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General Information

Parker Dam State Park
Copyright: Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks
Parker Dam State Park
Description - After years of logging, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) arrived on June 21, 1933 in Penfield and later set up camps on Boone Mountain near Penfield and at the fork of the Tyler and Mud Run roads within the park (Camp S-73). The first dam built in 1934 was washed out in the flood of 1936 and was immediately replaced by the existing dam with its large flood spillway. The 20-acre lake that was created is the focal point for much of the park's recreational activity. The CCC built the stone picnic shelters, visitor and interpretive centers (these buildings were originally a project office and a beach dressing stockade) and in cooperation with the Works Progress Administration (WPA) built the family cabins. The vast network of roads and trails were blazed and improved and many of the natural open meadows were replanted in pine and spruce.

The park was unchanged from the CCC days until the late 1960's when the camping area was improved and then again in 1976, when modern water and sanitary facilities were completed. Today, Parker Dam is a recreation haven during the summer months. There are lovely shady campgrounds, a modern group of cabins, youth and scout organized camping, interpretive programs, picnicking, freshwater lake swimming, fishing in several fast moving creeks and at least fourteen hiking trails. The lake is open for electric-powered and non-powered boaters. The winter season attracts ice skaters, fishermen, sledders and cross-country skiers. The northern portion of the park is open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs.

Attractions - The Moshannon State Forest, once covered with majestic pines and hemlocks, is now a tract of upland hardwood forest. The state forest with its lonely sentinel stumps of these once majestic pines and hemlocks offers visitors a glimpse of wilderness. White-tailed deer, black bear, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, squirrel, coyote, fox and beaver abound and can be readily viewed by aware travelers on the more than 200 miles of dirt roads and more than 90 miles of hiking trails.

It was for the unbelievable pine and hemlock forest wealth that lumbermen started moving into this area. In 1875 John A. Otto, owner of a vast tract of land in Huston Township, contracted William Parker to cut timber on the lands along Laurel Run, the main stream through the park.

The early methods of getting logs to the sawmills was by skidding them off the mountains on slides to selected areas along the stream edge. "Splash dams" were constructed to "splash" logs downstream by storing up a pool of water, then releasing it, causing a flood of water and logs to move downstream. William Parker's dam was the second of five splash dams on Laurel Run used to move logs down to sawmills on the Bennett's Branch of Sinnemahoning Creek.

An authentic, life-size reproduction of this log slide and a logging exhibit interprets these early logging days. This exhibit is located along the road to the campground.

After years of logging, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) arrived on June 21, 1933 in Penfield and later set up camps on Boone Mountain near Penfield and at the fork of the Tyler and Mud Run roads within the park (Camp S-73). The first dam built in 1934 was washed out in the flood of 1936 and was immediately replaced by the existing dam with its large flood spillway. The 20 acre lake that was created is the focal point for much of the park's recreational activity. The CCC built the stone picnic shelters, visitor and interpretive centers (these buildings were originally a project office and a beach dressing stockade) and in cooperation with the Works Progress Administration (WPA) built the family cabins. The vast network of roads and trails were blazed and improved and many of the natural open meadows were replanted in pine and spruce.

The park was unchanged from the CCC days until the late 1960's when the camping area was improved. And then again in 1976, when modern water and sanitary facilities were completed.

Recreation - Parker Dam is a recreation haven during the summer months. There are lovely shady campgrounds, a modern group of cabins, youth and scout organized camping, picnicking, freshwater lake swimming, fishing in several fast moving creeks and at least fourteen hiking trails. The lake is open for electric-powered and non-powered boaters. The winter season attracts ice skaters, fishermen, sledders and cross-country skiers. The northern portion of the park is open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs.

An environmental interpretive program is available during the summer months and on selected weekends the rest of the year. This program includes guided walks, evening campfire programs, special programs, and exhibits. A small visitor center is operated from the beach area. An environmental interpreter is available to explain and interpret the natural phenomenon and structures of historic significance to the visiting public. Historic interpretation of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) located at a CCC visitor center in the log cabin located near the breast of the dam. School groups and other special requests can be accommodated by contacting the park office anytime throughout the year.

Climate - Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Parker Dam State Park area generally has very cold winter months with temperatures averaging 22 degrees Fahrenheit (-6 degrees Celsius). The region's average summer temperatures average 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 Celsius). Precautions should be made when traveling this snowy area in the winter.

Location - Parker Dam State Park is located a little west of the center of the state in Clearfield County. It is 17 miles north of the community of Clearfield and 5 miles south of the village of Penfield 2.5 miles off PA Route 153.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: Melissa
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I go to Parker Dam every summer with my fiances family. We all look forward to it every year, it's our favorite place on earth. It is the most relaxing vacation you can get, nature trails, roasting marshmallows, and just kicking back with good conversation. We stay in one of the 16 cabins for a week but caution to anyone who needs 4 star accomodations. This is camping in a rustic cabin, no running water, lots of bugs, but lots of fun. The park naturalists at Parker Dam are awesome too. We learn so much every year about nature during the few daily programs the park offers.


Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Backpack hikers are offered a special treat because Parker Dam is the western trailhead of the Quehanna Trail System. Through its northern and southern loops and connecting trails, this system offers over 75 miles of hiking in various combinations. One to five night trips can be planned which return to Parker Dam without retracing your steps. This trail also connects with the Susquehannock Trail System near the community of Sinnemahoning.
Yes
ICON Cross-country Skiing During the winter the park comes alive for snowmobilers, ice skaters and ice fishermen and a growing number of cross-country skiers.
Yes
ICON Ice Fishing During the winter the park comes alive for snowmobilers, ice skaters and ice fishermen and a growing number of cross-country skiers. An ice skating area, sledding and toboggan run are located at the park.
Yes
ICON Sledding, Tobogganing, Tubing An ice skating area, sledding and toboggan run are located at the park.
Yes
ICON Snowmobiling During the winter the park comes alive for snowmobilers, ice skaters and ice fishermen and a growing number of cross-country skiers.
Yes
ICON Ice & Snowcraft Travel During the winter the park comes alive for snowmobilers, ice skaters and ice fishermen and a growing number of cross-country skiers.
Yes


More Information

Contact Information:
Parker Dam State Park, R. D. 1, Box 165 , Penfield, PA, 15849-9799, Phone: 814-765-0630
, parkerdam@dcnr.state.pa.us

Additional Information:
Allegheny National Forest Area - The Allegheny National Forest Region of Pennsylvania is a remote area of the state characterized by wilderness surroundings. This region offers the best opportunities for viewing elk and black bear.
Pennsylvania Lakes and Reservoirs - Pennsylvania boasts as having more flowing water than any other state in the "lower 48." Whether you're looking for limestone streams, famous for trout fishing or whitewater rapids for an afternoon thrill ride, this state can fulfill that desire. The keystone state offers over 2,500 lakes and 300 streams. Ricketts Glen State Park is famous for its 30 waterfalls, the highest being a 94 foot tumble. In addition, Pennsylvania is home to the Allegheny National Forest known for its lush hardwoods, rich wildlife and a 12,000 acre lake considered ideal for catching trophy walleye, pike and muskellunge.
Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests - Pennsylvania is known for producing some of the most valuable hardwood timber in the world. The 2.1 million acres of state forest land are protected from fire, destructive insects and diseases while offering a beautiful recreation environment for the visitor. Pennsylvania's State Park system offers visitors year-round recreational enjoyment as well. Amenities include: camping, picnicking, hiking, an assortment of winter sports and the viewing of the natural biological diversity and ecosystems found within the Commonwealth.

Links:
Pennsylvania State Parks - Official agency website

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