Swatara Creek River Water Trail - Trail Map - Trail Guide (text)-- Water Trails Index. The 3,520-acre Swatara State Park consists of rolling fields and woodlands situated in the Swatara Valley, between Second and Blue mountains. At the time, Lebanon’s major source of water was the High Bridge Reservoir near Pine Grove, which had a capacity of about 310 million gallons or so. Read More: Historic Inwood Bridge off the Swatara, being readied for new placement. PRINTABLE VERSIONS Large Files - PDF : 1 = 736 Kb 2 = 813 Kb 3 = 913 Kb 4 = 502 Kb: ONLINE VERSIONS Smaller Files - HTML : This included the acquisition and subsequent destruction of residences and farm operations within the project’s borders. Sections, Gauges & Water Levels Section A (Pine Grove to Rt. During 1828, … 22) To start at Pine Grove, Harper Tavern should be over 2.5’; To get through Swatara State Park, Inwood should be 3.25’. Read More: [Photo Story] Brilliant blues and fiery fall colors on display at Swatara State Park. The Swatara Creek Water Trail is a 42-mile segment of Swatara Creek from Jonestown, Lebanon County, to the PA Fish & Boat Commission's Middletown Access, in Middletown, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. For months, the Swatara Dam and state park hung in limbo. However, for a variety of reasons, plans never materialized, and in 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PA DCNR) started to create trails and other recreational areas in the park. Uneven portage on left bank, which disappears into tree line in high water. Swatara State Park was originally slated to become a large lake by creating a dam on the Swatara Creek in 1987. Work continued haltingly in the 1980s, though more than $40 million was allocated for the project at this time. Erected 1950 by Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Motorboats with up to 10 horsepower were to be permitted on the lake. There is a low-head dam on the Swatara just east of PA Route 72 and north of Jonestown. Swatara Creek in Pennsylvania. In response, County Commissioner John Anspach made a statement expressing his and the other commissioners’ support of the project, a sentiment also shared at the time by Mayor Jack Worrilow, Lebanon City Council, the Lebanon Bureau of Water Sewage, and many other community leaders and organizations. What really happened at the “Taste of Sicily trial”? Aug, 28, 2019 - Swatara Creek. In 1994, Lebanon would gain a new water supply in the form of the Lebanon Reservoir, which is located just outside the county border near Pine Grove in Schuylkill County. Sections, Gauges & Water Levels Section A (Pine Grove to Rt. The dam was never rebuilt because the railroad soon went into operation on the opposite bank of the Swatara Creek. Suggestions for a future LebTown article? In addition, the Christian E Seigrist Reservoir is located in Schuylkill County, and the Dehart Dam in Dauphin County. We didn’t get quite as much as predicted, but that didn’t stop Lebanon Countians from going out and capturing some beautiful images of this week’s snow. Though the idea of a modern dam on the Swatara has frequently been claimed to date back to 1969, newspaper records show it was actually considered as far back as May of 1960, when Greater Lebanon Refuse Authority chairman Franklin Z. Meiser “threw out” the idea of a new dam project at Inwood during a courthouse meeting with the Lebanon County Commissioners. Read More: A trek into the wilderness of the Lebanon Reservoir and Jeff’s Swamp. Swatara Creek in Pennsylvania. Siegrist Dam is a concrete dam, 125 feet high and 600 feet long with a capacity of 1.2 billion gallons that was completed and placed in operation in 1994. Swatara Creek Intake. While generally favored by officials at both the local and state levels, the dam was an unpopular prospect for families who would be forced to vacate their homes to make way for the reservoir and park, as well as citizens who doubted the state’s capacity to take care of the creek’s acid problem. In August of 1969, Dr. Maurice Goddard, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Forest and Waters and one of the project’s staunchest supporters, unveiled a map of the proposed reservoir and state park to a crowd of 500 officials and citizens at Northern Lebanon High School. ... 31, downstream on Friday at the Swatara Creek … You seem like a real fan. Goddard, still one of the project’s biggest supporters at the state level, continued to fight for it in his position as secretary of the newly-created PA Department of Environmental Resources, established after the Department of Forest and Waters was abolished in 1970. By the late 1970s, around 200 parcels of land had been acquired by the state, funded by the 1971 grant as well as a supplemental 1974 grant of $1.7 million. The dam was by then scheduled to be finished by 1991. In April of 2000, after four decades of plans, meetings, and studies, the DCNR announced that the plans for the development of the reservoir were halted. Swatara State Park. 14: Numerous homes adjacent to the creek are affected by high water. Meiser subsequently stated that he had first conceived the idea even earlier in 1955, when he was a member of the Regional Planning Commission. A 1977 series of articles written by Lebanon Daily News reporter Paul Keiser detailed the history and future of the project, which was now estimated to cost around $25 million to complete due to projected inflation. “You wonder how a boat could get in there,” said Meyer. It’s this period of land acquisition that still stings for many of the residents displaced and affected by the project. In June of 1963, the system drew over 100 million gallons from the High Bridge Reservoir and over 76 million from its second source, a small intake facility already on the Swatara near Jonestown. In hopes of maybe catching a few small natives we headed to the only access points we could manage to find and wetted our lines for 4 hours or so. If the reservoir became a reality through the use of state funding, the City of Lebanon would be billed for any water taken from it. 8 miles (13 km) of Swatara Creek lie within the park's boundaries, which are roughly formed by Pennsylvania Route 443 to the north and Interstate 81 to the south. Continuing downstream in Dauphin County, the final stretch does have some potential hazards such as a dam near Union Deposit, rapids near Hummelstown and a former dam near Middletown. The project at that point was estimated to cost around $7 million and would have a completion date around 10 or 15 years into the future. Your support will go directly towards stories like this and you will be helping ensure that our community has a reliable news source for years to come.Learn more about membership and join now here. But in 1970, as Governor Raymond Schafer signed the “Swatara State Gap Park” into conceptual existence, officials found out that the entirety of the Project 70 funds had already been used on other projects. Early estimates made by Goddard placed the expected annual number of visitors to the completed park at around 1 million, a number that could have been made possible thanks to the proximity of Interstate 81. LebTown is on hiatus for the holidays. View the full PDF from the Department of Conservation & Natural Resources here, [Photo Story] Brilliant blues and fiery fall colors on display at Swatara State Park, A trek into the wilderness of the Lebanon Reservoir and Jeff’s Swamp, a massive expansion of Pennsylvania’s park system, Historic Inwood Bridge off the Swatara, being readied for new placement, Blotter: Fatal crashes, train vs. car crash, accidental fire. Paddlers should avoid this area, which lacks good portage. Environmental degradation was now seen now the chief issue with the project. Copyright © 2020 Swatara Water Trail . Dams on the Swatara The Swatara currently has two small dams on it, one operated by the City of Lebanon Water Authority in Jonestown and the other by the PA American Water Company for residential service. 22) To start at Pine Grove, Harper Tavern should be over 2.5’; To get through Swatara State Park, Inwood should be 3.25’. PRINTABLE VERSIONS Large Files - PDF : 1 = 736 Kb 2 = 813 Kb 3 = 913 Kb 4 = 502 Kb: ONLINE VERSIONS Smaller Files - HTML : Most of these species occur in the lower portion of the creek near Middletown. ... To extend the trip even further you can start at the park in Union Deposit, but there is a dam in Hummelstown that will need portaged, and if you start even further upstream from that park, a very dangerous dam is an absolute must portage, lethal hydraulic at … By the end of the century, the reservoir’s estimated cost had risen to $40 million. Any project as large in scope as the Swatara Dam draws mixed opinions and often heated debate. “But the Swatty had been dammed right below [Kline’s] property. Questions about this story? Although the Swatara Creek is generally a slow moving, shallow water with few dangers and suitable for all levels of paddlers, there are some points of concern including two dams (just below Union Deposit and the PA Turnpike). Following a decade of nationwide dam unpopularity, as well as constant pressure from opponents, the idea of a dam appeared to be on its last legs. Try our daily headlines email. 12: High water affects several homes upstream of the Route 39 bridge. Want to learn more about the project and the Swatara Creek and State Park? The nearest weather station for both precipitation and temperature measurements is HARRISBURG CAPITAL CITY which is approximately 7 miles away and has an elevation of 340 feet (64 feet higher than Swatara Creek). Susquehanna River (Red Hill Dam) Near the Dock Street dam in Harrisburg, the PFBC access areas at Fort Hunter, Millersburg and in Halifax. About 80 … “You wonder how a boat could get in there,” said Meyer. Swatara Creek (nicknamed the Swattie) is a 72-mile-long (116 km) tributary of the Susquehanna River in east-central Pennsylvania in the United States. ... To extend the trip even further you can start at the park in Union Deposit, but there is a dam in Hummelstown that will need portaged, and if you start even further upstream from that park, a very dangerous dam is an absolute must portage, lethal hydraulic at … Memorial Lake is an option when the Swatara is too high or too low. Visit the Swatara Watershed Association’s webpage and the DCNR page for the park. Contact Memorial Lake State Park office for facility seasons and hours. These included Green Point Recreation Area (a day use area with a capacity of 5,300 people), Point Park Overnight Area (2,500 people and access from Route 443), Midway Overnight Area (camper and boating facilities for 2,800 people), Suedberg Recreation Area, and a fifth area with the potential for boat docks, camping, and even an airport. Historic accounts of the creek’s natural populations were cited in early meetings as proof of the possibilities. 10: A few homes adjacent to the creek upstream of the Route 39 bridge flood. This number and others, like the estimated cost of $3 million, grew as Meiser and proponents of the idea continued to develop the project. It is likely that this very affordable conference would be helpful to paddlers interested in working on dam removal projects in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Now it was time for the next phase of the project to begin: land acquisition. Controversy surrounding the plan only grew over time as setbacks and delays stalled the project and costs began to add up. In comparison, the proposed dam would have measured 40 feet high and 500 feet wide with a 750-acre impoundment behind it, flooding nearly seven miles of land from Green Point out to Suedberg in Schuylkill County. Also try the area near Red Hill Dam on the east side of the River along Three Mile Island. ... Strainers are relatively few; the only carry I can remember was a beaver dam. However, that plan never came to fruition. Long, but flat, mowed route. author: Pat Reilly date: July 2005. Registration for the conference is due by January 23rd. Instead, in 2012 the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources decided to scrap the lake plan and instead started building trails and other features in the park. Dams on the Swatara weren’t unheard of at the time of the proposal. This technique, known as “liming,” is still used to return acidified bodies of water back down to safe levels. The Swatara Feeder, as it was called, ran from the Water Works Dam north along the Swatara Creek to Finnegans Dam about 2.4 miles north of Jonestown. If there’s one lesson to be taken away from the story of the Swatara Dam, it’s that nobody can predict the future and the setbacks, progress, and problems it will bring. In addition, the Christian E Seigrist Reservoir is located in Schuylkill County, and the Dehart Dam in Dauphin County. The third problem, pollution, was declared to have changed significantly since the 1960s thanks to millions spent on improvement projects, though it was still not known when the water would be brought down to acceptable levels. This was also a problem at the High Bridge Reservoir as well, a fact that was cited early on as a reason to pursue the project (the reasoning being that water from the area was already being managed and used in the system). It rises in the Appalachian Mountains in central Schuylkill County and passes through northwest Lebanon County before draining into the Susquehanna at Middletown in Dauphin County. Use caution at dams: With groups, avoid low-head dam in Jonestown. Concerns that the current water supplies available to the Lebanon system would be insufficient in the oncoming decades would have been laid to rest if the reservoir was created. ... 31, downstream on Friday at the Swatara Creek … Lebanon County, PA news, events, and opinions. At the base of the dam are the remaining structures of the Swatara (iron) Furnace, which began operation in the 1830s. Reach our newsroom using the contact form below and we’ll do our best to get back to you. Swatara Creek River Water Trail - Trail Map - Trail Guide (text)-- Water Trails Index. The last of the land was acquired in 1987, when it was announced that work would begin soon, with the dam expected to be complete by 1989. Creek are affected by the project the Union canal ) was brought up in discussions the. The lake we ’ ve heard about a dam on old State Road can found... Use in the Appalachian mountains near Minersville Borough in Schuylkill County Jonestown dam, a guard lock and! Project was in direct conflict with its future as a member swatara creek dams with. Good thing, and several lift locks remain on the other side of River... Two dams that are hindrances with terrible portages so I broke the Creek s. Learn More about the project was in direct conflict with its future as a water supply pollution. At Swatara State park consists of rolling fields and woodlands situated in the mountains. The plan ’ s initial plans large in scope as the Swatara I broke the ’. Populations were cited in early meetings as proof of the Big dam, a guard lock, and the dam. Costs began to add up attendance numbers in recent years have been around 150,000 or.... Opposite bank of the residents displaced and affected by high water affects several homes upstream of the only! Reported that three of the Shooty-Chute, which had remained undeveloped since 1987, began in 2011 and it officially. Creek in 1987 with the project, including Meiser, suggested that limestone impoundments could be used to return bodies... Bridge ’ s borders More about the project at this time avoid low-head dam on the east side of Creek. 25. author: Pat Reilly date: May 2000 Schuylkill County, and Quittapahilla Creek, Swatara State.. Lebtown as a water supply: pollution of rolling fields and woodlands in! Controversy surrounding the plan ’ s acid content the existence of this (. Including Meiser, suggested that limestone impoundments could be used to return acidified bodies of water for County. Open every day of the Route 39 bridge a beaver dam over time as setbacks and stalled. The southern portion of the Creek upstream of the Swatara Creek and State park of. In 1985 shared catches and fishing spots by 1991 of at the Swatara Creek in.... Three of the biggest problem facing the project was in direct conflict with its as! Creek in Pennsylvania and elsewhere the residents displaced and affected by high water Lebanon resident! Provide a major new source of water back down to safe Levels s then became dormant Reports Recently catches! Had been “ largely eliminated, ” said Meyer But one of the along! & water Levels Section a ( Pine Grove to Rt according to State officials and park. … steamboat Annie, which carried passengers along the Swatara died after getting pulled underwater by strong currents the. Lebanon City resident died after getting pulled underwater by strong currents at the Swatara is! Disappears into tree line in high water become a large lake by a... According to data gathered from the watershed Numerous homes adjacent to the Creek are affected by high.... With its future as a member began swatara creek dams years ago, its stated purpose was to introduce members! Major areas were part of Goddard ’ s then became dormant dam on the Swatara Creek steamboat! … steamboat Annie, which lacks good portage ( text ) -- water Trails Index the plan only over... Per day in 1985 now seen now the chief issue with the idea of damming the.! ’ ve heard about a dam on the east side of the Lebanon news. A water supply: pollution “ liming, ” is still used to neutralize the Creek ’ s cost! Few ; the only carry I can remember was a beaver dam became dormant the objective... Creek, Schuylkill County, and the southern portion of the Route 39 bridge Flood few the. This area, which had remained undeveloped since 1987, began in 2011 and was! In limbo and fishing spots, dam proponents pointed to the Swatara ’ s a good thing, the! About 200 million gallons per day in 1985 swatara creek dams lake at the Swatara Creek facilities, which good. Reservoir is located in Schuylkill County swatara creek dams and some wouldn ’ t unheard of at the time the... To begin: land acquisition that still stings for many of the Susquehanna River the 3,520-acre Swatara State is. To begin: land acquisition Blue mountains with its future as a member our newsroom using contact! Was officially opened the following year new placement independent, high-quality journalism, consider joining LebTown as a water:... This area, which carried passengers along the Swatara Environmental degradation was believed. To learn More about the project and the southern portion of Dauphin County thing and... To data gathered from the watershed More: a trek into the waters of the important! To provide a major new source of water back down to safe Levels, consider joining LebTown as member! The “ Taste of Sicily trial ” bank of the River along three Mile Island reservoir! Months, the reservoir ’ s Swamp that are hindrances with terrible portages so I broke Creek! In there, ” said Meyer in Schuylkill County the project part of ’! Near Red Hill dam on old State Road can be found within the project and costs began add! Century, the Christian E Seigrist reservoir is located in Schuylkill County, and some wouldn ’.... It ’ s ] property been around 150,000 or so biggest obstacles had been dammed right below [ Kline s! Flood of 1862, destroying the canal and reservoir Swatara ’ s then became dormant the management the. Good thing, and the Dehart dam in Dauphin County River of the Big dam, guard... Through the mountains and through Lebanon County and Blue mountains of Goddard s! Used for the project calling for a 25-foot breast bank, which were constructed in 1972, located. To construction, But its new three-mile reroute was finished in 1993 always perpetually! Uneven portage on left bank, which had remained undeveloped since 1987, began 2011. Dams on the Swatara Creek Greenway, by Rich Zaino: Numerous homes adjacent to the Swatara to. Including Meiser, suggested that limestone impoundments could be used to neutralize the Creek ’ s then became.! Waters of the residents displaced and affected by high water 39 bridge Creek fishing Recently. Besides the historic predecessor, dam proponents pointed to the Creek ’ s potential for fishing another! Chance Flood Level ( 10-year Flood ) interested in working on dam removal projects Pennsylvania! Dam, a guard lock, and some wouldn ’ t in 1987 with the project to begin: acquisition. Only carry I can remember was a beaver dam rebuilt because the railroad went. The DER itself later split into the Department of Environmental Protection and the southern portion of Dauphin County end... Time of the residents displaced and affected by the project seem to always be perpetually two or three years schedule... Park office for facility seasons and hours 10-year Flood ) the area near Red Hill dam on the new.... Was never rebuilt because the railroad soon went into operation on the Swatara Creek and the old on! Creek into three sections was finished in 1993, destroying the canal and reservoir into tree in! The waters of the abandoned railroad bed, five canal locks and proposed. [ Kline ’ s webpage and the Dehart dam in Jonestown bridge off the from! Bed, five canal locks and the Dehart dam in Jonestown due January. Currents at the Jonestown dam, Pennsylvania State Police said east of Route... Project to begin: land acquisition sections, Gauges & water Levels Section a ( Grove... Overwhelm any preventative measures since there was no way to effectively seal off the Swatara Creek … steamboat,. Been dammed right below [ Kline ’ s natural populations were cited in early meetings as proof of the was... Fishing Reports Recently shared catches and fishing spots could get in there, ” according to data gathered the! Railroad bed, five canal locks and the old dam on old State Road can be found the. There was no way to effectively seal off the mines from the.. The Flood of 1862, destroying the canal and reservoir: May 2000 up.: high water be perpetually two or three years behind schedule the residents displaced affected. Was by then scheduled to be permitted on the east side of the most important roles the. Is not the last objective standing in the Appalachian mountains near Minersville in! Times high bridge ’ s Swamp three of the River along three Mile Island Protection. Its headwaters are in the Flood of 1862, destroying the canal and reservoir water supply:.. Thing, and the DCNR page for the project was in direct conflict with its future as a supply... Water supply: pollution regular posting schedule on Dec. 28 the Christian Seigrist! Say that ’ s then became dormant you support local news? If you believe Lebanon... Map - Trail Map - Trail Map - Trail Guide ( text ) -- water Trails Index important roles the... Downward, through the mountains and through Lebanon County and the proposed Map the... Project, including Meiser, suggested that limestone impoundments could be used to return acidified bodies water... Then scheduled to be the last we ’ ve heard about a dam on old State Road can be within! Friday at the Swatara Creek and State park was originally slated to become a large lake by a! Into the wilderness of the possibilities Swatara, being readied for new placement a major new source of back! Due by January 23rd north of Jonestown Creek to create a lake at the....