Entries Tagged as Trail Development
October 26, 2015 ·
August 13, 2015 ·
Tucked away on a small landmass, owned by LCSWMA, on the Susquehanna River is the primitive Energy Island campsite. Located behind LCSWMA’s Lancaster Waste-to-Energy Facility in Conoy Township, this campsite is part of the Susquehanna Water Trail and is the only campsite of its kind on the trail in Lancaster County.
Accessible only by boat, the Energy Island campsite features a cleared camping area, fire pit and charcoal grill. Campers are encouraged to document their stay in the guest book located near the entrance of the campsite.
LCSWMA built the campsite in 2012 for residents and visitors to enjoy Lancaster County’s beautiful environment, including the scenic Susquehanna River.
To locate the campsite, enter the GPS coordinates 40°04'01.4"N 76°38'34.7"W. River access is available five miles from the Falmouth Boat Launch (111 Collins Rd, Bainbridge, PA 17502) or 2 miles from the Bainbridge Boat Launch (40-58 S Front St, Bainbridge, PA 17502).
Island shoreline. A perfect place to dock your boat, kayak or canoe for an evening of camping.
Entrance to the campsite. A log book is provided for guests to record their journey.
Cleared campsite area, which can fit three to four tents.
Fire pit and log seating. Chopped firewood is also available at the campsite for campers to use.
Charcoal grill located at the edge of the campsite.
View of the Susquehanna River from the campsite.
Shock's Mill Bridge in the distance.
The Susquehanna River.
June 08, 2015 ·
New Chestnut Grove Natural Area is county's newest, most unique nature spot
Photo and article by Ad Crable
Click here to read this story online.
A prairie in Lancaster County?
A $1.2 million makeover of a River Hills farm has given Lancaster County its newest and one of its most unique natural areas.
The 170-acre Chestnut Grove Natural Area near the county landfill in the River Hills of Manor Township opened to the public Saturday after an intense three-year ecological restoration effort.
The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority owns the property south of Washington Boro and converted it to a passive recreation area as part of its mission of “community sustainability.”
The entrance with a 20-space parking area is located off Chestnut Grove Road, near its intersection with River Road in the Highville area. The natural area is open seven days a week, dawn to dusk.
Though it offers many diverse natural features, and 4.5 miles of easy-walking trails, the undulating property’s main feel is some 85 acres of open grassland — thousands of native grasses and wildflowers swaying in the wind and buzzing with cabbage butterflies and the calls of red-winged blackbirds.
“It’s very unique for Lancaster County,” says Emily West, the authority’s environmental compliance manager who has watched the spot slowly spring to life. “There are not a lot of open native grass and wildflower areas in our region so it’s a great opportunity for hiking in terms of a lot of vistas.
“It has a little bit of everything for everybody.”
Not the least of which is a new 4.5-mile trail network that not only offers excellent views of wildlife, but also a new choice of circuit hikes in the area for county residents.
For example, there is a missing link for the Lancaster County Conservancy’s Turkey Hill Trail. You can now hike from Turkey Hill all the way to the Lancaster County Conservancy’s Safe Harbor Nature Preserve, about 6.5 miles.
Just as welcome, the natural area trails connect to the highly popular Manor Township Enola Low Grade Rail-Trail that runs along the Susquehanna between Turkey Hill and Safe Harbor.
Now, you won’t have to walk up and back where the trail dead-ends at a closed railroad bridge. You can hike on a short but steep connector trail to enjoy the Chestnut Grove Natural Area network of trails and hike back to the Turkey Hill trailhead via the new section of the Turkey Hill Trail.
On an advance tour of the natural area several days ago, authority spokeswoman Katie Sandoe was stopped in her tracks by a foreign sound — the sussuring of wind blowing softly through grasses of various heights.
“It’s so peaceful,” she marveled.
Indeed, the wide open space does seem like a place removed from the rest of what you see in Lancaster County.
Attracted to its unique habitat already, a rare sandhill crane visited for several days in December. As we walked along, we saw an indigo bunting, bluebirds and heard a Baltimore oriole.
Wildlife observation is one goal of the restoration project.
The diversity of the site doesn’t stop with the prairie-like grasslands and wildflower meadows.
This ambitious ecological restoration project also features permanent and temporary wetlands, views of the Susquehanna, River Hills forest, streams, ponds and even a stand of American chestnuts, part of the Pennsylvania Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation’s effort to restore the great American tree to the landscape someday.
Elsewhere, about 30 acres of former farmland have been planted with trees and will be allowed to grow into a forest to connect with the surrounding River Hills woods that line the Susquehanna. The newly planted trees are enclosed inside fences 7.5-feet high so deer don’t eat them.
Some 4,350 native trees and shrubs have been planted, not to mention thousands of grasses and wildflowers grown from seed.
Once cornfields and pasture owned by the Barley family and its Star Rock Farms series of properties, the dairy farm was purchased by the authority for another crop: dirt.
Between 2011 and 2012, about 7 feet of dirt was removed from about 86 acres. The 1 million cubic yards of subsoil was stockpiled and will be used as part of the authority’s proposed vertical expansion of the nearby Frey Farm Landfill.
The authority hired an ecological consultant to work with the landfill’s open space committee to restore the site to a native habitat area.
The topsoil that had been scraped off was returned to the landscape and the restoration project began. An old stone springhouse is all that remains from the farm that once included a farmhouse and farm buildings.
Besides the farm, the 170 acres of the natural area includes smaller properties the authority has purchased through the years.
Wildflowers already are blooming, but give it a couple more weeks and the area will be even more colorful, says West.
Indeed, this is a landscape in its infancy; just the beginning of an ecological awakening.
The natural area will fill in over time, get more colorful and lush. But it will take tender loving care. Invasive plants will have to be weeded out. In the absence of bison and wild fires, the prairie-like fields will have to be mowed to goose growth.
This is not a wilderness area. A large power line passes through, there are several homes on the edges and the top of the active Frey Farm Landfill and a pair of wind turbines are visible.
But it is large and diverse and the look and sounds will offer a unique and peaceful experience for those who visit.
June 05, 2015 ·
On Saturday, June 6, join LCSWMA for the Susquehanna Riverlands National Trails Day event at Riverfront Park to celebrate the completion of a section of the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail from East Donegal Township to Bainbridge.
In addition, we will also celebrate the completion of the 330’ Shock’s Mill River Walkway. The walkway connects a two mile section of trail between Bainbridge and East Donegal Township, which opened to the public in November of 2014. Previously, these two sections of the trail abruptly ended at an impasse with no way around Shock’s Mill Bridge. Now pedestrians and cyclists can enjoy the trail continuously from Decatur Street in Marietta to Riverfront Park in Bainbridge, a distance of 6.5 miles
Other event activities include the dedication of artful benches and a mosaic tile mural designed by Donegal Intermediate School students and a trail bike ride with local physicals to promote the health benefits of parks and trails.
The rain or shine celebration will begin at 11 a.m.
National Trails Day is an initiative of the American Hiking Society and is dedicated to the celebration of America’s Trail System.
January 21, 2015 ·
We are excited to share a new addition coming to the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail (NWLCRT)! Residents and visitors can now enjoy a series of interpretive panels at various points along the trail. The panels highlight the natural, cultural, historic and scenic resources along the Susquehanna River, with topics including:
-Native American Heritage
-The Language of Science (Samuel Haldeman)
-Industrial Heritage (Billmeyer Quarry)
-Transforming Waste to Energy
-Shock’s Mill Bridge
-Revitalizing Local Wetlands
Five of the nine total panels have already been installed. They include panels depicting Native American Heritage, The Language of Science, Industrial Heritage, Transforming Waste to Energy and Bald Eagles. The remaining panels will be placed along the trail this spring and summer.
LCSWMA, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resource (PA DCNR), Susquehanna Riverlands and the Susquehanna Gateway Heritage Area (SGHA), worked with local historians to create the panels.
The NWLCRT is a 14.25-mile, multi-purpose, public recreation trail that passes through five municipalities: Columbia, West Hempfield Township, Marietta Borough, East Donegal Township and Conoy Township. Parts of the trail are also owned by LCSWMA.
Native American Heritage: Panel located on the west side of the trail, facing the Susquehanna River, north of the Conoy Creek Bridge.
The Language of Science: Panel located on the west side of the trail facing the Haldeman Mansion, south of the Conoy Creek Bridge.
Industrial Heritage: Panel located on the east side of the trail facing the remains of Billmeyer Quarry.
Transforming Waste to Energy: Panel located on the east side of the trail facing LCSWMA's Waste-to-Energy Facility.
Close-up of the Transforming Waste to Energy panel. Click the photo to enlarge.
Bald Eagles: Panel located on the west side of the trail facing the bald eagle nest and Susquehanna River, in the vicinity of LCSWMA's Waste-to-Energy Facility.