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Swatara Water Trail

Projects/Swatara Water Trail.pdf

Enjoy the outdoors.  Fish, camp, picnic, hike, bird watch, or participate in the extreme sport of canoeing. 

RIVER MILE 14: At 1929 Black's Bridge Road you will find the Swatara Watershed Association's public park (12/19/09), which is open from Sunrise to Sunset.  The park operates by donations for U-Tow canoes, primitive camping, and picnicking.  Available also is a public access for boats, hiking trails, and 3,341 feet of fishable banks.  Check availability of campsites, picnic pavilion... 

                                 Projects/Swatara Water Trail.pdf map: Thinking about a float today?  Check Water Depth                                                                          Guidelines:  If Harper’s USGS gauge is above 2.2’, water is too high to launch; if below .4’, water is too low to launch.  

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  1. 35 primitive camp sites are available along the Swatara with direct access for canoes all for a donation of $450 per site per season, which is from May 1-October 31 each year
  2. Camp/2016 Campsite Agreement.pdf
  3.  
  4. 28 canoes are available.  Our van was lost in Tropical Storm Lee.  So, we've changed our terms.  U-Tow for a donation of $280 per trailer of eight canoes, which includes two life vests and two paddles per canoe.  Two Trailers are available.  You need a 2'" ball for towing.  A copy of your driver's license and insurance card are required.  Schools and 501c3 non-profit groups providing environmental education receive a 10% discount.  canoe/CANOE USE CONTRACT.pdf 

Swatara Watershed Park is a 33.69-acre parcel along the Swatara Creek at 1929 Blacks Bridge Road, Annville (East Hanover Township, Lebanon County PA).  In addition to a boat access, the site contains a 960 square foot pavilion; a 240 square foot stilted office with both a 200 Amp electrical service and a 120 square foot porch anchored on 3’6” concrete pilings below the frost line; an approved public water source with a flow rate of 25 gallons per minute at the pump house; camping; and a riparian buffer that shades and cools the Swatara, slows evaporation, and limits runoff and erosion.  Because we start or end our sojourn and River cleanup at this site each year, SWA considers this site an essential hub in the wheel of the Water Trail, important to Lebanon and Dauphin Counties, the State of Pennsylvania, and the nation.  A long-term goal is to become part of an inter-county trail system that could link to the proposed north-south rail-trail and east-west rail-trail linking Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon, and Schuylkill counties.

  1. Our rules:

     * No alcohol consumption; no drugs, or other illegal activity.  No discharge of firearms on Park grounds.  No ATVs, dirt bikes, snowmobiles or other off-road vehicles.

     * Campfires in fire rings only.  To control invasive species, imported firewood must be from within a 50-mile radius.

     * This Park is open from sunrise to sunset.

     * We have a carry-in carry-out trash policy.

     * This property is under surveillance, and violators will be prosecuted.

  2. People + Projects = Progress

    For your information, the previous owner of the property SWA sought to preserve as a public park has left a $30,000 equity donation in the site. While we were successful in writing two grants from PA DCNR and the PA Fish and Boat Commission, for your Christmas giving, SWA respectfully requests your consideration by making a donation to the Swatara Watershed Association. We need your help to retire a debt for required appraisals, a survey, and other costs. This isn’t a fancy ask, but we hope that you’ll see the need and appreciate our thrift. We especially encourage members to make a special donation. It’s great to say to funders that each of us has made a contribution to the cause. PS: Because of chemicals and irrigation needed to maintain a fairway and greens in proper condition as well as the labor intensive mowing of the grass, SWA is not operating the golf course, which we felt didn't align with of our mission.

    While funded in part by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation from the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund; the PA Fish and Boat Commission; Bill and Ruth Wise; the Hershey Company; Lebanon County Conservation District; and private donors, a line of credit was established at Jonestown Bank, and we need to pay off the loan. Free will offerings will help us to accomplish this goal. Please make checks payable to SWA and mail to 2302 Guilford St., Lebanon PA 17046. If you already made a contribution, we want to thank and acknowledge your generosity. Of course if you can make another donation or influence another person to make a donation, we would be most grateful.

    Thank you, and God bless!


  3. During times of drought when the water is too low or during floods when the water is dangerously high at Swatara Watershed Park, alternative sites will be recommended.  For a donation, SWA will transport our canoes to nearby locations.

Boat House Road Park between Route 39 and Sandbeach Bridges is multifaceted:

bulletIt is close to Swatara Watershed Park;
bulletIt’s a nice launch, rivaled only by the Jonestown and Middletown Launches;
bulletIt has a relatively consistent level of water due to the American Water Company Dam;
bulletPaddlers can paddle both down stream to one bridge and upstream at least a mile past another bridge;

Next, we have close lakes—Lions & Stoever’s--where we can provide livery services.

bulletEast off of Route 72 in Ebenezer, Lion's Lake Park is easy to find and well worth the effort to get there. Visitors can enter the park by using one of two parking areas at either end of the park. The most distinguishing feature of the park is it's 13 acre lake which is open to fishing and boating. The lake is stocked with trout by the PA Fish and Boat Commission. Other features of the park include a paved walking path which is great for biking and rollerblading. One lap around the park is 3/4 mile. Along the way there are numerous park benches to take a rest upon and take in the scenery around you. There's also a softball field, soccer field, modern playground equipment, modern restroom facilities, and lots of open space. We also offer for rental a pavilion with kitchen facilities.  No swimming, No ice skating or ice fishing, No littering,  All pets must be leashed, and Only electric motor powered boats allowed on lake.
bulletStoever's Dam Park - 946 Miller Street; Northeast section of the City.
This 124-acre park offers camping, picnicking, canoeing, fishing, and hiking. Facilities include the Nature Barn, the Lebanon Community Theater, pavilions, and ball fields.

The Nature Barn is available for rent at a cost of $75.00  This building has restrooms and kitchen facilities and seating for 75 people. 

Garden plots are available for rent at of cost of: 20 x 20-$10; 20 x 40-$15; 20 x 80-$25.  There are 8 plots available for rent. Contact the Department of Administration at 273-6711 ext. 2406 to rent garden plots. The following garden plot registration form may be printed, completed, and returned to the Recreation Department: garden plot application 

http://dsf.pacounties.org/lebanoncity/lib/lebanoncity/garden_plots_regis..pdf 

Boats:  There is a $50.00 fee to keep boats at Stoevers, which must be paid by January 1st  if stored on a yearly basis.  The following boat storage application form may be printed, completed, and returned to the Recreation Department: Boat Storage Application  or contact the Director of Administration at 228-4496.

  1.  

For the complete Trail Guide, click here: Projects/Swatara Water Trail.pdf

Comprehensive Plan Recommendations

Objective 1A:

Acquire and develop adequate park land to serve residents.

Action 1A1:

By adoption of this plan, establish a goal of a minimum of 15 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents of Lebanon County.

Action 1A4:

Target acquisition of special use parks that provide unique facilities that will benefit citizens countywide. Tie these special use facilities to county tourism initiatives.

Intended Outcome:

Continue to provide special use facilities, e.g. skateboard park, aquatic facilities, spray pads, tournament quality athletic facility, public garden, ice rinks, etc.

Action 1A5:

Support acquisition of land or easements along streams to provide public access and resource protection.

Intended Outcome:

Increase access to public waterways for water-based recreation.

Action 2A5:

Assess the feasibility of a Union Canal trail from Union Canal Tunnel Park to the Swatara Creek. Begin by identifying any unclaimed parcels of the Union Canal right-of-way and claim for the park or trail.

Intended Outcome:

Expand the Union Canal Tunnel Park.

Action 3C3:

Strive to keep public access for water based recreation through effective planning, easements and acquisition.

Intended Outcome:

Provide and protect access to waterways for recreation enthusiasts.

Objective 5A:

Provide adequate financial support for Lebanon County to facilitate Greenscapes focuses on the core elements of a high quality recreation system: parks, recreation, greenways and trails. The plan identifies a variety of actions for the county and its partners to undertake in support of the quality of life these facilities and services offer to Lebanon County residents. The actions are designed to build upon the scenic beauty and important natural resources, capitalize on the elements of a park and recreation system that are already in place, harness fragmented resources aimed at a common vision and goals, and tap into the human and financial prospects that are already working. The plan recognizes both the tremendous potential and the limited resources available within the county. Accordingly, it recommends strategies that are rooted in collaboration and that are supported by a mix of public and private partnerships. One thing is certain, Lebanon County cannot be the sole provider of parks and recreation. But the county can be the catalyst for spurring a countywide system of parks and recreation facilities joined by a network of greenways and trails.

 

Greenways are a recent approach to conservation along linear corridors in Lebanon County. Residents and community leaders have been introduced to the numerous benefits of greenways primarily through studies, such as the Tulpehocken Greenway initiative. Greenway benefits are economic, social, transportation, ecological, recreation, and environmental education in nature, as detailed on page 24 of the Open Space, Greenways and Recreation Profile, Background Study #5. Communication and outreach are important to educate landowners about the importance of greenways and their benefits.

Connections – The greenways corridors in the county generally run east-west

and north-south. Interconnections are needed to expand the system and provide

greater mobility for recreation and wildlife. Municipalities should champion local links to connect the major and minor greenways to parks, residential

neighborhoods, commercial areas, schools, and other community destinations.

5. Stream Access Greenways along streams are important to provide access for fishing and stream activities and to protect ecologically sensitive riparian buffers.

Blueways

Blueways are river and stream corridors of protected open space used for conservation and recreation purposes. They protect natural, historical, cultural, and recreational resources and preserve scenic landscapes.

6. Blueways The Swatara Creek Water Trail is a “blueway” corridor along the Swatara Creek that links Dauphin and Lebanon Counties. The Swatara Creek, Little Swatara Creek, Quittapahilla Creek, Tulpehocken Creek, and Conewago Creek also present blueway opportunities.

Coordination – Trails, like greenways, are typically related to linear resources

that may extend beyond municipal and county boundaries. Development of a

comprehensive trail system will require communication and coordination with

partners that span many jurisdictions. Expanding the system to maximize

community connections will require coordination with PennDOT, DCNR and

many other agencies and groups.

Recreation opportunities are vitally important to the quality of life. Recreation is the third most important factor in the decision of executives deciding where to locate a business.

Tourism is untapped in Lebanon County compared with its neighbors of Dauphin, Berks and Lancaster Counties.

Recreation is a Deciding Factor for Businesses in Pennsylvania

When the Pella Corporation was evaluating locations for a manufacturing plant, executives narrowed its site selection to Bedford County or Adams County. Although both counties offered favorable business conditions in terms of facilities, workforce and access to transportation, Adams County won out because the decision-makers determined that there was more to do recreationally in Adams County, which would help the company attract and retain the kind of work force they needed.

When company leaders were evaluating the former Pennsylvania House manufacturing site as a potential location for a new business, they were attracted by the adjoining premiere destination park and swimming pool. They brought their families back the next week to show them the recreation facilities and other things to do that made the area a desirable place of residence for families.

Quality of life including access to recreational sites and programs is key to attracting new industry and jobs – particularly high-tech industry, which has few limitations to its location. When a business looks for a new location, business leaders develop a short list of three or four communities that meet their basic needs and the needs of their workforce.  Quality of life is one of the biggest factors in choosing the winner from the contenders.

Expanding recreational opportunities, developing parks and trails, cleaning up streams, preserving history, providing cultural programs at heritage centers... these are all components to broader economic-development efforts.  ~Congressman Jack Murtha, former member of the House Appropriations Sub-Committee

17. Self-Directed Opportunities Not all recreation opportunities need to be

organized scheduled programs. Opportunities that citizens can undertake at their own discretion need to be available and promoted. Examples include trails for walking and biking, social gathering places and natural areas for peaceful enjoyment. Establishing these types of opportunities is half the battle – the other half is creating public awareness about them.

The management of parks and recreation is a major challenge for Lebanon County. Establishing, enhancing, and sustaining a mix of public/private

partnerships and financing will be the foundation of a successful countywide system of parks and recreation. Conclusions about recreation management and financing in Lebanon County include the following:

1. A County in Transition – The rural history of the county underscores the

present approach to recreation management and financing. Recreation

management is largely in response to needs as they grew over time. Volunteers,

schools and faith based institutions offered services in recognition of the needs of

their community or special interests. The rural municipalities with limited

budgets and staff could only provide the facilities while community based

organizations provided the recreation programs.

Related organizations are favorable to the county showing a leadership role in

facilitating a countywide system of parks and recreation through partnerships.

Development pressure is not as great as surrounding counties and there are still

opportunities for land and corridor acquisition and protection.

Benefits of parks and greenways are not widely perceived.

Development may consume key parcels necessary to form corridors or linkages.

These guiding principles can be a reference to which individuals, agencies and local government partners compare their activities and decisions.

  1. Will this action promote the protection of sensitive environmental sites?
  2. Will this approval foster sound growth and development in our community?
  3. Will this new park help to reflect the available natural resources to park visitors?

If the answer is yes, partners should feel confident in advancing their actions and approvals. If the answer is no, they should consider what alternatives could better align with these principles.

2. Take a leadership role in establishing public and private partnerships for the purpose of creating a countywide system of parks, recreation facilities,

greenways and trails.

6. Coordinate with regional organizations, adjacent counties, and government

agencies regarding parks, recreation, trail, and greenway opportunities to

maximize the benefits for the citizens of Lebanon County.

7. Tie park, trail and greenway opportunities to conservation and resource

protection initiatives to maximize the benefits and expand funding opportunities.

Natural Resources

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has recently identified parks and recreation as a key to the future protection of the state’s natural resources.

Our future quality of life depends on our ability to understand, appreciate and enjoy Pennsylvania's natural bounties. We simply cannot afford to lose our connection with the outdoors - a connection that is part of our rich tradition and provides the balance vital for a prosperous future. Disturbingly, trends indicate that the bond between the citizens of the Commonwealth and our precious natural resources is weakening.  Governor Edward Rendell, 2007

Green spaces protect habitat, bio-diversity and ecological integrity. They help to improve air quality by removing pollutants from the air. Outdoor recreation is one of the best approaches to fostering environmental education and a stewardship ethic among citizens, which are a key to long-term sustainability.

Proximity to open space improves the visual environment and consequently the quality of life. Many studies have revealed that property value increases where property is located beside or near open spaces, traditional parks and greenways. Property values are highest near greenways that emphasize natural open space (not highly developed facilities) and that have effective maintenance and security. In urban areas, open space, greenways and parks help residential areas by providing a place to retreat from the noise, heat pollution and stress of compact living. They also provide relaxing places of shade and have a cooling effect on the urban environment. Parks and open space are essential features of desirable housing.

Community Services

Recreation, open space and greenways are integral to overall community services.  They help to improve the quality of life by reducing anti-social behavior, building strong family bonds, creating a sense of community and contributing to human development. By providing positive experiences throughout a lifetime, recreation helps to deter the associated costs of the justice system, incarceration, counseling, youth and family services and so on. Parks and recreation help to keep citizens fit and healthy. The U.S. Surgeon General has named municipal parks and recreation as a powerful weapon in the fight against obesity and the lack of physical activity, the number one public health issue in America today. Open space, greenways and recreation contribute to mental health by reducing stress isolation and loneliness. They are often the catalysts for building strong self-sufficient communities where trail groups, art guilds, sports and fitness leagues, volunteer organizations, and park stewards are a part of the fabric of daily life.

Economic Development

Recreation, greenways and open space are significant economic generators. They increase property values. For example, property values near open space and golf courses increase at higher rates than properties with other kinds of views. They are also prime economic development and relocation magnets. Having lots of things to do in a community as well as trails, parks and recreation facilities helps to attract businesses and prevent the “brain drain”, the loss of young wage earners to other areas of the country.

Recreation, sports and physical fitness activities, trails and the great outdoors help to improve work performance through increased productivity, decreased absenteeism, lower staff turnover and reduced on-the-job accidents.

Investment in parks, recreation, trails, sports and open space yields large economic returns in the form of money generated by events, capital development, and provision of ongoing services. In 2003, Pennsylvanians spent over $11.5 billion on recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, sports participation, skating, winter sports and so on.

Recreation revenues in Lebanon County totaled about $103 million.

How much is a trail worth? The York Heritage Rail Trail generates over $10 million annually in the York County economy.

Tourism

Tourism is the second leading industry in Pennsylvania, after agriculture. Heritage tourism and outdoor recreation travel represent a significant portion of the Commonwealth’s tourism. Nearly one out of every four tourism dollars is spent for outdoor recreation travel. Outdoor recreation tourism is growing at twice the rate of the total traveler expenditures in Pennsylvania. This is good news for Lebanon County with its plethora of municipal, county, state and private parks and environmental lands.

Heritage tourism, also in a growth mode, includes a mix of historic and cultural

activities and attractions often in the outdoors. This trend is likely to continue as heritage tourists increasingly tend to be older and more affluent. Projections suggest that more older people will be engaging in – and spending their recreational dollars on – heritage, cultural and outdoor recreation tourism in the future

Vision

By the year 2020, Lebanon County will have a first class countywide system of parks, recreation and conservation areas all linked through a connected system of trails and greenways. Combined, the system will be known far and wide as a model greenscapes system. The major state & regional parks, game lands, and forests serve as anchors that are linked to close-to-home parks through trails and greenways. Collaboration will continue to promote successful regional efforts. Collectively, state, county, regional, municipal and private recreation and conservation areas will meet the needs of people who live, work and visit here. The plentiful recreation opportunities will help to attract and retain citizens and businesses. Young citizens and new enterprises will see Lebanon County as a great place in which to work, play, raise a family and enjoy life. Tourists will regard Lebanon County as a top destination in which to enjoy the great outdoors, scenic beauty, history and culture, as well as the plentiful recreation events and activities.

3. Facilitate and promote a wide range of recreation opportunities to people of all ages who live in, work in, and visit Lebanon County.

A. Adopt the position that Lebanon County will not directly provide recreation

programs and services but will facilitate and support the efforts of other providers of services.

5. Invest in parks and recreation to enhance the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens and to contribute to the economic vitality of Lebanon County.

A. Provide adequate financial support for Lebanon County to facilitate partnership development, outreach and technical assistance for parks,

recreation, and trails.

You may remember this article that appeared in the Lebanon Daily News:

People + Projects = Progress

For your information, the previous owner of the property SWA sought to preserve as a public park has left a $30,000 equity donation in the site. While we were successful in writing two grants from PA DCNR and the PA Fish and Boat Commission, for your Christmas giving, SWA respectfully requests your consideration by making a donation to the Swatara Watershed Association. We need your help to retire a debt for required appraisals, a survey, and other costs. This isn’t a fancy ask, but we hope that you’ll see the need and appreciate our thrift. We especially encourage members to make a special donation. It’s great to say to funders that each of us has made a contribution to the cause. PS: Because of chemicals and irrigation needed to maintain a fairway and greens in proper condition as well as the labor intensive mowing of the grass, SWA is not operating the golf course, which we felt didn't align with of our mission.

 

While funded in part by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation from the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund; the PA Fish and Boat Commission; Bill and Ruth Wise; the Hershey Company; Lebanon County Conservation District; and private donors, a line of credit was established at Jonestown Bank, and we need to pay off the loan. Free will offerings will help us to accomplish this goal. Please make checks payable to SWA and mail to 2302 Guilford St., Lebanon PA 17046. If you already made a contribution, we want to thank and acknowledge your generosity. Of course if you can make another donation or influence another person to make a donation, we would be most grateful.

Thank you, and God bless!

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