The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced yesterday, January 27, 2012, that the long-awaited construction project bringing trails, parking areas and bridges to Swatara State Park in Lebanon and Schuylkill counties, is now underway.
“Long identified as ‘undeveloped,’ this gem of a state park comprised of woodlands and meadows straddling Swatara Creek is targeted for the type of improvements its visitors have requested,” said DCNR Secretary Richard Allan. “Planned facility and infrastructure improvements will support and enhance day-use recreation that already includes canoeing, fishing, hiking, picnicking and bicycling.”
Work will include installation of 10 miles of crushed stone trails along an existing railway bed and a portion of abandoned Old State Road. A new trail and bridge near Sand Siding Road will connect the former rail bed and roadway. Another bridge will span Mill Creek on the rail trail.
Park visitors are advised construction work may affect access to certain areas. Closings may be required along Old State Road/Bear Hole Trail, Rail Trail, the Lickdale Spur, and the boat launch near Swopes Valley Road. Mountain bike trails, the Appalachian Trail, and Waterville Bridge will remain open, as will sections of the rail trail. The Swatara Water Trail will require portage around bridge construction.
The majority of Swatara State Park is located along I-81 between Second and Blue mountains. An 8-mile stretch of the Swatara Creek Water Trail winds through the park, and two miles of the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine, cross its southern sector.
Financed through state capital budget funds, the $4.67 million project undertaken by Kinsley Construction of York County is expected to be completed by mid-July. Updated information can be obtained by contacting Memorial Lake State Park Office at (717) 865-6470 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Swatara and Pennsylvania’s other 119 state parks, please visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us and select “Find a Park.”
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