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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. The Lower Little Swatara Creek, Schuylkill County, and Quittapahilla Creek, When this column began 6 years ago, its stated purpose was to introduce club members to lesser-known local waterways. Hershey dam portage is also on the left. “You wonder how a boat could get in there,” said Meyer. Controversy surrounding the plan only grew over time as setbacks and delays stalled the project and costs began to add up. The dam was by then scheduled to be finished by 1991. Paddlers should avoid this area, which lacks good portage. It’s this period of land acquisition that still stings for many of the residents displaced and affected by the project. Use caution at dams: With groups, avoid low-head dam in Jonestown. What really happened at the “Taste of Sicily trial”? The dam was never rebuilt because the railroad soon went into operation on the opposite bank of the Swatara Creek. Numerous homes adjacent to the creek are affected by high water. Swatara Creek in Pennsylvania. 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. Besides the historic predecessor, dam proponents pointed to the Swatara’s potential for fishing as another reason to consider the project. 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. Swatara Creek River Water Trail - Trail Map - Trail Guide (text)-- Water Trails Index. However, 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. 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. Its headwaters are in the Appalachian Mountains near Minersville Borough in Schuylkill County. 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. This number and others, like the estimated cost of $3 million, grew as Meiser and proponents of the idea continued to develop the project. Memorial Lake is an option when the Swatara is too high or too low. Erected 1950 by Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Historical Weather. Little Swatara Creek River of the month #25. author: Pat Reilly date: May 2000. 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. Proponents of the project, including Meiser, suggested that limestone impoundments could be used to neutralize the creek’s acid content. 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). 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). “But the Swatty had been dammed right below [Kline’s] property. Lebanon County, PA news, events, and opinions. For months, the Swatara Dam and state park hung in limbo. Its headwaters are in the Appalachian Mountains near Minersville Borough in Schuylkill County. 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. 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. The existing Swatara Creek facilities, which were constructed in 1972, are located on the west side of Swatara Creek … Copyright © 2020 Swatara Water Trail . The corporation was active in the 70’s then became dormant. 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. Aug, 28, 2019 - Swatara Creek. Read More: A trek into the wilderness of the Lebanon Reservoir and Jeff’s Swamp. Try our daily headlines email. The scenic Swatara Creek meanders the length of the park and is surrounded by forests and wetlands that support a … The Swatara Creek flows downward, through the mountains and through Lebanon County and the southern portion of Dauphin County. ... Strainers are relatively few; the only carry I can remember was a beaver dam. Swatara State Park was originally slated to become a large lake by creating a dam on the Swatara Creek in 1987. 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. Still, the project seem to always be perpetually two or three years behind schedule. On closer inspection, It was in use from 1832-1862. 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. 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. Susquehanna River (Red Hill Dam) Near the Dock Street dam in Harrisburg, the PFBC access areas at Fort Hunter, Millersburg and in Halifax. Also try the area near Red Hill Dam on the east side of the River along Three Mile Island. In comparison, the Swatara reservoir would contain around 3.3 billion gallons — over ten times High Bridge’s volume. Keiser reported that three of the plan’s biggest obstacles had been “largely eliminated,” according to state officials. 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. 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 … Contact Memorial Lake State Park office for facility seasons and hours. Visit the Swatara Watershed Association’s webpage and the DCNR page for the park. 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. 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. Swatara Creek River Water Trail - Trail Map - Trail Guide (text)-- Water Trails Index. A Lebanon City resident died after getting pulled underwater by strong currents at the Jonestown Dam, Pennsylvania State Police said. 3 lb. Topics and series. Swatara Creek in Pennsylvania. 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? Station Number Station name Date/Time Gage height, feet Dis-charge, ft3/s Long-term median flow 12/17 Temper-ature, water, About 80 … The bottom end of the Shooty-Chute, which launched park visitors into the waters of the Swatara. 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. Suggestions for a future LebTown article? Any project as large in scope as the Swatara Dam draws mixed opinions and often heated debate. The bottom end of the Shooty-Chute, which launched park visitors into the waters of the Swatara. 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). 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. All Rights Reserved. By the end of the century, the reservoir’s estimated cost had risen to $40 million. 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. 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. 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. 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. The Swatara Creek flows downward, through the mountains and through Lebanon County and the southern portion of Dauphin County. 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. 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. The relocation of Route 443 was yet another hindrance to construction, but its new three-mile reroute was finished in 1993. The dam was washed away in the Flood of 1862, destroying the canal and reservoir. PRINTABLE VERSIONS Large Files - PDF : 1 = 736 Kb 2 = 813 Kb 3 = 913 Kb 4 = 502 Kb: ONLINE VERSIONS Smaller Files - HTML : author: Pat Reilly date: July 2005. Do you support local news?If you believe that Lebanon County needs independent, high-quality journalism, consider joining LebTown as a member. Read More: [Photo Story] Brilliant blues and fiery fall colors on display at Swatara State Park. as well as camping from the Swatara Watershed Association, which organizes an overnight Swatara Creek Sojourn trip each May (www.swatarawatershed.com). 8 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. Over the course of the decade, the state began piecing together the massive acreage of the project through land purchase and use of eminent domain. Photo at right: The Swatara Creek Greenway, by Rich Zaino. ... 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 … Remains of the abandoned railroad bed, five canal locks and the old dam on Old State Road can be found within the park. 12: High water affects several homes upstream of the Route 39 bridge. Sections, Gauges & Water Levels Section A (Pine Grove to Rt. 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. 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. Five major areas were part of Goddard’s initial plans. And dams? Work on the park, which had remained undeveloped since 1987, began in 2011 and it was officially opened the following year. The DER itself later split into the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in 1995. “But the Swatty had been dammed right below [Kline’s] property. The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. There are two dams that are hindrances with terrible portages so I broke the creek into three sections. Swatara Creek Intake. PRINTABLE VERSIONS Large Files - PDF : 1 = 736 Kb 2 = 813 Kb 3 = 913 Kb 4 = 502 Kb: ONLINE VERSIONS Smaller Files - HTML : Photo at right: The Swatara Creek Greenway, by Rich Zaino. 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. Both dams must be portaged and can be … It is likely that this very affordable conference would be helpful to paddlers interested in working on dam removal projects in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. 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. 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. 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. 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. The Swatara Creek is a 72-mile tributary of the Susquehanna River. You seem like a real fan. But one of the biggest problem facing the project was in direct conflict with its future as a water supply: pollution. 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. Excluding any breaking news, we will return to our regular posting schedule on Dec. 28. Also try the area near Red Hill Dam on the east side of the River along Three Mile Island. 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. The 3,520-acre Swatara State Park consists of rolling fields and woodlands situated in the Swatara Valley, between Second and Blue mountains. Sections, Gauges & Water Levels Section A (Pine Grove to Rt. Tyler Hunt. Still, the seepage threatened to overwhelm any preventative measures since there was no way to effectively seal off the mines from the watershed. Reach our newsroom using the contact form below and we’ll do our best to get back to you. Swatara State Park. Susquehanna River (Red Hill Dam) Near the Dock Street dam in Harrisburg, the PFBC access areas at Fort Hunter, Millersburg and in Halifax. The existing Swatara Creek facilities, which were constructed in 1972, are located on the west side of Swatara Creek … The existence of this dam (used for the management of the Union Canal) was brought up in discussions on the new one. 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. Steamboat Annie, which carried passengers along the Swatara Creek. Early in 1971, the project was approved for a $2.7-million grant by the General State Authority, one of 17 grants for park projects around the state totaling $13.3 million in all. Day use areas close at dusk. 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. However, that plan never came to fruition. The corporation was active in the 70’s then became dormant. 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 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. Want to learn more about the project and the Swatara Creek and State Park? Historic accounts of the creek’s natural populations were cited in early meetings as proof of the possibilities. 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). A Lebanon City resident died after getting pulled underwater by strong currents at the Jonestown Dam, Pennsylvania State Police said. Swatara State Park was formed in 1987 with the idea of damming the Swatara Creek to create a lake at the park. Steamboat Annie, which carried passengers along the Swatara Creek. 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. 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. There is a low-head dam on the Swatara just east of PA Route 72 and north of Jonestown. During 1828, … A portion of the Big Dam, a guard lock, and several lift locks remain on the other side of the Swatara. 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. Meiser subsequently stated that he had first conceived the idea even earlier in 1955, when he was a member of the Regional Planning Commission. 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. This was a serious blow to the project. Environmental degradation was now seen now the chief issue with the project. 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. The death of a Cleona man who drowned this summer while kayaking on the Swatara Creek near Jonestown is a cautionary tale. 10: A few homes adjacent to the creek upstream of the Route 39 bridge flood. Swatara Creek Intake. Questions about this story? 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. Motorboats with up to 10 horsepower were to be permitted on the lake. 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. 17.0 in. Long, but flat, mowed route. 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. Today, Swatara State Park is dam-free and likely to stay that way for the time being. Below are weather averages from 1971 to 2000 according to data gathered from the nearest official weather station. ... 31, downstream on Friday at the Swatara Creek … 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. At the base of the dam are the remaining structures of the Swatara (iron) Furnace, which began operation in the 1830s. 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. 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. Uneven portage on left bank, which disappears into tree line in high water. Major tributaries and their drainage areas east of the Susquehanna River are Swatara Creek (571 square miles) and the Conestoga River (477 square miles). The furnace, parts of two dams, the ironmaster’s mansion and a … 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. Following the Swatara Creek from Pine Grove to main line of the Canal at Water Works was a Feeder Branch. 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. (The Lebanon Daily News, 8 May 1998). Water use in the lower basin for public supply totaled about 200 million gallons per day in 1985. 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. In addition, the Christian E Seigrist Reservoir is located in Schuylkill County, and the Dehart Dam in Dauphin County. This technique, known as “liming,” is still used to return acidified bodies of water back down to safe levels. 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. 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. Registration for the conference is due by January 23rd. 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. Areas of the park are open specific seasons and hours. 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. ... 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 … ... 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. 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