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Swatara State Park



Appalachian Trail- The Pennsylvania Appalachian Trail segment touches nine public lands offering an opportunity for refreshment at campgrounds, restroom facilities, beaches and concessions. Many of the state parks and state forests along the route offer scenic overlooks, picnic grounds, fishing opportunities and fresh drinking water.

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General Information

Swatara State Park
Copyright: Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks
Swatara State Park
Description - Swatara State Park consists of 3,515 acres of rolling fields and woodlands situated along Interstate 81 between Second and Blue Mountains. One of the main focal points is the eight miles of Swatara Creek that winds through the park.

Swatara State Park was acquired with capital development funds appropriated by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. A 752-acre lake and recreation area is planned for the future and will offer boating, fishing, hiking, picnicking, bicycling, swimming, camping and environmental education. Although presently undeveloped, Swatara State Park still provides recreation opportunities.

Spring trout season attracts many anglers to Trout Run, the park's only stocked, coldwater trout fishing stream. There are also a few small streams within the park that boast native populations of brook trout.

Warm water fish like smallmouth bass and panfish can be caught in the Swatara Creek. Fishing continues to improve because numerous acid mine drainage abatement projects, agricultural best management practices and sewage treatment efforts are improving water quality of the Swatara Creek and its tributaries. Irving's Pond and the soon to be repaired Wagner's Pond provide opportunities to catch largemouth bass and panfish.

Bird-watchers enjoy observing areas where nesting platforms and bird boxes have been established for the maintenance of bluebirds, wrens, ducks, geese and hawks.

Most of Swatara State Park is open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey, ruffed grouse, pheasant, rabbit, squirrel and waterfowl, with populations of furbearers including muskrat, raccoon, opossum and fox.

The Swatara Creek is a popular area for canoeing in the spring. There are several locations of easy access to the creek for put in and take out of boats.

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail traverses 2 miles of the southern portion of the park. In addition, the Swatara Multi-Use Trail runs about nine miles from the Lickdale Interchange (Exit 30) of I-81 to the Pine Grove Interchange (Exit 31) of I-81. You may make a 10-mile loop by starting at the Waterville Bridge and using the Swatara Multi-Use Trail and Old State Road.

Horseback riding is permitted on the right side berm of public roads.

Attractions - The park consists of 3,515 acres of rolling fields and woodlands situated along Interstate 81 between Second and Blue Mountains. One of the main focal points is the eight miles of Swatara Creek that winds through the park.

Swatara State Park has a combination of woodland and old fields in various stages of forest succession. The blending of these habitats results in a remarkably wide variety of trees, wildflowers and wildlife.
Nesting platforms and bird boxes are maintained for such game and non-game species as bluebirds, hawks, wrens, ducks and geese.

The geology of Swatara State Park is predominately sedimentary rocks formed in a shallow ocean during the Middle Devonian Period of the Paleozoic Era, approximately 375 million years ago.

An Upper Mahantango Formation that contains significant marine fossil beds is exposed at a site along Old State Road and provides excellent opportunities for fossil collectors.

The Commonwealth began acquisition of the park in 1971 and was completed in 1987 by the Department of General Services. The planned reservoir will approximate the size and location of the original "feeder reservoir" constructed in 1828-1830.

This cast iron Waterville Bridge was built in 1890 to cross the Little Pine Creek in Lycoming County. The bridge design is a lenticular truss (parabolic) and is one of three such bridges still in Pennsylvania. In the 1980's, the bridge was determined to be too narrow for modern use. Instead of being torn down, the bridge was dismantled, repaired, moved and rebuilt across the Swatara Creek to allow hikers on the Appalachian Trail to cross the stream.

Swatara State Park was acquired with capital development funds appropriated by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. A 752-acre lake and recreation area is planned for the future and will offer boating, fishing, hiking, picnicking, bicycling, swimming, camping and environmental education.

Recreation - Although presently undeveloped, Swatara State Park still provides recreation opportunities.

Spring trout season attracts many anglers to Trout Run, the park's only stocked, cold water trout fishing stream. There are also a few small streams within the park that boast native populations of brook trout.

Warm water fish like smallmouth bass and panfish can be caught in the Swatara Creek. Fishing continues to improve because numerous acid mine drainage abatement projects, agricultural best management practices and sewage treatment efforts are improving water quality of the Swatara Creek and its tributaries. Irving's Pond and the soon to be repaired Wagner's Pond provide opportunities to catch largemouth bass and panfish.

Most of Swatara State Park is open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey, ruffed grouse, pheasant, rabbit, squirrel and waterfowl, with populations of furbearers including muskrat, raccoon, opossum and fox. Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day to March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply.

Non-powered boats are permitted. Boats must have one of the following: state park launching permit or state park mooring permit, or current Pennsylvania boat registration. The Swatara Creek is a popular area for canoeing in the spring. There are several locations of easy access to the creek for put in and take out of boats.

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail stretching from Georgia to Maine, this backpacking trail traverses 2 miles of the southern portion of Swatara State Park.

The Swatara Multi-Use Trail runs about nine miles from the Lickdale Interchange (Exit 30) of I-81 to the Pine Grove Interchange (Exit 31) of I-81. You may make a 10-mile loop by starting at the Waterville Bridge and using the Swatara Multi-Use Trail and Old State Road.

Horseback riding is permitted on the right side berm of public roads.

Climate - Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Swatara State Park area has cold winter months with temperatures averaging around 24 to 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 to -2 degrees Celsius). The area's average summer temperatures range above 74 degrees Fahrenheit (above 23 Celsius).

Location - Swatara State Park is located in Lebanon and Schuylkill counties, 14 miles north of Lebanon and 3 miles west of Pine Grove. The park is easily accessible from I-81. At Exit 30, Lickdale, take Route 72 North OR at Exit 31, take PA Route 443 West.


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More Information

Contact Information:
Swatara State Park, c/o Memorial Lake State Park, R.R. 1, Box 7045 , Grantville, PA, 17028-9682, Phone: 717-865-6470
, memorial@dcnr.state.pa.us

Additional Information:
Appalachian Trail - The Appalachian Trail is a footpath of more than 2,150 miles with 222 miles lying in Pennsylvania. In 1921, U.S. Forest Service planner, Benton MacKaye wrote a magazine article suggesting a trail be established to connect Mount Washington in New Hampshire to Mount Mitchell in North Carolina. As a result, in 1925 the Appalachian Trail Conference chose the exact path, flagged the path, built various sections, including shelters, bridges and steps. They even wrote guidebooks to aid the hiker and backpacker. In 1968, Congress passed the National Trails System Act, making the A.T. and the Pacific Crest Trail (a Canada to Mexico path) the first National Scenic Trails. Today there are ten clubs in Virginia that help maintain the trail which now extends from Mount Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia.
Hershey / Dutch Country Area - History and natural delights intermingle with the hand-plowed farm fields of the Amish and the scent of the Hershey Chocolate Factory.
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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