*Last weekend we enjoyed some beautiful daylight hours at Blue Marsh Lake. We’ve done this regularly throughout the summer. It is way up there on the list of things to do around here – for us, at least, and also for the relatively small number of folks who regularly frequent the area.And that leads right into what I want to say about it. Blue Marsh Lake seems to have attained a bit of a bad rep among some county citizens – this is especially true for the beach area and swimming opportunities . The reasons for this are, in my opinion, just not worth mentioning, as it is all quite undeserved. The positive aspects of a trip to Blue Marsh Lake – for swimming, boating, fishing, a picnic on the grounds, or a hike on a nature trail – are apparent to anyone who has actually been out there. Passing on uninformed hearsay is an injustice when it keeps multitudes of folks away from wonderful and inspiring experiences in the great outdoors. My experience with the lake this summer, as always, has been fantastic. We take our kayaks out to Blue Marsh just about weekly in nice weather and spend some awesome hours paddling, swimming, and engaged in very pleasant and relaxing exploring and landscape viewing.I’ve met folks who drive to the lake from New Jersey, just for a day trip. They trailer their watercraft out to the excellent boat launch facilities and have a fine time. Sadly, we don’t seem to appreciate the natural treasure we have right here in our own back yard.On Sunday, we participated in the annual Wildlands Weekend event held at this time at Blue Marsh Lake. It was great fun and the kind of outdoors recreation and entertainment that I wish more folks would take advantage of. Demonstrations and hands-on learning in archery, fishing, and shooting and great things to watch and do, such as canine competitions, good food, ecology and wildlife education were available both Saturday and Sunday under the bright and warm September sun. I particularly enjoyed the exotic animal show put on by “Bwana Jim” Moulton of the ‘Old Red Schoolhouse’ Wildlife and Nature Center on state Road 44, south of Shinglehouse, PA. While I was being amazed and amused by the show I was wishing more young folks could learn to appreciate the wonders of nature as much as they are exposed to the fabricated wonders of culture. I’d encourage schools and organizations to contact Jim Moulton and set up a date for Bwana Jim’s WIldlife Show to visit your venue.As a writer on art and culture, I never want to stray too far from the true source of aesthetic inspiration – the natural world. And I want to remind my readers that all art and culture is rooted in nature. My regular and frequent visits to Blue Marsh Lake are opportunities to feel myself a part of the natural world in a public setting. I recommend you ignore the uninformed reviews this awesome place gets from some locals and experience for yourself one of the best kept secrets in Berks County. Blue Marsh Lake is a perfect weekend destination!