KTA was honored to be invited to the announcement of three new state parks for Pennsylvania. Presiding at the announcement were Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, PA DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, PA State Representative Stan Saylor and Philip Wenger, President of Lancaster Conservancy.
The announcement was held at the site of one of the new parks, Susquehanna Riverlands State Park, located along the west shore of the Susquehanna River in Hellam Township, York County. The other two new parks are Vosburg Neck State Park, along the north branch of the Susquehanna River in Wyoming County; and Big Elk Creek State Park, in southern Chester County.
“Our beautiful state parks are among the finest in the nation,” said Gov. Wolf. “I’m proud to have secured funding in my final budget to make this investment in our park system which will not only preserve invaluable natural resources and habitats for wildlife but provide in-demand access for Pennsylvanians to enjoy the beauty of nature and recreational opportunities.”
“Each new park site is unique in its value to a great system,” said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “All of the new parks are steeped in cultural pre- and post-Colonial history, centered around important water resources and represent fantastic natural resource value.”
Susquehanna Riverlands in Hellam Township, York County includes 1,100 acres of natural resources. The largely wooded tract, located where Codorus Creek flows into the Susquehanna River, protects critical water and forest resources. The land was acquired with assistance from the Lancaster Conservancy and is adjacent to its Hellam Hills and Wizard Ranch nature preserves. Combined, they protect the last large wooded area along the Susquehanna River between the cities of Harrisburg, York, and Lancaster.
Vosburg Neck is 669 acres being acquired with the assistance of the North Branch Land Trust. The park will offer scenic hiking opportunities, including a climb to an impressive westerly oriented vista, pleasant strolls along a former railroad bed, invigorating shared-use trails, and significant public access for water-based recreation to the North Branch of the Susquehanna River.
Big Elk Creek is 1,712 acres acquired through The Conservation Fund with the assistance of the Mt. Cuba Center and Chester County. It features 3.5 miles of Big Elk Creek, a tributary of the Elk River and the Chesapeake Bay. Big Elk Creek was an important transportation and natural resource corridor for indigenous people for thousands of years and an important area for freedom seekers on the Underground Railroad to the North.
The new parks are expected to be fully operational and ready to be enjoyed by the end of 2026. However, the Susquehanna Riverlands State Park can be visited now, with limited facilities available at this time.
After the announcement, Governor Wolf and Secretary Dunn led the participants on a hike across the new park to a rock vista overlooking the Susquehanna River near the Shocks Mills Bridge.
Keystone Trails Association