Swatara State Park- Pennsylvania

A creek near the fossil pile at Swatara.

A creek near the fossil pile at Swatara.

In case you didn’t get the memo, I moved.  To Pennsylvania.  From Florida.  I could pretend to have an imaginary conversation with you and answer the same questions that everyone thus far has asked me, but I’m going to spare us all the agony.  What I will say is that I like it here so far.  The scenery is redonkulus if you are into the small town rural thing like I am.  There are fields a plenty, old barns, and houses from the 1700’s all within walking distance. I live in a 113 year old house sandwiched in a ravine between two dairy farms.  It’s beautiful.  We also have the privilege of living near two beautiful places that are the jewels of southeastern Pennsylvania’s natural wonderlands.  The first is Sweet Arrow Lake, which I will post about later (I’m grossly behind), and the second is Swatara State Park, which I plan on discussing here and now.

Swatara is a historic place.  Chock full of historic, emphasis on historic with a side of wow and that’s beautiful going on.  If you know anything about history, you might know that Pennsylvania was a frontier in the 1700’s at the time of the American Revolution.  The settlers here were german immigrants who were pushed out of Alsatia Germany, often migrating first to other countries like sweden and france, and then having to leave there, got to come here.  Only thing was, here, was conditional.  They had to settle the territories over the mountains.  Much to the surprise and delight of the colonial Americans of the time, they did.  That’s how this area gets it’s ” Pennsylvania Dutch” heritage.  Only “Dutch” refers to German and Swedish, not people from the Netherlands that Dutch usually refers to.  So how does Swatara fit in here.  The Swatara river and it’s tributaries were the lifelines of transportation.  They cut channels, constructed locks, and dammed up areas, all to push coal and iron back over the mountains.  These innovative people almost fully provided the needed supplies for the American Revolution.  Swatara State Park, and the communities surrounding it, all contain remnants of this incredible past.  My town has a cemetery that contains the headstones of Revolutionary War participants.  What a history.  Prior to the German settlers there were plenty of Native People.  Many tribes were known to use the Swatara and the paths they traveled for trading have become the mainstreets of many small towns.

Swatara now, is a beautiful place.  It’s got 6000 acres, and miles and miles, and miles of trails.  The Appalachian Trail crosses through Bear Hole Run, and the trail organization deconstructed and rebuilt an 1800’s suspension bridge to cross the river so that hikers wouldn’t have to go the wet route.

I love this place, and I will be visiting again very often.

If you are interested in Swatara here are few links for you to check out: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/swatara/ and  http://www.friendsofswatara.org/

The bridge that crosses to the AT TRAIL.

The bridge that crosses to the AT TRAIL.


As I explore more of it I will make update posts.

Lock remains of Union Canal

Lock remains of Union Canal

If I’ve bored you with my “it’s historical” fanaticism I apologize, I just really love history.  I feel like we often choose to overlook it, and I just can’t let that happen. This is part of American heritage, whether you are a mayflower descendent or a newly coined citizen.

Enjoy The Photos.  I have been doing a lot of exploring, so more posts are coming soon.  As always, this post looks best in BLOG form, so if you get it in your Email, you may want to make a trip back here to see things more clearly!  Thanks!

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