Cowans Gaps State Park to Close in 2002 To Pave Way for Major Renovation Projects

Apr 02, 2001, 01:00 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development

    HARRISBURG, Pa., April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Most facilities at Cowans Gap
 State Park, Fulton County, will be closed to the public in 2002 and early 2003
 to facilitate widespread park improvements, the PA Department of Conservation
 and Natural Resources (DCNR) today announced.  All facilities will be open for
 the 2001 spring and summer seasons.
     The closure, from January 2002 to April 2003, will lessen public
 inconvenience, provide for the most efficient construction methods, and
 expedite their completion, said Roger Fickes, Director, Bureau of State Parks.
     "Without closing the park, the projects would have to be spread out over
 three years, and the quality of the experiences for the park customers would
 be affected over the entire period," Fickes said.
     Among the most extensive projects planned at the park is replacement of
 the dam-control tower and removal of silt from the 42-acre Cowans Gap Lake at
 a cost of $700,000.  Construction of new wash houses and comfort stations,
 replacement of a fishing pier and boat-rental docks, roadway paving, and other
 projects also are planned.
     Total cost of the park improvements is estimated at $4.4 million, Fickes
 said, and construction is expected to be completed by spring 2003.
     A fall 2001 drawdown of the lake, starting in October, is planned to
 facilitate tower repairs and allow silt to dry for removal during the winter
 of 2002.  The drawdown will curtail fishing at the lake from fall 2001 until
 the completion of control-tower construction.
     "Although hiking will be permitted in the park, and temporary restroom
 facilities will be provided, the park essentially will be closed to most
 users," Fickes said.  "There will be no cabins rentals or camping, nor
 swimming, fishing, boating or concessions.
     "While the closing is unfortunate, it is important to remember that, when
 Cowans Gap reopens in the spring of 2003, visitors will find virtually a new
 park."
     Other park improvements listed by Fickes include:  painting of the water
 tower; constructing new restroom and washhouse facilities; installing
 electrical service to campsites; and upgrading and repairing cabins.
     "And, perhaps most importantly, all park areas will be accessible for
 people with disabilities," Fickes said.
     A public meeting to address questions and concerns of park visitors and
 residents living in the area of the 1,085-acre facility will be scheduled
 later this spring by the Bureau of State Parks.
     The improvements at Cowans Gap are part of the Ridge Administration's
 multi-year plan to eliminate the backlog of maintenance projects in
 Pennsylvania's state parks and forests.  Since 1995, more than $200 million
 has been allocated for improving roads, sewer and water systems, marinas,
 campgrounds, trails, and other facilities at Pennsylvania's 116 state parks
 and 20 state forests.  "Growing Greener," the $650 million environmental
 improvement plan signed into law by Gov. Tom Ridge in December 1999, provides
 $125 million for park and forest improvements over five years.
     Located in a high mountain valley and surrounded by Buchanan State Forest,
 Cowans Gap boasts a cabin colony that is on the National Register of Historic
 Places.  Many of its facilities, including the lake, picnic shelters, cabins
 and roads, were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.
     For more information about Cowans Gap or any of the other 115 state parks,
 call 1-888-PA-PARKS or visit DCNR's website through the PA PowerPort at
 www.state.pa.us or directly at www.dcnr.state.pa.us.
 
     CONTACT:  Terry Brady, Deputy Press Secretary of the Pennsylvania
 Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, 717-772-9101.
 
 

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development
    HARRISBURG, Pa., April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Most facilities at Cowans Gap
 State Park, Fulton County, will be closed to the public in 2002 and early 2003
 to facilitate widespread park improvements, the PA Department of Conservation
 and Natural Resources (DCNR) today announced.  All facilities will be open for
 the 2001 spring and summer seasons.
     The closure, from January 2002 to April 2003, will lessen public
 inconvenience, provide for the most efficient construction methods, and
 expedite their completion, said Roger Fickes, Director, Bureau of State Parks.
     "Without closing the park, the projects would have to be spread out over
 three years, and the quality of the experiences for the park customers would
 be affected over the entire period," Fickes said.
     Among the most extensive projects planned at the park is replacement of
 the dam-control tower and removal of silt from the 42-acre Cowans Gap Lake at
 a cost of $700,000.  Construction of new wash houses and comfort stations,
 replacement of a fishing pier and boat-rental docks, roadway paving, and other
 projects also are planned.
     Total cost of the park improvements is estimated at $4.4 million, Fickes
 said, and construction is expected to be completed by spring 2003.
     A fall 2001 drawdown of the lake, starting in October, is planned to
 facilitate tower repairs and allow silt to dry for removal during the winter
 of 2002.  The drawdown will curtail fishing at the lake from fall 2001 until
 the completion of control-tower construction.
     "Although hiking will be permitted in the park, and temporary restroom
 facilities will be provided, the park essentially will be closed to most
 users," Fickes said.  "There will be no cabins rentals or camping, nor
 swimming, fishing, boating or concessions.
     "While the closing is unfortunate, it is important to remember that, when
 Cowans Gap reopens in the spring of 2003, visitors will find virtually a new
 park."
     Other park improvements listed by Fickes include:  painting of the water
 tower; constructing new restroom and washhouse facilities; installing
 electrical service to campsites; and upgrading and repairing cabins.
     "And, perhaps most importantly, all park areas will be accessible for
 people with disabilities," Fickes said.
     A public meeting to address questions and concerns of park visitors and
 residents living in the area of the 1,085-acre facility will be scheduled
 later this spring by the Bureau of State Parks.
     The improvements at Cowans Gap are part of the Ridge Administration's
 multi-year plan to eliminate the backlog of maintenance projects in
 Pennsylvania's state parks and forests.  Since 1995, more than $200 million
 has been allocated for improving roads, sewer and water systems, marinas,
 campgrounds, trails, and other facilities at Pennsylvania's 116 state parks
 and 20 state forests.  "Growing Greener," the $650 million environmental
 improvement plan signed into law by Gov. Tom Ridge in December 1999, provides
 $125 million for park and forest improvements over five years.
     Located in a high mountain valley and surrounded by Buchanan State Forest,
 Cowans Gap boasts a cabin colony that is on the National Register of Historic
 Places.  Many of its facilities, including the lake, picnic shelters, cabins
 and roads, were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.
     For more information about Cowans Gap or any of the other 115 state parks,
 call 1-888-PA-PARKS or visit DCNR's website through the PA PowerPort at
 www.state.pa.us or directly at www.dcnr.state.pa.us.
 
     CONTACT:  Terry Brady, Deputy Press Secretary of the Pennsylvania
 Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, 717-772-9101.
 
 SOURCE  Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development