August 17, 2022, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For additional information, contact Marci Mowery at 717-236-7644 or [email protected]
Camp Hill, PA – The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation (PPFF), the only non-profit whose mission is Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests, in partnership with the Friends of White Clay Creek Preserve, announce the installation of the Penndel Bridge in White Clay Creek Preserve.
The 3,212-acre White Clay Creek Preserve in southern Chester County is the only preserve in Pennsylvania’s state park system.
The creek from which the preserve takes its name has been designated a National Wild and Scenic River by Congress for its water-quality enhancing features, as well as its outstanding scenic, wildlife, recreational, and cultural value.
The preserve is managed for low-intensity day use activities, such as hiking, trail running, fishing, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Scotty Crowder, Chair of the Friends of White Clay Creek, emphasizes that “it provides a real outdoor experience.”
The new Penndel Bridge is found on the Penndel Hiking/Biking Trail, which was once an 18th-century roadbed, and spans a feeder stream of White Clay Creek.
Previously, a culvert facilitated hikers’ movements across the feeder stream. However, a heavy storm in 2018 blew the culvert out, requiring visitors to cross the stream on foot over wet and slippery rocks. Then, after a replacement culvert was installed in 2021, Hurricane Ida tore through the region and knocked the culvert out again.
With strong storms becoming more frequent, it became clear to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) that a bridge was needed. The park manager approached Scotty Crowder and the Friends of White Clay Creek about plans of installing a pre-manufactured bridge.
DCNR suggested that if the Friends could cover the installation costs, DCNR would cover the bridge cost.
The Friend’s organization went to work. They received private donations, including a sizeable one from a local foundation, took money out of their budget, and raised over ten thousand dollars on a fundraising drive through the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation.
As with the best-laid plans, costs fluctuated, and a few additional private donors helped close the final gap in funding.
The Penndel Bridge is built with the deck of the bridge set at the 100-year flood mark over the feeder stream, providing visitors with a safe crossing.
Friends of White Clay Creek Preserve volunteers like Gary Kirk and Tom Ruszkay, who oversaw the placement, worked hand-in-hand with DCNR and the bridge installation company to get it done.
Thank you to the donors who made the installation possible.
For the Friends of White Clay Creek, bridge-building is becoming their forte. These volunteers have built many footbridges throughout the preserve. The “Friends” group has also collaborated with boy scouts on bridge projects aimed at facilitating movement over drainage areas and projects providing informational kiosks to improve the trail experiences.
The Friends have four more bridge projects on the horizon. The White Clay Creek Bridge #22 that spans the river was also damaged by Hurricane Ida and needs to be repaired or replaced. It’s the main bridge in the preserve and was severely damaged by flood debris. In addition, three other older bridges in the preserve have either deteriorated due to structural age and/or flood damage to the support abutments or pylons.
To learn more about the Friends of White Clay Creek visit:
About the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation
The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation supports 121 state parks and 2.2 million acres of forest by coordinating volunteers, activities, and donations through its 48 chapters. The mission of the foundation is to inspire stewardship of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests. To learn more about PPFF, visit https://paparksandforests.org/.
To learn more about the Protect Our Parks and Forests initiative, view the StoryMap, and join us in taking action, please visit https://protectourparksandforests.org/.
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