time to photograph.

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