Proponents of the project, including Meiser, suggested that limestone impoundments could be used to neutralize the creek’s acid content. All Rights Reserved. An ice dam along the Little Swatara Creek provided ice for Rehrersburg and employment for about 10 men during the winter months between 1880 and 1920. Tyler Hunt. Sections, Gauges & Water Levels Section A (Pine Grove to Rt. 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. The acquisition of the remaining land was now believed to be the last objective standing in the way of construction. A long-gone dam on the creek existed between 1826 and 1862, comprising a 45-foot breast and an 800-acre impoundment that ran six miles northward in the direction of Pine Grove. Read More: A trek into the wilderness of the Lebanon Reservoir and Jeff’s Swamp. Long, but flat, mowed route. ... 31, downstream on Friday at the Swatara Creek … For months, the Swatara Dam and state park hung in limbo. Uneven portage on left bank, which disappears into tree line in high water. In mentioning that all of the money must be allocated and spent by Dec. 30, County Administrator Jamie Wolgemuth reminded the commissioners that the county has disbursed $9.1 million in grants to Lebanon County businesses in just over 3.5 months. During 1828, … But one of the biggest problem facing the project was in direct conflict with its future as a water supply: pollution. Major tributaries and their drainage areas east of the Susquehanna River are Swatara Creek (571 square miles) and the Conestoga River (477 square miles). Copyright © 2020 Swatara Water Trail . This number and others, like the estimated cost of $3 million, grew as Meiser and proponents of the idea continued to develop the project. “But the Swatty had been dammed right below [Kline’s] property. At the base of the dam are the remaining structures of the Swatara (iron) Furnace, which began operation in the 1830s. Dams on the Swatara weren’t unheard of at the time of the proposal. 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. Historical Weather. There is a low-head dam on the Swatara just east of PA Route 72 and north of Jonestown. This technique, known as “liming,” is still used to return acidified bodies of water back down to safe levels. The park itself is the end result of a complex, ambitious, and ultimately incomplete plan that would have added a dam on the river at the Swatara Gap near Green Point and created a miles-long lake stretching out across the northern end of the county. Read More: [Photo Story] Brilliant blues and fiery fall colors on display at Swatara State Park. Two dams are on the Swatara Creek, a low-head dam owned by the Lebanon Water Authority, and one dam owned by PA American Water Company to provide clean water for residents of the Swatara Watershed. Contact Memorial Lake State Park office for facility seasons and hours. Also try the area near Red Hill Dam on the east side of the River along Three Mile Island. 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. 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. What really happened at the “Taste of Sicily trial”? The furnace, parts of two dams, the ironmaster’s mansion and a … 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. Little Swatara Creek River of the month #25. author: Pat Reilly date: May 2000. 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. LebTown is on hiatus for the holidays. Blotter: Accidents, scattering rubbish, theft, At the turn of the century, Valley Glen Park was the place to see and be seen, A look back at some of the worst snowstorms in county history, [Photo Story] Your photos of this week’s snow in Lebanon County, Police share details on weekend crash that killed Lebanon motorcyclist, The latest food safety violations in Lebanon County, Two Annville couples open axe-throwing venue in Hershey, Police ID city murder victim; suspect named, is still at large, What’s in a name? Remains of the abandoned railroad bed, five canal locks and the old dam on Old State Road can be found within the park. Swatara State Park. Some would say that’s a good thing, and some wouldn’t. Acid runoff originating from abandoned strip mines and coal silt was known to be a major issue even in the project’s early days, and many locals could plainly see that the “Black Swattie” was not nearly as clean as it should be. 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). 14: Numerous homes adjacent to the creek are affected by high water. The corporation was active in the 70’s then became dormant. Five major areas were part of Goddard’s initial plans. The existing Swatara Creek facilities, which were constructed in 1972, are located on the west side of 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. Want to learn more about the project and the Swatara Creek and State Park? Still, the project seem to always be perpetually two or three years behind schedule. Swatara Creek in Pennsylvania. It’s one of the major bodies of water in Lebanon County, and since 2012, eight miles of its length have been contained within the large 3,520-acre Swatara State Park. 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. The DER itself later split into the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in 1995. 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. About 80 … The Swatara Creek is a 72-mile tributary of the Susquehanna River. It is likely that this very affordable conference would be helpful to paddlers interested in working on dam removal projects in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. The Swatara Creek Watershed Association, Inc. was founded in 1970 in response to encouragement from the Chamber of Commerce and State and federal agencies to promote conservation of the Swatara Creek Watershed. The existence of this dam (used for the management of the Union Canal) was brought up in discussions on the new one. Registration for the conference is due by January 23rd. 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). The corporation was active in the 70’s then became dormant. Today, Swatara State Park is dam-free and likely to stay that way for the time being. as well as camping from the Swatara Watershed Association, which organizes an overnight Swatara Creek Sojourn trip each May (www.swatarawatershed.com). The Swatara Creek flows downward, through the mountains and through Lebanon County and the southern portion of Dauphin County. Also try the area near Red Hill Dam on the east side of the River along Three Mile Island. “You wonder how a boat could get in there,” said Meyer. The dam was washed away in the Flood of 1862, destroying the canal and reservoir. 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. A Lebanon City resident died after getting pulled underwater by strong currents at the Jonestown Dam, Pennsylvania State Police said. Steamboat Annie, which carried passengers along the Swatara Creek. ... Strainers are relatively few; the only carry I can remember was a beaver dam. By the late 1990s, these groups included the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which were particularly concerned for the acres of important wetlands that would be inundated by the reservoir. Water use in the lower basin for public supply totaled about 200 million gallons per day in 1985. Numerous homes adjacent to the creek are affected by high water. Motorboats with up to 10 horsepower were to be permitted on the lake. The 3,520-acre Swatara State Park consists of rolling fields and woodlands situated in the Swatara Valley, between Second and Blue mountains. 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. 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. There are two dams that are hindrances with terrible portages so I broke the creek into three sections. Unlike the dam, the state park that would have surrounded it is today a reality, though it’s not exactly the same park that was shown off to the public back in 1969. Controversy surrounding the plan only grew over time as setbacks and delays stalled the project and costs began to add up. 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. Lebanon County, PA news, events, and opinions. When this column began 6 years ago, its stated purpose was to introduce club members to lesser-known local waterways. Keiser reported that three of the plan’s biggest obstacles had been “largely eliminated,” according to state officials. One possibility for the dam to move forward was through Project 70, a 1964 state law allocating $70 million for use in acquiring land for public parks, reservoirs, historical sites, and other preservation efforts. A portion of the Big Dam, a guard lock, and several lift locks remain on the other side of the Swatara. 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. Below are weather averages from 1971 to 2000 according to data gathered from the nearest official weather station. However, These included a rerouting of Route 72 (deemed less prohibitive thanks to the construction of Interstate 81) and the presence of an active Reading Railroad line (which its operators were willing to give up for several hundred thousand dollars). 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. At this event, the Citizens Conservation Association of Lebanon County spoke against the plan, with opponents claiming the unlikelihood of fixing the Swatara’s pollution problems permanently. Dams Two dams are on the Swatara Creek, a low-head dam owned by the Lebanon Water Authority, and one dam owned by PA American Water Company to provide clean water for residents of the Swatara Watershed. 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). 12: High water affects several homes upstream of the Route 39 bridge. Photo at right: The Swatara Creek Greenway, by Rich Zaino. “You wonder how a boat could get in there,” said Meyer. 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. 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. Day use areas close at dusk. Swatara Creek in Pennsylvania. Secretary Goddard had claimed in 1963 that the Swatara dam project would meet all the requirements for the then-unpassed law, and Project 70 was seen as the answer to the question of funding throughout the rest of the 1960s. Paddlers should avoid this area, which lacks good portage. Try our daily headlines email. 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. Excluding any breaking news, we will return to our regular posting schedule on Dec. 28. Topics and series. Areas of the park are open specific seasons and hours. PRINTABLE VERSIONS Large Files - PDF : 1 = 736 Kb 2 = 813 Kb 3 = 913 Kb 4 = 502 Kb: ONLINE VERSIONS Smaller Files - HTML : 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. 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. 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. 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. One of the most important roles of the dam would have been to provide a major new source of water for Lebanon County. Station Number Station name Date/Time Gage height, feet Dis-charge, ft3/s Long-term median flow 12/17 Temper-ature, water, (The Lebanon Daily News, 8 May 1998). Swatara Creek Fishing Reports Recently shared catches and fishing spots. Susquehanna River (Red Hill Dam) Near the Dock Street dam in Harrisburg, the PFBC access areas at Fort Hunter, Millersburg and in Halifax. The bottom end of the Shooty-Chute, which launched park visitors into the waters of the Swatara. The story behind every municipality name in Lebanon County, Blotter: Fatal crash, simple assault, harassment, LebTown is on hiatus for the holidays: Thanks for supporting us in a tough year, Commissioners vote to spend remainder of CARES funding, discuss year’s disbursement of funds. 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. Swatara Creek River Water Trail - Trail Map - Trail Guide (text)-- Water Trails Index. The dam was never rebuilt because the railroad soon went into operation on the opposite bank of the Swatara Creek. “But the Swatty had been dammed right below [Kline’s] property. Steamboat Annie, which carried passengers along the Swatara Creek. 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. Memorial Lake is an option when the Swatara is too high or too low. 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. Besides the historic predecessor, dam proponents pointed to the Swatara’s potential for fishing as another reason to consider the project. 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. 17.0 in. 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). The Swatara Creek begins in the mountains of Schuylkill County, coursing over 70 miles to the southwest through Lebanon and Dauphin Counties before emptying into the Susquehanna River near Middletown. The Swatara Creek Watershed Association, Inc. was founded in 1970 in response to encouragement from the Chamber of Commerce and State and federal agencies to promote conservation of the Swatara Creek Watershed. There are two dams that are hindrances with terrible portages so I broke the creek into three sections. FEMA 10% Annual Chance Flood Level (10-year flood). Theme by AcademiaThemes. The 125-foot Siegrist Dam tripled the water capacity of the High Bridge reservoir on the site to 1.2 billion gallons and became the new second surface water source fed into the City of Lebanon Authority’s system after the intake facility already on the Swatara. The Swatara Creek flows downward, through the mountains and through Lebanon County and the southern portion of Dauphin County. Now it was time for the next phase of the project to begin: land acquisition. 3 lb. The scenic Swatara Creek meanders the length of the park and is surrounded by forests and wetlands that support a … Any project as large in scope as the Swatara Dam draws mixed opinions and often heated debate. Susquehanna River (Red Hill Dam) Near the Dock Street dam in Harrisburg, the PFBC access areas at Fort Hunter, Millersburg and in Halifax. Swatara State Park is a 3,515-acre (1,422 ha) Pennsylvania state park in Bethel, Swatara and Union Townships, Lebanon and Pine Grove Township, Schuylkill Counties in Pennsylvania in the United States. Still, the seepage threatened to overwhelm any preventative measures since there was no way to effectively seal off the mines from the watershed. 22) To start at Pine Grove, Harper Tavern should be over 2.5’; To get through Swatara State Park, Inwood should be 3.25’. Swatara State Park was formed in 1987 with the idea of damming the Swatara Creek to create a lake at the park. Most of these species occur in the lower portion of the creek near Middletown. Both dams must be portaged and can be … The bottom end of the Shooty-Chute, which launched park visitors into the waters of the Swatara. Its headwaters are in the Appalachian Mountains near Minersville Borough in Schuylkill County. 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. It is likely that this very affordable conference would be helpful to paddlers interested in working on dam removal projects in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. 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. In addition, the Christian E Seigrist Reservoir is located in Schuylkill County, and the Dehart Dam in Dauphin County. The existing Swatara Creek facilities, which were constructed in 1972, are located on the west side of Swatara Creek … Aug, 28, 2019 - Swatara Creek. You seem like a real fan. Perhaps this is not the last we’ve heard about a dam on the Swatara. Concerns over water shortages in the future are still relevant, though any talk of a new dam project is likely to receive considerable opposition due to ecological, financial, and logistical concerns. Visit the Swatara Watershed Association’s webpage and the DCNR page for the park. RE: Swatara Creek 2008/09/03 16:44:54 I went up to Swatara Creek acouple days ago around Swatara State Park and overall the fishing was slow for any trout anglers. ... 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 … Swatara Creek River Water Trail - Trail Map - Trail Guide (text)-- Water Trails Index. Its headwaters are in the Appalachian Mountains near Minersville Borough in Schuylkill County. Swatara Creek Intake. Hershey dam portage is also on the left. Historic accounts of the creek’s natural populations were cited in early meetings as proof of the possibilities. 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. Located just miles from Hershey, owner Ben Miller and his trained staff provide both self-guided and guided tours of the Swatara Creek Water Trail, which is … Sections, Gauges & Water Levels Section A (Pine Grove to Rt. On closer inspection, 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. In 1828, work began to … A Lebanon City resident died after getting pulled underwater by strong currents at the Jonestown Dam, Pennsylvania State Police said. Fishing was among the the biggest draws, but swimming, boating, and other “flat-water forms of recreation” were also accounted for on the reservoir, estimated to be around 1,400 feet wide on average and around 38 feet deep near the dam. CCA secretary Richard Henry stated that there was no permanent solution for treating the Swatara’s acid problem and described the plan as “economically unsound.”. In addition, the Christian E Seigrist Reservoir is located in Schuylkill County, and the Dehart Dam in Dauphin County. And dams? Use caution at dams: With groups, avoid low-head dam in Jonestown. 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. 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. 22) To start at Pine Grove, Harper Tavern should be over 2.5’; To get through Swatara State Park, Inwood should be 3.25’. Pollution concerns had been gradually laid to rest, but renewed criticism came from groups concerned for the ecosystem of the Swatara and its flora and fauna, including the very fish that had been touted as a future feature of the park. The Swatara Creek and the proposed map of the reservoir and surrounding park. 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. Swatara Creek Intake. This was a serious blow to the project. ... 31, downstream on Friday at the Swatara Creek … Goddard, who had retired from the DER in 1979, urged locals to put pressure on legislators to keep the project moving at a Municipal Building meeting in 1988. 10: A few homes adjacent to the creek upstream of the Route 39 bridge flood. 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. The Lower Little Swatara Creek, Schuylkill County, and Quittapahilla Creek, Reach our newsroom using the contact form below and we’ll do our best to get back to you. The Swatara Creek is a 72-mile tributary of the Susquehanna River. Erected 1950 by Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. However, that plan never came to fruition. author: Pat Reilly date: July 2005. 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. Work continued haltingly in the 1980s, though more than $40 million was allocated for the project at this time. The dam was by then scheduled to be finished by 1991. 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. 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. Swatara State Park was originally slated to become a large lake by creating a dam on the Swatara Creek in 1987. The new dam initially had smaller dimensions, with early plans calling for a 25-foot breast. Three-Mile reroute was finished in 1993: high water — over ten high... As proof of the Shooty-Chute, which were constructed in 1972, are located on the Swatara would been! Pulled underwater by strong currents at the park 80 … Numerous homes to... The reservoir and surrounding park Red Hill dam on the Swatara now the chief issue the. Between Second and Blue mountains adjacent to the Creek upstream of the month # 25. author Pat! 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