SELINSGROVE, Pa., May 18, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today joined local and other state officials, and supporters of Shikellamy State Park in the dedication of two key park acquisitions preserving a scenic overlook along the Susquehanna River.
Spearheaded by the Merrill W. Linn Land and Waterways Conservancy, acquisition of the two tracts totaling almost 120 acres doubles the size of Shikellamy overlook, while protecting the last remnant of Shikellamy Bluffs and enabling the Bureau of State to expand recreational opportunities at the state park on the Union-Northumberland county line.
"Looking out from this incredible vantage point, you get a panoramic view of the natural beauty of land and waterway that blesses our life in Pennsylvania," DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn told dedication attendees gathered on the overlook. "You also get a solid lesson in what can be accomplished when so many work so hard to protect our lands and rivers."
Dunn commended efforts of former owners, the Merrill W. Linn Land and Waterways Conservancy, Susquehanna Greenways, Union County Board of Commissioners and that county's planning office in the acquisition of two privately owned land parcels formerly known as the McGinnis and Rozyckie properties.
"A primary threat to Shikellamy State Park is residential development of surrounding property by local developers," the secretary noted. "This acquisition preserves open space, a cliff that supports habitat for species of special concern and spectacular views of the Susquehanna River, both its west and north branches, and the valley."
Noting the intrinsic value of the park and Susquehanna River to the area's residents and economy, Dunn pointed out that it had been less than a year since DCNR named a section of the park Kury Point, in honor of former state Sen. Franklin Kury who actively opposed any degradation of the Susquehanna.
"Just as that event honored a man who fought for clean water, dedication of these two land tracts celebrates the collaborative spirit that saw so many parties come together to preserve and protect the overlook as part of Shikellamy State Park," Dunn said.
Acquisition and protection of the land parcels had long been a priority of the Merrill W. Linn Land and Waterways Conservancy and its affiliate, Buffalo Creek Watershed Alliance (BCWA), which work to preserve and protect ecologically significant sites in Union, upper Northumberland, and contiguous counties, and to educate the public on conservation issues critical to the environment.
"Sincere thanks go out to our many partners and supporters," said conservancy President Susan Warner Mills, speaking at today's dedication. "Accomplishments and celebrations such as this should help remind all of us how lucky we are -- as organizations and as individuals -- to be part of this spectacular Susquehanna Valley community we call home."
The properties' open fields, forested land and 360-foot-cliff-face provide valuable habitat for mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds. Protection of the property's forest is in accordance with the goals of both the Union County Comprehensive Plan and the Chesapeake Executive Council's directive on protecting forests.
The 218-acre Shikellamy State Park is in Union and Northumberland counties. Located on the southern tip of Packers Island at the confluence of the West Branch and North Branch Susquehanna River, the 54-acre main park offers access to walking and biking trails, picnic grounds, the Shikellamy Marina and boat launch, and the newly-dedicated Kury Point observation area.
For details on Shikellamy and Pennsylvania's other 120 state parks, visit http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/.
MEDIA CONTACT: Terry Brady, DCNR, 717-705-2225; firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources