The locations of three new parks added to Pennsylvania’s 121-state park system were announced Tuesday.
The $45 million investment will create new recreational opportunities to meet strong Commonwealth demand and conserve nearly 3,500 acres of vital natural and cultural resources, officials said during the announcement.
The new state parks are Susquehanna Riverlands in York County, Vosburg Neck in Wyoming County, and Big Elk Creek in Chester County. The names are temporary, as final names for state parks will be decided during the planning process.
“Our magnificent state parks are some of the most beautiful in the country,” Governor Tom Wolf said. “I am proud to have secured funding in my final budget to make this investment in our parks system that will not only preserve invaluable natural resources and habitats for wildlife, but provide in-demand access for Pennsylvanians to enjoy the beauty of nature and recreational opportunities. .”
In accordance with the state park selection process, each of the new locations has criteria that warrant conservation. The Vosburg Neck site will be Wyoming County’s first state park, while the Big Elk Creek location is under significant pressure from residential and commercial development. In York County, the Susquehanna Riverlands site adjoins and builds on large tracts of previously unspoilt open space. Additionally, each site is within half an hour of heavily populated areas where recreational land is often scarce.
“Each new park site is unique in its value to a larger system,” said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “All of the new parks are steeped in pre- and post-colonial cultural history, centered on significant water resources, and represent fantastic natural resource value.”
• Susquehanna Riverlands, York County: Susquehanna Riverlands in Hellam Township, York County comprises 1,100 acres of natural resources. The largely forested area, located where Codorus Creek joins the Susquehanna River, protects critical water and forest resources. The land was acquired with the help of the Lancaster Conservancy and is adjacent to its Hellam Hills and Wizard Ranch nature preserves. Together they protect the last major forested area along the Susquehanna River between the cities of Harrisburg, York and Lancaster.
• Vosburg Pass, Wyoming County: Vosburg Neck is 669 acres being acquired with the help of the North Branch Land Trust. The park will offer scenic hiking opportunities, including a climb to an impressive west-facing vista, pleasant walks along an old railroad bed, invigorating shared-use trails, and extensive public access. for water recreation at the North Branch of the Susquehanna River.
• Big Elk Creek, Chester County: Big Elk Creek spans 1,712 acres acquired through the Conservation Fund with assistance from the Mt. Cuba Center and Chester County. It includes 3.5 miles of Big Elk Creek, a tributary of the Elk River and the Chesapeake Bay. Big Elk Creek was an important transportation and natural resource corridor for Indigenous peoples for thousands of years and an important area for freedom seekers on the Underground Railroad north.
The new parks are expected to be fully operational and ready for use by the end of 2026. .